and DJ E.F. Cuttin'
Truth Universal's fluid, progressive-minded music was honed during a decade-plus role as host of the Grassroots hip-hop showcase at the Dragon's Den and is reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip (filtered through New Orleans influences). Here, Truth partners with frequent collaborator from the Grassroots gigs, DJ E.F. Cuttin' — a low end-bouncing wax-shredder.
Congo Square Stage
The New Orleans Bingo! Show
The New Orleans Bingo! Show began before Hurricane Katrina as a ragtag bohemian vaudevillian jazz experiment-as-entertainment supporting Thursday night bingo games at Fiorella's Cafe in the French Quarter. It has morphed into a nationally touring, critically acclaimed spectacle that offers as much eye candy as manic sonic journey. In addition to the sexy shimmying of burlesque star Trixie Minx, the New Orleans Bingo! Show features frontman Clint Maedgen, who's ridden this wave from days of hustling fried chicken deliveries for Fiorella's into a stellar career as saxophonist, singer and composer — and an integral part of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
12:25 p.m.-1:15 p.m.
A Tribe Called Red
The heartbeat of powwow drum music looped through electronic dance beats and mixed with an ear to hip-hop and dubstep gave rise to what this Ottawa, Canada-based DJ team calls Pow Wow Step, the foundation of its increasingly buzzed-about "electric powwow" shows. Comprised of producers DJ Bear Witness, DJ NDN and DJ Shub, the group's unique approach to updating the sounds of traditional Native American culture has earned it two Polaris Prize nods since the trio first began performing for the youth of native tribes in Canada in 2007. Since then, they've released two acclaimed albums. Their performances get a visual boost from the videography of DJ Bear Witness, who says his work is politically charged. The group performed at Jazz Fest last year in conjunction with the Cultural Exchange Pavilion's focus on Native American music and culture. At this year's set, the group is joined by James Jones, a dancer who puts a rave-minded spin on the traditional Native American hoop dance.
1:55 p.m.-2:50 p.m.
Jazz & Heritage Stage
Galactic drummer Stanton Moore presents a set sure to be far removed from that of the jam/funk band he helped found. A disciple of Johnny Vidacovich and astute student of New Orleans musical traditions, Moore flexes fine jazz chops on his eloquent new release, Conversations (Royal Potato Family), which was recorded with his trio. The album's groove is built on Moore's steady syncopation with Vidacovich's Astral Project partners James Singleton (bass) and David Torkanowsky (piano). Conversations triumphs in this trio's renditions of local standards and modern jazz compositions.
2:50 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
& the Highway QCs
The Highway QCs (derived from Highway Baptist Church and Quincy College High School, where the original members met) formed in the fertile Chicago gospel scene that grew from a generation of African-American migration to the city from the Deep South, particularly Louisiana and Mississippi, in the 1920s and '30s. The group marks its 70th anniversary next year, boasts more than 40 albums and tours internationally. Its alumni include Lou Rawls and the immortal Sam Cooke, a founding member. The ensemble is fronted by Spencer Taylor, who joined the group in the 1950s.
3:50 p.m.-4:50 p.m.
Swings The Beatles
Creole crooner par excellence Philip Manuel worked with songwriting partner Mike Pellara to recruit a top-notch local ensemble: Steve Masakowski on guitar, Max Moran on bass, Doug Belote on drums and a horn section including Khari Lee, Jamil Sharif and Tony Dagradi. With a smooth vocal delivery, a dash of showmanship and the ability to swing complex arrangements, Manuel looks to add to the "Eleanor Rigby" rendition already in his repertoire with Beatles classics such as "Hey Jude" and Sir Paul's 1966 up-tempo party-starter, "Got to Get You into My Life."
4:05 p.m.-5:10 p.m.
Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Greensky Bluegrass looks to kick the dancing into high gear with its blistering brand of bluegrass. The up-and-coming quintet features Dave Bruzza (guitar), Anders Beck (Dobro), Mike Devol (upright bass), Mike Bont (banjo) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin) and its superb songwriting and musicianship propels its foot-stomping appeal. The group formed in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2000 and through constant touring has earned fans among bluegrass purists and the festival circuit.
4:15 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage
String Cheese Incident
These self-professed Colorado ski bums united in the high-country outposts of Crested Butte and Telluride in the mid-1990s and became bluegrass-influenced jam band titans — capable by 2005 of headlining summer amphitheater tours and forming Madison House Inc., a music business services company that challenged Ticketmaster before its sticky merger with LiveNation. The group split up in 2007, and there was speculation that some members were unhappy with the band's shift toward electro-trance sounds and shows catering to rave fans — featuring spectacles with burlesque dancers and acrobatic pole dancing at late-night shows in Las Vegas. Members switched to side projects more in tune with the acoustic and rock styles that formed the basis of Sting Cheese's early years. Billy Nershi focused on Honkytonk Homeslice with wife Jilian and the Emmitt-Nershi Band with Leftover Salmon's Drew Emmitt. Kyle Hollingsworth became an avid home brewer and toured with his namesake band. Whatever the reasons for the split, String Cheese reunited for intermittent shows in subsequent years, and toured again beginning in 2011. It also headlined Hulaween, its own festival held in fall 2013 at the Spirit of Suwanee, Fla. String Cheese drew critical praise for April release A Song in My Head, the band's first studio album in nine years.
5 p.m.-7 p.m.
Dr. Lonnie Smith
Lonnie Smith grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., immersed in gospel, blues and jazz. In 1969, Downbeat named him its "Top Organist," and he became the turbaned guru of the Hammond B-3 organ. Smith's frenetic, funky organ work is a hallmark of vintage Blue Note albums such as saxophonist Lou Donaldson's 1970 platinum-selling Alligator Boogaloo. Blue Note offered Smith his own deal and he created a series of soul/jazz albums, all classics composed with various ensembles but always demonstrating his distinctive B-3 playing. In the mid-'70s, Smith departed from Blue Note to follow his own muse, which led him from Jimi Hendrix tribute albums to performing with a 15-piece big band. In October 2013, he released In the Beginning, Vols. I & II, a retooled collection of his early songs, on his imprint label. In February, he performed two sold-out shows at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club. Smith, who turns 70 this year, performs at Jazz Fest with his regular trio, featuring Jonathan Kreisberg on guitar and Jamire Williams on drums.
5:40 p.m.-7 p.m.
Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Lyle Lovett's latest album is 2012's Release Me, his last on longtime label Curb and as mismatched and messy as a contractually obligated goodbye can be. And that's a compliment. It's a fun mess, one in which the celebrated country singer/songwriter cut only two original tracks and shares a duet with Kat Edmonson on holiday classic "Baby, It's Cold Outside." There's even rollicking, New Orleans piano blues on "Keep It Clean" and covers of songs by late friends Townes Van Zandt ("White Freightliner Blues") and Jesse Winchester ("Isn't That So"), turned here into a forceful, horn-blasting soul track. Lovett also paid tribute to the late Winchester, the Louisiana-born songwriter who died April 11, on the 2012 album Quiet About It, featuring Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris and others performing Winchester's songs. (Lovett eulogized Winchester on Twitter, saying he "was one of the true greats. He was such a gentleman and was always kind to me.") Born in the small town of Klein, Texas, and named for his great-great-grandfather, Lovett still lives on his family farm — though he tours constantly.
5:40 p.m.-7 p.m.
Samsung Galaxy Stage
New New Orleans resident, Solange Knowles — no longer just Beyonce's younger sister — emerged as a formidable dance-pop singer/songwriter with her 2012 EP True and its standout single "Losing You." Last year, she launched her own label, Saint Records, which will issue her material and releases from its roster, previewed on the 2013 compilation album Saint Heron. While she obviously took cues from her sister's performance notes, Solange infuses her neo-soul-inspired pop with '70s future-funk, '80s R&B and Swedish synthpop. Her killer dance moves and visual style —as seen in her collection for Puma, for which she is the art director — bleeds into her neon and Instagram-pastel videos (check the Mannie Fresh and Bun B cameos in her Michael Jackson-esque video for "Lovers in the Parking Lot"). In a stunning spread in the March Harper's Bazaar, Solange revealed she has been living in Louisiana working on her full-length album.
6:10 p.m.-6:55 p.m.
Congo Square Stage