We hear it in the jazz clubs and rock clubs, both locally and corporately owned, in the fancy theaters and campus auditoriums, even along the riverfront. But it is the sounds that emanate from the streets -- from the second lines, hailing from New Orleans' historic neighborhoods that have been flooded and wind-burned -- that provides the foundation of our music and, hence, the 37th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, presented by Shell. Which is why it's so sweet to see the iconic Mardi Gras Indian gracing this year's Congo Square poster. And which is why I, Count Basin (SM), Jazz Fest's preeminent critic, is grateful for this return to the streets, and to the Fair Grounds.
There is so much to be grateful for; just the fact that the folks at Jazz Fest got this thing back up and running is cause for celebration. But something tells us this second weekend -- what we call a magnificent encore of the first -- will be more than just up and running. We think it will rule -- like any big chief should.
2006 Jazz Fest Index
Alison Fensterstock on New Orleans' gospel choirs
Alison Fensterstock on Basin Street Records
Harvey Pekar and Gary Dumm's graphic comic strip of Fats Domino
Josh Johnson on the Yonder Mountain String Band
Ariane Wiltse on the NOCCA Jazz Ensemble
Samuel H. Winston on Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Maps and Cubes
Frank Etheridge on Warren Haynes
Ian McNulty on Jazz Fest vendors
Congo Square Poster
Big Chief Joseph Pierre "Monk" Boudreaux, 64, of the Golden Eagles Tribe symbolizes the culture, tradition, endurance and defiance of the unique Mardi Gras Indians as well as anyone. For this year's Congo Square poster, Congo Square 2006: Three-way Pocky A-Way, artist Richard Thomas drew inspiration from legendary photographer Michael P. Smith. Here he captures both the vivid costume and the Indian wearing it. The triptych in this work conveys the timeless nature of the tribes and their "pretty" suits. Along with numbered and artist-signed editions, art4now provides a special-edition triple signed by Thomas, Smith and Boudreaux. For more, visit www.art4now.com.
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