Thoughts, observations, and opinions from the Fairgrounds about Jazz Fest 2015 from Web Editor Stephen Maloney.
Dubbed “locals Thursday,” Day 4 of Jazz Fest 2015 was picture perfect in every way.
Kicking things off early with an amazing set overflowing with all star guests, the Trumpet Mafia truly took over the Jazz Tent.
Ashlin Parker set the tone early by opening the band’s first ever Jazz Fest appearance with a solo rendition of the theme song from the Godfather.
Of course he did. He is the leader of the city’s newest mafia family.
Legendary trumpeter Leroy Jones soon joined in as the rest of the Trumpet Mafia family spread from one corner of the stage to the other.
In a testament to the young band’s drawing power, nearly every seat in the Jazz Tent filled up during the one hour set as fans streamed in to hear the music.
The energy on the stage was clearly evident as all 12 trumpeters blasted through song after song.
Bill Summers sat in the entire set on percussion, playing off of drummer Julian Addison beautifully.
Irvin Mayfield traded solos with Parker and Maurice Brown and Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown for so long you could see jaws drop all across the tent.
John Michael Bradford couldn’t contain his excitement as the solos went on and on, and he ended up bouncing up and down while grinning from ear to ear.
At the end of the set, the entire crowd jumped to its feet for a sustained standing ovation.
It was a magnificent coming out party for an immensely talented band.
Later in the day, The Word amazed the massive crowd building at the Acura Stage.
Robert Randolph has a broken right hand, and yet he still managed to play the “sacred steel” guitar better than anyone else on the planet.
I have no idea how he managed to pull that off.
To paraphrase Groundhog Day, he may not be the God, but he may be a god.
The always inventive Pat Casey and the New Sound, also featuring Parker on trumpet, Addison on drums, and Summers on percussion, put on a killer set in the Jazz Tent just after the Trumpet Mafia’s triumph.
Parker also popped up late in the afternoon on the Jazz and Heritage Stage with the New Orleans Nightcrawlers.
Rumor has it he also worked the Crawfish Monica booth and sold beer for the Kiwanis over by the Gentilly Stage.
Bonerama brought out Mark Mullins’ son Michael Mullins on trombone and Matt Perrine’s son Ben Perrine on guitar during their set, making it a family affair two years running.
OffBeat contributor John Swenson had a hell of a time wrangling the Write Brothers at the start of his interview with the band.
Everything’s a joke with those guys, and their obvious camaraderie shines through like a spotlight.
Eric Lindell’s new band, anchored around bass player, singer, producer, and engineer Sean Carey, fired on all cylinders during their set in the Blues Tent.
Carey has brought a smoothness to the band’s already rounded retro sound that seamlessly blends into Lindell’s aesthetic.
The crowd really responded warmly to the band’s new material.
All in all, you couldn’t have asked for a better day at Jazz Fest, and everyone I saw at the Fairgrounds was enjoying every moment.