I realize I am a little late with this, seeing as how the second weekend revelry has already begun, but whatever. Here’s your guide to weekend number two of Jazzfest 2010.
Thursday, April 29th-
Thursday at Jazz fest is always an interesting time. Less tourists in town makes for a more local flavored line-up, and smaller crowds makes for a much more pleasant day at the fair grounds. Keeping with the “locals only” vibe, you should start your day Coco Robicheaux and the Swamp Monsters in the Blues Tent.
After that, grab a decent spot at the Acura Stage for Kirk Joesph’s Backyard Groove, Ivan Neville & Dumpstaphunk and Gov’t Mule. As Gov’t Mule’s set is approaching it’s end, avoid the on-coming rush of neo-hippies descending on the stage to see Widespread Panic and head over to the Congo Square stage for Soul Rebels. You will not be disappointed, and the surrounding audience should smell much better. When Soul Rebels wrap up you have some time to roam around before Elvis Costello & the Sugarcanes.
After a relatively laid back day at the festival, the night should be a little more lively. Thursday night may be the best night for music in New Orleans, as every week there are a couple regular shows that are guaranteed to deliver.
First is Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers at Vaughn’s. Eat some barbecue and listen to the second coming of Pops. Next up is the Soul Rebels at Les Bon Temps Roulez, a tiny Uptown dive. This show allegedly starts at 10pm, but don;t worry if you;re a little late. It will go late.
Friday, April 30th-
Its a jazz and blues kinda day at the fairgrounds, starting off with the Julliard Jazz Ensemble at 11:15 in the Jazz Tent. When the kids are done, head over for Buckwheat Zydeco on Acura at 12:35.
After Buckwheat its back to the Jazz Tent for Astral Project at 1:30 and John Boutte at 2:50. Definitely do not miss Allen Toussaint on Acura at 3:40. He’ll finish with enough time to grab something to eat before settling in fro Stanley Clarke’s band featuring Japanese phenom Hiromi. I wouldn’t expect him to break out the Alembic and tear through “School Days”, but anything is possible.
I’d start the night at the Blue Nile at 10 with Big Sam’s Funky Nation and then get over to Tip’s for the Radiators.
Saturday, May 1st-
This is about as easy as a day at the fest can get. Show up early, grab a great spot at the Acura stage and kick back for Russell Batiste w/ Jason Neville, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Anders Osborne and Glactic. That’s just about a perfect day, and at this point if you want to stay where you’re at for Pearl Jam I couldn’t blame you. But I would have a hard time staying away from the Jazz Tent where Marcus Miller will lead a group through a re-visitation of the Miles album Tutu, with Christian Scott on trumpet. Either way, this is my favorite day at this year’s festival- great schedule.
There’s some really great choices in the clubs tonight, but I’d be at the Howlin’ Wolf for Galactic, the Funky Meters and Rebirth. Unbeatable.
Sunday, May 2nd-
At this point, you have every right to be exhausted. I’m tired just writing about it. But do not make the mistake of skipping your last day at the festival. You will kick yourself for the next twelve months if you do.
But you can show up late. Start with Clarence “Frogman” Henry at 12:35 on Acura. Then make your way over to Gentilly for Trombone Shorty at 2:00. After Shorty, you can go either Van Morrison or The Dead Weather, but either way be sure not to miss Wayne Shorter in the Jazz Tent at 5:40. This is the best group in jazz right now and the connection between these four musicians is out of this world.
The festival is over now, but there’s still plenty of music to be heard. If you’re wiped, you can mellow out with Astral Project at Snug Harbor. If you still have some energy, end your festival right with Rebirth, Soul Rebels and Hot 8 at the House of Blues.
Hope this has been helpful or at least entertaining. Jazzfest in New Orleans is truly the best 10 days of music you can find. Can’t wait to see who’s playing next year.