D.L. Menard & the Louisiana Aces
D.L. Menard has been called "the Cajun Hank Williams" for his high-pitched singing style and heartfelt songs of rural Acadian life. Born in Erath, La., he's been playing with the Louisiana Aces since 1952, picking up a couple of Grammy nominations and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship along the way. Menard inspired many traditional south Louisiana musicians that followed him, and his song "La Porte d'en Arriere" ("The Back Door") is considered the most recorded and performed Cajun song of all time.
• 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage
Ernie Vincent & the Top Notes
Ernie Vincent, a seasoned veteran of New Orleans R&B, caught a second wind in 2009. Though he got his start playing guitar with the likes of Ernie K-Doe, Jessie Hill and Eddie Bo, Vincent became known for his 1972 single "Dap Walk," a soulful jam that still stands as a vintage track of the era. Vincent revived his classic band the Top Notes in recent years with a new lineup of young talent and energy. Now Ernie Vincent and the Top Notes are back in clubs, playing regular gigs at d.b.a. and Le Bon Temps Roule with a driving horn and rhythm section and a sound that leans hard on the blues. Vincent was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
• 11:15 a.m.-noon
New Orleans Classic R&B Recording Revue featuring Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Frankie Ford, Robert Parker
and Al "Carnival
The phrase "one-hit wonder" doesn't do justice to this roster of accomplished musicians and R&B pioneers. These artists recorded a slew of sides at Cosimo Matassa's legendary J&M Recording Studio, and their most famous songs remain essential recordings from the early days of rock 'n' roll. Henry's "Ain't Got No Home," Parker's "Barefootin'," Ford's "Sea Cruise" and Johnson's "Carnival Time," are steeped in the 1950s New Orleans sound that earned Matassa a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall Fame last year — joining Dave Bartholomew and Allen Toussaint, with whom he worked.
• 12:25 p.m.-1:40 p.m. (Updated)
In south Louisiana, Feufollet and a recent wave of young bands are embracing their Cajun roots while fusing traditional songs with indie rock attitude. Feufollet got a Grammy nod for 2010's En Couleurs, which bears a Cajun French title, but the band has evolved significantly since the mid-'90s when members first got together as teenagers to play traditional Cajun music. Combining fiddles and accordions with electric guitars and modern production techniques, Feufollet's catalog includes original material and classic Acadian folk songs. Most songs are sung in Cajun French, even as the band courts mainstream success. Expectations are high for Feufollet's next album, which it'll begin recording later this year.
• 1:40 p.m.-2:35 p.m.
Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage
The Meter Men featuring Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste, Leo Nocentelli and George Porter Jr. and guest
Several of the original Meters return to Jazz Fest with yet another variation of the original lineup, this time with Page McConnell from Phish filling in for Art Neville on keys. The moniker Meter Men was first used when the founding members appeared as a trio without Neville at the 2009 festival. The Meter Men were joined by McConnell last fall for a short East Coast tour. McConnell proved to be a good fit, finding the groove on Meters' classics like "Cissy Strut," "Ain't No Use" and "Hey Pocky Way." The group has a handful of spring dates scheduled in Tampa, Fla., New York City and Philadelphia before landing in New Orleans.
• 1:45 p.m.-3 p.m. (Updated)
The Black Keys
The guitar-and-drums rock duo from Akron, Ohio, picked up three Grammys this year for El Camino, its most recent record, a continuing departure from the early blues sound inspired by North Mississippi players like Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside. After recording their first four albums in drummer Patrick Carney's basement studio and touring constantly, the band teamed up with pop producer Danger Mouse who helped craft their sound for a larger audience. The Black Keys have a strong connection to New Orleans. Guitarist Dan Auerbach produced Dr. John's 2012 release Locked Down, a record that many regard as the Night Tripper's return to form and earned Auerbach an additional Grammy for Producer of the Year. At the awards show, Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band joined the Black Keys on stage for a rendition of its single "Lonely Boy."
• 3:40 p.m.-5:05 p.m. (Updated)
Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring Danilo Perez,
John Patitucci and Brian Blade
At 80 years old, jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter has recorded dozens of albums as bandleader, sideman and composer. Earlier this year he returned to the Blue Note label to release Without a Net, his first record for Blue Note in 43 years. Shorter founded the iconic jazz fusion group Weather Report in 1971, but he got his start playing hard bop with Art Blakely's Jazz Messengers. He moved into the era of fusion playing alongside Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis' Quintet, where he composed songs for influential albums like Miles Smiles and Bitches Brew. His newest album includes both new material and classic compositions from his experimental days. Recorded live on a recent European tour, Without a Net showcases a trio of younger players harnessing the controlled chaos of the jazz master's musical imagination.
• 4:05 p.m.-5:25 p.m.
Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Leo Jackson & the Melody Clouds
The Melody Clouds have been Gospel Tent regulars for more than 20 years. The group moved to New Orleans from rural Mississippi, where the late Leo Jackson Sr. first assembled the group in 1965. Today Leo Jackson Jr. is in charge, along with brothers Carey and Melvin and an electric band. The Melody Clouds have sought a wider audience with appearances at Essence Festival, Voodoo Experience and Tipitina's, where the group opened for Alabama roots rockers Drive-By Truckers.
• 5 p.m.-5:45 p.m.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews will close out the Acura Stage, perhaps starting a tradition of his own. Andrews grew up following the second line traditions of his childhood Treme neighborhood, but Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue bring New Orleans music to a wider audience with their unique brand of funk and rock. Andrews honed his arena-rock chops as a member of Lenny Kravitz's band, and that experience is evident on his last two albums, 2010's Backatown and the 2011 follow-up For True. The strength of those records and the band's raucous live shows have taken them across the globe playing clubs and festivals. Andrews plans to release an album later this year produced by soul man Raphael Saadiq.
• 5:35 p.m.-7 p.m.
The Del McCoury Band with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has found success with a string of musical partnerships in recent years — from My Morning Jacket to gospel greats the Blind Boys of Alabama — and the relationship with the Del McCoury Band seems to be an enduring partnership. The two bands teamed up for the 2011 release American Legacies, and a North American tour followed, including an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. McCoury has been a staple of the bluegrass scene for more than half a century, including a stint with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys where he learned from the Father of Bluegrass himself. With Del on guitar, sons Ronnie and Rob playing mandolin and banjo, and backed by one of the city's most famous jazz bands, they blend high lonesome harmonies and swinging brass.
• 5:45 p.m.-7 p.m.
Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage
The Neville Brothers surprised many Jazz Fest faithful when news broke that the band wouldn't play its usual closing spot on Sunday. Instead, Aaron Neville closes down the Gentilly Stage as a solo act. The reason is Aaron's focus on his new Blue Note album My True Story, released at the beginning of this year. Produced by Don Was and Keith Richards, My True Story is a tribute to the doo-wop songs of Neville's childhood, punched up in part by contributions from Richards and Benmont Tench, the keyboardist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The album includes covers of classic numbers like the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and the Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk."
• 5:45 p.m.-7 p.m. (Updated)