Jazz Fest Second Weekend Top Picks

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Thursday, April 29

Scully, R., Rough 7, 4/29, ACU, 11:10a Singer/guitarist Scully was in the late, lamented Morning 40 Federation. His aptly-named new band plays some of the grittiest garage rock to be heard at this year’s fest, but with a genuine dose of soul.

Neville, Ivan’s, Dumpstaphunk, 4/29, ACU, 1:20p Neville’s checkered past includes a stab at pop success, two tours with Keith Richards, stints with his dad Aaron’s group the Neville Brothers, and a few years in the fast lane. With Dumpstaphunk he returns to his hometown R&B roots.

Miller, Derek, 4/29, BLU, 1:30pBorn on Canadian Mohawk territory, Miller was described by director Jim Jarmusch as “Hank Williams and Link Wray on peyote.” His recent single “Damned If You Do,” was a duet with Willie Nelson.

Powell, Shannon’s, Organ Combo feat. Charlie Gabriel, David Torkanowsky, and Peter Bernstein, 4/29, JAZ, 3:05p Preservation Hall Jazz Band drummer Powell explores leaner sounds in this group with Preservation Hall clarinetist Gabriel, Blue Note-associated guitarist Bernstein, and local mainstay keyboardist Torkanowsky.

Martin, Steve, with the Steep Canyon Rangers, 4/29, GEN, 3:35p It’s not often that a banjo player gets a main-stage slot after his first full album. But it’s worth noting that Martin’s been picking for decades, doing a half-bluegrass, half-comedy album back in 1980.
Sanchez, Paul, and the Rolling Road Show, 4/29, LAG, 4:20p Once a mainstay of Cowboy Mouth, Sanchez has since flourished as a wandering troubadour. The Road Show could include any number of his many musical friends.

Sexton, Martin, 4/29, FDD, 4:35p A favorite on the acoustic circuit, Sexton has a changeable voice, high ambitions and diverse tastes, daring to do back-to-back Prince and Beatles covers on a recent live album.

Average White Band, 4/29, CON, 5:25p Glasgow’s contribution to vintage ’70s funk, better remembered for its snappy instrumentals than its equally fine ballads. Two-fifths of the classic lineup remains.

Lonero, Bobby’s, Tribute to Louis Prima with Johnny Pennino and the New Orleans Express, 4/29, ECO, 5:45p Guitarist Lonero has played over the years with a handful of greats, including Prima, Fats Domino and Little Richard; and did a Prima tribute for 13 years at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street. Saxman Pennino has also been around, once playing for Duke Ellington at Papa Joe’s on Bourbon.

Watson, Cedric, and Bijou Creole, 4/29, FDD, 6p Young fiddler and accordionist Watson uses traditional Cajun and zydeco music as a starting place for a musical exploration of the Creole. Last year’s L’Esprit Creole was nominated for a Grammy.


Friday, April 30

Brother Tyrone: 4/30, ACU, 11:20a: Soulful New Orleans vocalist whose recent Mindbender CD struck a chord with lovers of lowdown, old-school R&B.

Fields, Thomas “Big Hat”, and his Foot Stompin’ Zydeco Band: 4/30, FDD, 12:25p: A big man in his hometown of Rayne, Louisiana where he produces an annual music festival. He worked as a bronco buster and bull rider before going full-time into zydeco.

Batiste, Jon Band: 4/30, CON, 1:20p: One of the younger performers of the mighty Batiste family, Jon is a 24-year-old keyboardist who graduated from Juilliard and has toured with Harry Connick, Jr. and Abbey Lincoln. Along with piano, he’s lately been exploring the melodica as a jazz instrument.

subdudes, the, 4/30, GEN, 2:10p One of the few NO rock bands who turn laid-back into a virtue, scaling down the volume to let the songs and harmonies shine through. Their 2004 reunion proved to be for keeps; the recent Flower Petals is their fourth studio album since then.

Boutte, John, 4/30, JAZ, 2:50p A local favorite with a high and haunting voice, Boutte has sung with Cubanismo and the New Orleans Social Club and is lately working with Paul Sanchez. He’s been known to turn unlikely choices like Annie Lennox’s “Why” into emotional showpieces.

New Orleans Social Club, 4/30, BLU, 4:15p This funk all-star band came together after Hurricane Katrina for a one-off album, Sing Me Back Home and has continued to play together on an occasional basis. The album’s covers provide a starting place for a group whose repertoire ranges across the New Orleans canon.

Kora Konnection feat. Morikeba Kouyate of Senegal and Thierno Dioubate of Guinea: 4/30, LAG, 4:45p: African traditional music meets New Orleans jazz in this multicultural band, which includes African kora master Kouyate and percussionist Dioubate, with local saxophonist Tim Green, drummer Jeff Klein and Astral Project bassist James Singleton.

Franklin, Aretha, 4/30, ACU, 5:35p You may get divine inspiration, or you may get a 20-minute singalong of “Freeway of Love.” No doubt you’ll get some glimpses of the true majesty of the Queen of Soul.

Gipsy Kings, 4/30, GEN, 5:35p A group whose music probably kept Starbucks in business for a couple of years, the Gipsy Kings are the most commercially successful act to fuse flamenco and pop.

Clarke, Stanley, Band featuring Hiromi, 4/30, JAZ, 5:45p Fast-fingered bassist Clarke seems to thrive around keyboard players. Following a reunion with Chick Corea in Return to Forever, he’s teamed up with young Japanese pianist (and former Corea protégé) Hiromi in a more acoustic setting.


Saturday, May 1

Stinson, Kenny Bill, and the ARK-LA-Mystics: 5/1, FDD, 11:15a: This perennial Fest favorite from the Shreveport area does swamp pop and rockabilly with piano-pounding fervor, and usually brings a first-rate band.

MyNameIsJohnMichael: 5/1, GEN, 11:30a: During 2008, John Michael Rouchell took a bet and wrote/released one new song every week. Those songs not only won him a following, they led to the formation of MyNameIsJohnMichael as a full-fledged indie rock band.

Allen, Shamarr, and the Underdawgs: 5/1, CON, 12:40p: Young trumpeter whose latest disc Box Who In? bears out his diverse musical interests, from traditional brass-band to funk, hip-hop and even hard guitar-driven rock.

Butler, Henry: 5/1, GEN, 12:55p: This brilliantly eclectic pianist can do it all—Fess and funk, straight-ahead or way out-there—and do it all differently. His 2008 album PiaNOLA was a long-overdue return to the solo piano form.

Osborne, Anders: 5/1, ACU, 1:55p: The thinking person’s guitar hero with a flair for deep blue confessional songs. Since last year he’s made an impressive new album American Patchwork, muscled up his sound and grown an impressive beard.

Carrier, Chubby, and the Bayou Swamp Band: 5/1, FDD, 1:30p: Third-generation bandleader who came up with the long-overdue idea to turn the Who’s “Squeeze Box” into a zydeco anthem.

Neville, Cyril, and Tribe 13: 5/1, BLU, 4:05p: The youngest Neville brother formed this group during a post-Katrina relocation to Austin Texas, describing them as “the band that put the chili in the gumbo.”

Beck, Jeff: 5/1, GEN, 5:40p: Of the big three ex-Yardbirds guitarists Clapton, Beck and Page, Beck is arguably the one who’s never lost his mojo. Went orchestral on his latest disc Emotion and Commotion.

Miller, Marcus, presents Tutu Revisited w. special guest Christian Scott, 5/1, JAZ, 5:35p: As a session bassist, he got to play on Miles Davis’ last and probably weakest albums. Miller’s since made more of an impression as a producer/arranger who looks past the boundaries between classic jazz, smooth jazz and funk. Here he reexamines one of Davis’ more adventurous late period albums.

Marie, Teena: 5/1, CON, 5:40p: Once a Motown protégé of Rick James, she then produced the hits “I Need Your Lovin’” and “Square Biz” on her own. Most recently she came to Stax and made the New Orleans-inspired album Congo Square.


Sunday, May 2

Foster, Ruthie: 5/2, GEN, 12:35p: This Austin Texas blueswoman is so phenomenal that she recently made an album called Phenomenal. All bragging aside she’s a strong, gospel-infused singer.

Sierra Leone’s Refugee Allstars: 5/2, CON, 12:40p: Drawing from African music and reggae, these musicians came together at a refugee camp during Sierra Leone’s civil war. Los Lobos member Steve Berlin oversaw their recent studio work, partly recorded in New Orleans’ Piety Street Recording.

Feufollet: 5/2, FDD, 1:35p: Originally one of the youngest Cajun bands to make an impact, they’ve matured into a band that can honor the tradition while messing with it.

Juvenile and DJ Mannie Fresh: 5/2, CON, 2:05p: Few performers did more to associate New Orleans with the Dirty South school of rap than Juvenile; “Back That Azz Up” was enough of a local classic that Snooks Eaglin was often known to cover it. Last year’s Cocky and Confident shows he’s lost none of his swagger or focus.

Vappie, Don, and the Creole Jazz Serenaders: 5/2, ECO, 2:55p: Banjo virtuoso Vappie leads this traditional jazz group that explores his Creole musical heritage, both homegrown or farther abroad.

Danialou, Sagbohan, of Benin: 5/1, J&H, 3:05p: A major figure in African pop, Danialou’s early-’70s work was in formed by psychedelic soul and traditional voodoo; a distant cousin to Dr. John’s Gris-Gris period. This will be his first US appearance.

Crawford, Davell, Singers: 5/2, GOS, 3:30p: Better known for keyboard-driven R&B, Crawford returns to his church-music roots with this group, which he describes as “some of the absolute best hand-picked voices and singers around.”

Carter, Clarence: 5/2, CON, 3:45p: Soul collectors will know his ’60s hits “Slip Away” and “Patches”; but it was 1985’s “raunchy Strokin’” that hit in frathouses from coast to coast.

Dead Weather, the, 5/2, GEN, 3:45p: The White Stripes’ Jack White is musically restless, forming another the Dead Weather as another side project last year fronted by the Kills’ Alison Mosshart. It’s a skewed take on the blues, and the show should debut material from the band’s upcoming album.

Shorter, Wayne, Quartet with Danilo Perez, Brian Blade and John Patitucci: 5/2, JAZ, 5:40p: A saxophonist who made jazz history with Miles Davis and Weather Report, Shorter now leads his first all-acoustic group since his early ’60s years on Blue Note.