Day 2 of Satchmo Fest started with a dowsing of rain that cleared up and left the day relatively cool. The festival celebrates the birthday of Louis Armstrong. Saturday’s lineup illustrated the reach and evolution of Armstrong’s influence on musicians and music lovers. One of the interesting things about our local musicians is that they often play in multiple bands either as members, sitting in, or as featured guests. Its not uncommon to spot players like the drummer who played with Bonerama Friday and with Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet Saturday. But the player I’ve seen the most this year is a young trombonist who so far has played with (that I know of) Soul Rebels on Friday and the Original Pinettes and TBC Brass Bands on Saturday. With that kind of bravery, discipline and endurance, I’m excited to see who he becomes. And it brings me joy to know that, like so many others, he can trace his beginnings to Louis Armstrong. Continue reading
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We had planned to go tubing with John Schneider near his super-cool studio outside Baton Rouge Saturday, but the river was way too high and a downpour flooded the streets of New Orleans trapping many of us in our neighborhoods. After the rain passed, we instead headed to the 6th annual New Orleans Oyster Festival in Woldenberg Park. I’ve been every year and the fest keeps getting bigger and better – even adding an additional stage for food demonstrations and live music. We stopped for a few songs from local favorites, TBC Brass Band. Continue reading
After a one year hiatus, Chaz Fest is back. Named for Washboard Chaz who joins every group, the festival was formed a decade ago when members of The Tin Men (and Alex McMurray’s wife) came up with the backyard festival as a reaction to being rejected by Jazz Fest. Held at the Truck Farm, an artists haven, the 2 stages (one in the yard and one in the woods) rotate so that the music is nonstop – 14 bands in under 10 hours. With its rustic porches, patios, enclaves and hideaways – all festooned with whimsically painted signs – the Truck Farm always reminds me of my childhood at Lemonade Farm, the subject of my novel by the same name. The food feels homegrown and the people are dressed like Dead Heads and flower children. It’s 1976 again with peace in the air. Continue reading
The 45th New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival started last weekend treating hundreds of thousands of guests to artisan booths and demonstrations, fest food and cooking demonstrations, pop-up book and CD stores, interviews with musicians and, of course, over a dozen stages playing up to 8 shows each a day. I think that comes out to somewhere around 400 different concerts over the course of 2 weekends all on the Fair Grounds Race Course. But what if you couldn’t get here? Or what if you’re one of the locals fed up with yet another price hike? (It’s up to $65/day at the door now). You may not be able to eat the food or watch the Mardi Gras Indians parading past, but you can still hear Jazz Fest in a number of ways.
It was supposed to be a stormy May Day, but only 3 light sprinkles passed over the 8th annual Chaz Fest. The brain child of members of The Tin Men (and Alex McMurray’s wife), the festival was born of a reaction to being rejected by Jazz Fest. Though now many of the bands have played Jazz Fest, Chaz Fest remains the backyard party it has always been. Held at the Truck Farm, an artists haven, the 2 stages (one in the yard and one in the woods) rotate so that the music is nonstop – 14 bands in under 10 hours. Continue reading
After the perfect day we had Saturday, we finished the weekend with a perfect Sunday. Again, the weather was warm and sunny with a constant balmy breeze. Breakfast was Camellia Grill in the French Quarter. Gotta love those grits and the service (complete with fist-bumps) always puts a smile on my face. Then it was off to Armstrong Park for the Revolution Social Aid and Pleasure Club’s second line. We found Briana Edwards of Raintree Children and Family Services in the crowd of steppers and jumpers then followed along. Loved the snappy school kid costumes the paraders wore. Continue reading