Mojo Boogie
Jazz Fest Weekend 2

Preliminary Jazz Fest plans — Weekend 1

A few days ago, the good folks running the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival posted the day-by-day schedules. This is something I look forward to, as I find out when and where I can see my favorite artists. Here are the ones I’ve circled.

Friday, April 24:

  • Spencer Bohren, 12:20 p.m., Blues Tent. Spencer caught my ear a few years ago with The Long Black Line. Everyone who drove around New Orleans after Katrina knows exactly what that is.
  • Henry Butler, 2:55 p.m., Congo Square. Some guy named George Winston says that Henry Butler is his favorite piano player. Unfortunately, Henry’s set overlaps with ...
  • Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, 3:45 p.m. Gentilly Stage. These guys are simply great musicians playing high-energy music. Trouble is that their set overlaps with ...
  • Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters, 4:15 p.m., Blues Tent. If this music doesn’t get you up on your feet, you’re dead. Only trouble is that you may be torn between this set and ...
  • Tribute to Mahalia Jackson, 4:30 p.m., Gospel Tent. Where and when else can you see Pamela Landrum, Irma Thomas, and Mavis Staples on the same stage? This set ends at 5:30 p.m., at which point many will likely dash to ..
  • Joe Cocker, 5:30 p.m. Acura Stage. Under other circumstances, I’d probably try to catch Joe’s set. But instead I’ll see ...
  • Tab Benoit, 5:45 p.m., Blues Tent. How does a white guy named Tab become one of today’s most renowned blues artists? I don’t know, but I promise you that he has somehow pulled it off.

Saturday, April 25:

  • Tipsy Chicks, 11:20 a.m., Lagniappe Stage. I have no idea who these people are or what kind of music they play. But the name is intriguing enough to make them worth checking out.
  • Sharde Thomas & Rising Star Fife & Drum, 12:35 p.m., Blues Tent. The North Mississippi Allstars introduced me to fife-and-drum on Electric Blue Watermelon, featuring Otha Turner and friends. The vogue word for this genre is “roots music.” My descriptions would include words like original, traditional, unvarnished, and unspoiled.
  • Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, 1:35 p.m., Fais-Do-Do Stage. Every trip to Jazz Fest should include at least a taste of cajun music. Fortunately this stage is near Congo Square, because this set overlaps with ...
  • Rebirth Brass Band with guest Kermit Ruffins, 2:00 p.m., Congo Square. Either of these acts by itself is worth seeing. And no trip to Jazz Fest is complete without some second-line music.
  • Johnny Winter interview, 3:40 p.m., Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage. Blues fans should not miss this. I have no idea what Johnny will talk about. Usually these interviews cover the artist’s formative years, including the biggest influences on their careers. Johnny should have a lot to talk about. He looks like he’s already crammed about 150 years of living into however many years he’s actually been around. Because this interview ends at 4:25 p.m., I may have to leave early to catch ...
  • John Mooney & Bluesiana, 4:25 p.m., Blues Tent. John is a traditional slide guitarist, schooled by none other than Son House. Enough said.
  • James Taylor, 5:25 p.m., Acura Stage. I’ve seen JT at Jazz Fest before. He’ll put on a good show, full of those old songs that we all love. But I’ll have to pass on his set in favor of ...
  • Johnny Winter, 5:55 p.m., Blues Tent. You didn’t think Johnny was coming to Jazz Fest just to talk, right? Now Johnny is getting old, so he may play this set sitting down. His voice will probably sound like a lifetime of smoke and whiskey—perfect for the kind of music he makes.

Sunday, April 26:

  • Guitar Slim, Jr., 12:25 p.m., Blues Tent. I missed him last year; I don’t intend to miss him this year. I’ve never heard him before, but if he inherited any talent from his dad, this should be a great set.
  • Wayne Toups & ZyDeCajun, 12:40 p.m., Acura Stage. As the band’s name suggests, their music blends cajun and zydeco.
  • Sonny Landreth, 2:10 p.m., Gentilly Stage. Sonny is the world’s best slide guitarist. And if you like great blues guitar playing, stick around after his set for ...
  • Robert Cray, 3:40 p.m., Gentilly Stage. Now, here’s where some mind-bending conflicts start. Robert’s set will conflict with ...
  • Terence Blanchard, 3:50 p.m., WWOZ Jazz Tent. Since it’s called Jazz Fest, you’ve got to catch a little jazz. And Terence is one our great trumpet players. But jazz fans will be torn between this set and ...
  • Dr. Michael White, Economy Hall, 4: 15 p.m. Dr. White’s Blue Crescent was one of the best New Orleans records recorded last year—jazz accessible to the common man. I’d love to see him live. If only his set didn’t conflict with ...
  • Mavis Staples, 4:35 p.m., Gospel Tent. My friend Tutu Man once said that you haven’t been to Jazz Fest if you haven’t been to the Gospel Tent. And Mavis is a wonderful blues-gospel crossover singer.
  • Earth, Wind & Fire, 5:30 p.m., Congo Square. It’ll be a tough choice between these guys and ...
  • Etta James & the Roots Band, 5:35 p.m. Gentilly Stage.

Folks, that’s a lot of music. And that’s just the first weekend. Tomorrow, the second weekend.

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