A few days ago, the New Orleans Jazz Fest schedule came out. I will have a WWOZ Brass Pass, so if all goes well, I’ll be at the Fairgrounds for all seven days. The lineup looks great. And as usual, it presents some tough choices. For instance:
Saturday, April 30: More difficult choices. J. Monque ’D overlaps with Wayne Toups, who overlaps with the Hot 8 Brass Band, who overlaps with Alvin Youngblood Hart, who overlaps with Jeremy Davenport. I’ll probably clear the deck for Alvin, since I’ve never seen him live. Later in the day, the Blues Tent looks good, with Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots (my favorite zydeco band) followed by Robert Cray.
Sunday, May 1: In the early afternoon, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band overlaps with Tommy Sancton. To close out the day, the choices include John Mellencamp, Arlo Guthrie, and (believe it or not) Tom Jones. I’ll probably opt for Mellencamp, though I suspect that Jones’s set will be worth watching, and Arlo (whom I’ve seen before) will make his audience glad that they saw him.
Thursday, May 5: This is traditionally a relatively low-key day. But still worth the price of admission. I’ll definitely catch Little Freddie King and Lucinda Williams. The choices for closing out the day include Cyndi Lauper, the Stooges Brass Band, and Spencer Bohren. Right now I’m leaning toward Spencer.
Friday, May 6: Choices again become difficult. Guitar Slim Jr. overlaps with Edie Brickell, who overlaps with the Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, who overlaps with the Big Al Carson Blues Band, who overlaps with Bonerama, who overlaps with Kermit Ruffins. Whew! Then Big Sam’s Funky Nation overlaps with Eric Lindell. And to close out the day, the choices include Wille Nelson and Gregg Allman.
Saturday, May 7: D.L. Menard overlaps with Marcia Ball. Later, Trombone Shorty overlaps with Walter “Wolfman” Washington, who overlaps with Dr. Michael White (currently the world’s premier clarinetist, IMHO), who overlaps with BeauSoleil. To close out the day, the choices include Jimmy Buffett, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Aaron Neville’s Gospel Experience.
Sunday, May 8: A lot of good acts, but for me the choices don’t get difficult until mid-afternoon. Rebirth Brass Band conflicts with Sonny Landreth, who (for practical purposes) overlaps the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. To close out the day (and your entire Jazz Fest), the choices include the Neville Brothers, the Radiators’ farewell, Maze with Frankie Beverly, and Robert Randolph. I’ll probably opt for Robert Randolph, who proves that the pedal steel guitar can be damned funky.