The Broad View of Collaboration

On first look, I’m entertained by the Voodoo lineup. Ozzy seems like another Kiss, but I’ve never got Ozzy except on record with Black Sabbath. Any live footage of him lurching about onstage undoes any “Prince of Darkness” air of danger that he once may have possessed. That aside, it’s nice to see a genuine youth movement with Muse and MGMT at or near the top of the bill, and it’s great to see the return of Voodoo Dance tent.

One “waitaminute” moment, though. In a promotional email, someone wrote:

Welcome to the Voodoo Experience’s Le Flambeau. These two stages allow the torch to be passed between the keepers of New Orleans musical traditions and the younger artists responding with their own interpretations.

This year, the Voodoo Experience invites both entities to collaborate and create once in a life-time sets. Performances of note include the Basin Street Records Revue with Kermit Ruffins and the Jeremy Davenport/Dr. Michael White collaboration. Still need more? The Voice of the Wetlands All Stars will feature Tab Benoit, Cyril Neville, George Porter Jr., Waylon Thibodeaux, Big Chief Bourdeaux, Johnny Vidacovich, and Johnny Sansone. Other pairings will include the Treme Brass Band with Uncle Lionel Batiste, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin Malcolm, Galactic and Guests, The Honey Island Swamp Band with Gal Holiday and Grammy winning artists Irvin Mayfield and Walter Wolfman Washington. For fans of true New Orleans music, it’s going to be three days of musical bliss.

Does the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars, who’ve recorded an album together and played numerous Jazz Fests and other events together, count as a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration? Isn’t Uncle Lionel a member of the Treme Brass Band? Don’t Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm collaborate nightly? Since the WWOZ Stage has often seemed like the Jazz Fest-Lite Stage, this is conceptually a big step forward, and Honey Island with Gal Holiday, Irvin with Walter, and Galactic with a guest says that it isn’t just talk. But calling some of these “collaborations” is a stretch. If someone guests with the VOW Allstars, the Treme Brass Band or Cedric and Malcolm, then we’re getting somewhere, and maybe that’s what’s going to happen. But that’s not the way the text reads right now.

  • Jack