3 p.m., Calendar Girls and Bon Temps Roulez SAPCs with New Wave Brass Band
Christian Light Jubilee Choir 11 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel When Christian Light's 28-member choir started out in 1989, the youngest member was 9 years old. They're based out of Christian Light Missionary Baptist Church on Gov. Nicholls Street and directed by Troy Anthony Lee and Rev. Mark Brookings. Watch for Rev. Brookings' singing on 'Cooling Water' and for vocalist-bassist-drummer Albert Smith, a veteran of Oliver 'La La' Morgan's band, as he sings his composition, 'Fire.'
Pride of Zulu with Mama Efuru and the African Renaissance Dancers 11:10 a.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, South African The most traditional of the artists representing South Africa at Jazz Fest, this Zulu folklore group will demonstrate through dances and songs the visual and oral methods that have been used through the centuries to recount Zulu history. One such form of very quickly spoken oral history, called speed poetry, is one traditional influence behind the characteristically frantic and wordy lyrical deliveries of many styles of South African township music.
Bingo! 11:15 a.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Avant-Garde/Country Bingo! is a staple for downtown hipsters with its weekly Thursday gigs at Fiorella's in the French Quarter. This Big Easy Entertainment Award-nominated carnival ride is the brainchild of singer/multi-instrumentalist Clint Maedgen (Liquidrone) and features violinist/vocalist Brynn Savage, bassist Steve Calandra and drummer Ryan Farris.
Steamboat Willie 11:15 a.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Not the first incarnation of Mickey Mouse, but rather an embodiment of classic New Orleans jazz swing. A trumpeter, Steamboat Willie surrounds himself with top-flight musicians, whether it's gigs around town or European tours.
Tony 'Oulaboula' Bazley 11:15 a.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz Drummer Tony 'Oulaboula' Bazley worked with such jazz giants as Eric Dolphy, Wes Montgomery, Dexter Gordon and Ben Webster and more recently has worked with Nicholas Payton and Branford Marsalis. Bazley has made Jazz Fest appearances dating back to 1979.
Bonerama 11:20 a.m., Sprint Stage, Rock The wild brainchild of trombonist Mark Mullins, Bonerama is a five-trombone front line -- Mullins, Rick Trolsen, Craig Klein, Steve Sutor, and Brian O'Neill -- backed by drummer Russell Batiste, tuba player Matt Perrine and guitarist Bert Cotton. This band can play intricate patterns and roll out the funk, but mostly it pumps out a powerful sound highlighted by Mullin's extraordinary wah-wah trombone playing, which often sounds like Jimi Hendrix. The band's covers of Led Zeppelin's 'Moby Dick' (a nice showcase for Batiste) and Edgar Winter's 'Frankenstein' are both on the debut album, Live at the Old Point.
Jumpin' Johnny Sansone 11:20 a.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Though many of his peers consider him the hottest harmonica player in New Orleans, you're likely to see Sansone playing accordion if you walk in partway through the show. The masterful harp man, whose sweet combination of Chicago articulation and Louisiana smear is a unique sound, handles the squeezebox with equal panache if not style, but the mixture is clearly the key to his crowd-pleasing success. Check out his classic New Orleans tune 'Crescent City Moon' from the 1996 album of the same name.
Holy Cross High School Jazz Ensemble 11:25 a.m., Lagniappe Stage, Contemporary Jazz The jazz players at this esteemed Catholic school in the Ninth Ward are devotees to the classic New Orleans style as well as swing, bebop, Latin and fusion.
UNO Jazz Ensemble 11:25 a.m., Acura Stage, Contemporary Jazz UNO's Jazz Studies program, under the tutelage first of Ellis Marsalis and now Terence Blanchard, is famous around the globe, featuring many of the young players whom you will see playing in clubs all weekend long.
The Gospel Stars 11:45 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Founded by the Sandifer family, the Gospel Stars sing both traditional and contemporary gospel.
Culu Children's African Dance Company 12:25 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, African Under the leadership of artistic director Mariama Curry, this local, 60-member ensemble of children ranging in ages from 6 to 18 is devoted to showcasing African folklore in performances and outreach programs of dance and music.
Danza Quartet featuring Evan Christopher and Tom McDermott 12:25 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Latin/Traditional Jazz Pianist Tom McDermott and clarinetist Evan Christopher are among the best at their respective instruments, and do an amazing job of connecting the dots of traditional jazz, ragtime and the Brazilian form of music known as choro. The Danza Quartet works off the material from McDermott's 2002 release Danza. A must-see at the Economy Hall Tent.
Leroy Jones 12:25 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz Trumpeter Leroy Jones was a student of Danny Barker's and played in Barker's Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band when he was a teenager. The St. Augustine High School graduate went on to play with Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson, Della Reese and Harry Connick Jr. His straightforward swing and unadorned attention to the melody give Jones a persuasive instrumental voice to front his band with.
Waso, Belgian Gypsy Jazz 12:25 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Traditional Jazz This gypsy swing quartet with strong influences of Django Reinhardt has been a cult favorite at past Jazz Fests since its first appearance in 1997. The group's repertoire of European folklore typically includes Hungarian music, flamenco, valse mussette, Romany songs and tangos, and is interpreted on guitar, piano, bass, sax, clarinet and flute.
The Attributes Band 12:30 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, R&B This New Orleans band's set features R&B in all its modern variations, with enough electronics to keep things sounding new, but enough human feel to keep it real.
Irie Dawtas 12:30 p.m., Sprint Stage, Reggae Feel irie with Irie Dawtas' reggae that has elements of jazz, funk, R&B and hip-hop. Their fiery live show is augmented by tight choreography.
New Zion Trio Plus One 12:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This New Orleans gospel institution sings a powerful, passionate blend of traditional and contemporary gospel.
Coco Robicheaux & Spiritland 12:35 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Coco Robicheaux sounds like New Orleans. His raspy voice, hoodoo-inspired lyrics, and full moon spooky sound even cast a spell during the daylight hours. He always has a great band including virtuoso pedal steel player Dave Easley.
Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe 12:45 p.m., Acura Stage, Funk/Jazz Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe is renowned for putting on some of the best shows at the Fair Grounds. Trumpeter and leader Michael Ray has played with both Kool & the Gang and the Sun Ra Arkestra, so he can shake your booty to the ground and free your mind to the magic of the universe. The Cosmic Krewe can stop on a dime and switch directions as the members follow Ray's lead.
Golden Wings 1:15 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This New Orleans gospel ensemble has been praising the Lord for more than 40 years, singing traditional gospel.
Patrick DeSanto 1:35 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz This contemporary jazz vocalist originally from Cape Verde, Fla., now resides in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Hall's Society Brass Band 1:40 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Brass Band British-born Andrew Hall has been doing his bit to keep traditional New Orleans brass band jazz intact since 1967, when he formed his group in homage to the traditional society brass bands. Hall is an unabashed promoter of 'the good old days,' concentrating on material dating back to the first 20 years of the 20th century.
BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet 1:40 p.m., Sprint Stage, Cajun One of the most popular (and one of the best) Cajun bands on the circuit, BeauSoleil features fiddler Michael Doucet and his flat-picking brother, David Doucet (who also brings his acoustic guitar to various venues around New Orleans). It's been a five-year drought since the band's last album of new material, but live festival shows never fail to get the dust or mud flying off of dancers' shoes. BeauSoleil's arsenal is nothing but secret weapons -- besides the brothers Doucet, the band features accordionist Jimmy Breaux, drummer Tommy Alesi, percussionist Billy Ware, and everything-player Al Tharp.
Marce Lacouture 1:40 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun Lacouture's musical roots are in the storied singer-songwriter scene of Austin, Texas (including a duo with Butch Hancock), but she branched out to Louisiana, where she has made it part of her life's work to study and popularize the Creole and Cajun female ballad tradition. She'll be performing some of those ballads later today at a 5 p.m. set at the Music Heritage Stage. Expect a varied set of roots-soaked Cajun music here, highlighted by Lacouture's stunning vocals.
Pride of Zulu 1:40 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, South African The most traditional of the artists representing South Africa at Jazz Fest, this Zulu folklore group will demonstrate through dances and songs the visual and oral methods that have been used through the centuries to recount Zulu history. One such form of very quickly spoken oral history, called speed poetry, is obviously one traditional influence behind the characteristically frantic and wordy lyrical deliveries of many styles of South African township music.
Have Soul Will Travel 1:45 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Contemporary Jazz/R&B The musicians in this quintet have been paying their dues for years in clubs all over New Orleans. They take their cue from the soul jazz of the late 1960s and early 1970s that artists such as Lou Donaldson, Grant Green, and Dr. Lonnie Smith popularized.
Kenny Neal 1:50 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Kenny Neal comes from a family of musicians in Baton Rouge. Several of his brothers and sisters play, and his father Raful is one of the blues patriarchs of Red Stick. Kenny's stinging guitar and passionate singing never fail to move the crowd, and if we're lucky, he'll bring out his sister to sing Erykah Badu's 'Tyrone.'
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 2 p.m., Native American Village, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Washington are one of the top powwow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has more than 20 albums and is constantly adding new material. Though the drum patterns show little variation from song to song, the singing reflects the gaiety and passion of the round dance.
Providence Tones of Joy 2 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This nine-member gospel ensemble from LaPlace has been singing the gospel for more than 25 years.
Wayne Toups & the Zydecajuns 2 p.m., Acura Stage, Cajun Purists might snicker at what can sometimes feel like a calculated attempt to please fans of both Cajun and zydeco music, but the fact remains that accordionist Wayne Toups is an extremely popular musician on the party circuit. His fusing of the two related south Louisiana genres actually is overshadowed by what can be his own version of swamp rock. Toups never lacks for energy, and will do what he can to whip up a crowd.
Euricka 2:45 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, R&B This rising R&B star is quickly developing a name for herself through strong vocals, a sexy style and a unique approach to the genre, with touches of hip-hop, soul and pop.
Voices of Distinction 2:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This offshoot of the New Orleans Spiritualettes led by Audrey Ferguson sings traditional gospel.
Michael Ward 2:50 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz Violinist Michael Ward's approach to contemporary jazz comes with funk and R&B influences. This style and explosive live performances are his trademarks, though recent studio releases find him moving toward smooth jazz.
God's Followers 3 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, South African This nine-member South African a cappella choral group is sure to be a hit at this year's JF with its deep-voiced, gospel-influenced township singing style called isicathamiya or mbube. From the same Ladysmith region of South Africa as the more internationally known mbube group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, God's Followers are equally skilled in the punctuating hand claps, foot-stomps and choreographed dancing that represent the more traditional influences behind this forceful South African township performance style.
Goldman Thibodeaux & the Lawtell Playboys 3:05 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco Before innovators such as Clifton Chenier forged the sound now known as zydeco, musicians performed French Creole dance tunes in dance halls, barrooms and house dances across southwest Louisiana and east Texas. A predominance of French vocals -- plus the blending of accordion and a bluesy Creole fiddle -- is the hallmark of old-style Creole. The fine Goldman Thibodeaux & the Lawtell Playboys now provide one of the few chances to hear this wonderful music today.
Joss Stone 3:05 p.m., Sprint Stage, R&B For now, the Count will chalk up the bombastic approach that the 16-year-old Brit soul phenom applies to her debut smash, Soul Session, to youthful exuberance. The album, produced by the 'Clean Up Woman' herself, Betty Wright, shows a young artist savvy enough to avoid taking on the classics and going for lesser-known fare. The fans are eating it up, making Stone's booking one of the hippest of this year's Fest. It will be interesting to see how such a producer-rich album will translate to a live crowd.
Pamyua 3:05 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Native American Pamyua (pronounced BUM-yo-ah) is a Native American quartet from Southwestern Alaska that reinterprets modern traditions of the Inuit and Yup'ik Eskimo through storytelling, music and dance. Their blend of ancient and original music redefines the boundaries of Inuit expression by mixing R&B, jazz, funk, world music and traditional music to create a unique new native style. Caught in the Act, Pamyua's third album, was recorded live at the Fourth Avenue Theatre in Anchorage and was named Record of the Year at the 2003 Native American Music Awards.
Walter Payton & the Snapbean Band 3:05 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Bassist Walter Payton played on jazz, R&B and rock sessions as a sideman for many years before putting together his Snapbean band a little more than a decade ago. Album credits include the last three albums made by Champion Jack Dupree and Kermit Ruffins' solo debut. As a leader, Payton plays a range of jazz and R&B tunes imbued with his affable sensibility. Don't be surprised if his son Nicholas drops by to jam.
St. Joseph the Worker Mass Choir 3:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This Marrero Catholic ensemble brings a gospel enthusiasm to the old hymns.
Allen Toussaint 3:35 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B Allen Toussaint is truly in a class by himself, mainly because he is such a class act; he is as dapper and gentlemanly as he has been influential on American music. Producer, arranger, songwriter and pianist, Toussaint has shifted with the times over his six-decade career without losing his foundation in rhythm and blues. He was behind the control board for almost every New Orleans R&B artist of note, helped out national acts such as the Band and Paul McCartney, wrote Glen Campbell's country smash 'Southern Nights' and had Bonnie Raitt record 'What Is Success' for her 1974 masterpiece, Streetlights.
Charmaine Neville Band with Reggie Houston and Amasa Miller 4:05 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Contemporary Jazz With star-power and a voice that regularly packs the Snug Harbor jazz nightclub, Charmaine is a legend in a legendary family. The popular local vocalist and daughter of Charles of the Neville Brothers will perform a set that includes an imitation of Louis Armstrong, plus backing from longtime collaborators Reggie Houston and Amasa Miller.
Odetta 4:05 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues/Folk She was as forgotten in the 1970s as she was cherished in the '60s -- such is life in the revolving door of American popular culture. But sometimes the cream rises to the top, and after all these years Odetta has earned her place in the American roots music landscape. She has inspired an entire generation of female singers, from Lucinda Williams to Jewel, and still tours the world presenting her folk and blues repertoire. Though not as famous, she ranks right up there with other '60s voices of hope and protest such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. (Featured in this issue.)
John Boutté 4:10 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, R&B John Boutte's unforgettable voice and delicate, emotionally charged phrasing evokes an other-worldly presence that recalls Little Jimmy Scott. He has frequently appeared with his sister Lillian Boutté, but perhaps his greatest work was as the lead voice on the Cubanismo project that brought together musicians from Havana and New Orleans. Look for him to cover material from his most recent album, At the Foot of Canal Street.
007 4:25 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Rock Steady Every musician in the group hails from other bands of note or holds down his own solo projects: Drummer Jeffrey Clemens of G. Love and Special Sauce, guitarist (and Tin Men cohort) Alex McMurray, guitarist Jonathan Freilich (Naked on the Floor) and bassist Joe Cabral (Iguanas). Together, they pay their own, sometimes tongue-in-cheek tribute to the rock-steady rhythms of '60s-era Jamaican pop soul. (Reviewed in this issue.)
The Brown Sisters 4:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel The Brown Sisters are acclaimed for their harmonies, which they've developed singing traditional gospel for more than 30 years.
The Iguanas 4:30 p.m., Sprint Stage, Tex-Mex/R&B For four years, the Iguanas bopped along, politely smiling at comparisons to Los Lobos and dutifully playing gigs at places like Mid City Lanes to appreciative crowds. Then came last year's amazing Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart (Yep Roc), which made almost every local music writer's top-10 list. While the album certainly mines some of the same Tex-Mex R&B made famous by Los Lobos, Plastic has an energy all its own. Check out 'Machete y Maiz' or 'Un Avion,' and listen to the rich vocals of Rod Hodges and Joe Cabral over the rhythm section of Rene Coman and drummer Doug Garrison with Derek Huston's sax phrasings. The title track was co-produced by Dave Alvin of the Blasters' fame.
Tim Laughlin 4:30 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Laughlin's latest CD, The Isle of Orleans, is an album of the clarinetist's original tunes written in traditional New Orleans jazz style. Laughlin, a protege of Pete Fountain and a former member of the Dukes of Dixieland, handles the style with a deft, lyrical touch, fronting a band that includes such stalwarts as drummer Bunchie Johnson, guitarist John Eubanks, pianist Peter Martin and bassist Bill Huntington. Highlights include 'Dumaine Street Breakdown,' 'The Gentilly Strut' and 'Monkey Hill.'
Vin Bruce 4:30 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun A guitarist since he was 10 years old, Cut Off native Vin Bruce led the pack of Cajun musicians -- including Jimmy C. Newman and Doug Kershaw -- who journeyed to Nashville in the 1950s to record tradition-inspired tunes. (Bruce even performed at Hank Williams' wedding.) Back in Louisiana, Bruce stays active, winning such accolades as 'Lafourche Parish Citizen of the Year' and bringing his Jim Reeves-style vocals to albums on a variety of local labels.
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 5:15 p.m., Native American Village Stage, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Washington are one of the top pow-wow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has more than 20 albums and is constantly adding new material. Though the drum patterns show little variation from song to song, the singing reflects the gaiety and passion of the round dance.
Steve Miller Band with John Handy 5:25 p.m., Acura Stage, Rock By far the most curious Jazz Fest booking this year, Steve Miller nevertheless deserves his due. He's more known for a string of '70s classic-rock radio staples -- 'The Joker,' 'Fly Like an Eagle' and 'Book of Dreams' -- that have aged as well as milk, yet they retain their own curious charm. But Miller has a blues streak in him a mile long, and few acknowledge the fact that Charles Mingus, Les Paul and T-Bone Walker all jammed in the living room of his parents' Dallas home when he was a kid. So check out Born 2B Blue or Living in the 20th Century before you poke fun at the space cowboy who speaks on the pompatus of love. (Jazz Fest trivia: Steve Miller attended high school and college with William Royce 'Boz' Scaggs.).
Christian McBride Band 5:40 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz Philadelphian Christian McBride is a prodigy on both acoustic and electric bass, an accomplished sideman and leader who's worked with a wide variety of musicians in various styles -- Bobby Watson, the Roots, Sting, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Kathleen Battle, D'Angelo, Diana Krall, Bruce Hornsby, Quincy Jones, John Hicks, Kenny Barron, Larry Willis, Gary Bartz, Roy Hargrove, Freddie Hubbard and Ray Brown among others. McBride's latest album, 2003's Vertical Vision, features a terrific version of Joe Zawinul's 'Boogie Woogie Waltz.'
Bongo Maffin 5:45 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, South African Leading the pack in a post-apartheid, urban dance hall scene called kwaito (meaning hot or dangerous), this three-member South African group can move from the hardest rap to the sweetest R&B. With vocal stylings influenced by township choral singing (isicathamiya) and jazzy mbaqanga rhythms, the group explores the familiar dance hall territory of rap, ragga and house in a completely unique way. Their fourth album, another hit in South Africa, has just been released for international distribution.
McDonogh #35 Gospel Choir 5:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel McDonogh #35 is one of the city's finest high school choirs.
Otra 5:45 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Latin Otra is another fine example of bands helping propel the boom of Latin music in New Orleans, though this sextet distinguishes itself with groove-friendly doses of African and jazz elements. With members hailing from everywhere from Slidell to Cuba, Otra maintains a vibrant, youthful energy, yet its players are veterans of the local scene in styles from blues to straight-ahead jazz.
Tab Benoit 5:45 p.m., Popeyes Blues Stage, Blues Tab Benoit isn't just Louisiana's most popular blues musician; the Houma native is also concerned about coastal erosion in Louisiana, and has hosted annual Christmas-time benefits to raise awareness about this dire situation. He made what might be considered his most 'New Orleans' album last summer by trying to recapture the magic of a venerable studio with Sea Saint Sessions (Telarc), with guest turns by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Cyril Neville and George Porter Jr. and nods to Guitar Slim and Howlin' Wolf. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Dexter Ardoin & the Creole Ramblers 5:55 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco The son of Morris Ardoin and the son of the legendary Creole accordionist Bois-Sec Ardoin, Dexter released What You Come to Do last year on Louisiana Radio Records, joining the distinguished ranks of musical Ardoins. He's a tradition-minded accordionist who performs both modern zydeco and older Creole songs associated with Bois-Sec and the late Canray Fontenot.
Jewel Brown & the Heritage Hall Jazz Band 5:55 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz The Heritage Hall Jazz Band overlaps with the more famous traditional New Orleans jazz outfit the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Bandleader Freddie Kohlman on drums is joined by trombonist Freddie Lonzo, Manuel Crusto on clarinet and Walter Payton on bass. Jewel Brown is the featured vocalist. Look for the band to play tunes like 'Chinatown My Chinatown,' 'Black and Blue,' 'Bourbon Street Parade' and 'Tiger Rag.'
subdudes 6 p.m., Sprint Stage, Rock The Count has a message for those couch potatoes who couldn't get up and catch the occasional subdudes reunion gigs: They've been kind enough to go into the studio and make their first album in eight years, Miracle Mule. Thank whatever deity for small favors; Miracle Mule shows the timeless musicianship and passion for roots music of this band, which features three of its four original members. There's such a snappy funk to these guys that they can create their own little musical breeze out at the Fair Grounds. (Featured and reviewed in this issue.)
Friday, April 30
2 p.m., Double Nine High Steppers and Single Men's Kids SAPCs with New Orleans NightCrawlers Brass Band
4 p.m., New Generation and Young Men 2 Old Men Legends SAPCs with Coolbone Brass Band
Albert 'June' Gardner & the Fellows 11:15 a.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz/R&B Gardner, yet another great New Orleans drummer, has played jazz and R&B with Dave Bartholomew, Roy Brown, Lionel Hampton and Sam Cooke, among others.
Belton Richard & the Musical Aces 11:15 a.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun When Belton Richard ended his early retirement in the mid-90s, Cajun music regained one of its great innovators. A native of Rayne, Richard's smooth, George Jones-style vocals made him a dancehall favorite, and his 'Un autre soir ennuyent' is one of the finest Cajun tearjerkers ever recorded. Richard blends Cajun, country and swamp pop like no other, and the title of his 2003 CD, The Older the Wine, the Finer the Taste! indicates he's back to stay. After this set, he heads over to the Music Heritage Stage for a 1 p.m. interview.
Dillard University Jazz Ensemble 11:15 a.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Contemporary Jazz A Jazz Fest tradition with annual performances since 1976, this student ensemble plays contemporary jazz for audiences around the world.
Rhino Acoustic Project 11:15 a.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz NOCCA music teacher Michael Rhiner leads this acoustic modern jazz combo.
Southern Wonders 11:15 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel The Southern Wonders -- four singers, four musicians -- started about 35 years ago in Denham Springs. They sing straight-up, hard gospel, favorites like 'Oh, I Want to See Jesus' -- their favorite number -- and the slower ''Til We Meet Again.' Lead singer Mickey Morris can sing high, as can their top singer J.B. Williams.
Stephen Foster's Mid-City Jazz Studies Ensemble 11:20 a.m., Lagniappe Stage, Contemporary Jazz Formed a decade ago by Foster and his wife, Joycelyn, the Mid-City Jazz Studies Ensemble puts an emphasis on the word 'studies,' spending plenty of time in the woodshed learning the context of modern jazz. The group works out of the Mid-City Music, Dance, Drama, Arts & Crafts Workshop.
Water Seed 11:20 a.m., Sprint Stage, Funk There's an unmistakable groove of pure New Orleans funk running through the neo-soul style of Water Seed, a touch found in performances with artists such as Ernie K-Doe and Salt-n-Pepa and on Knowledge and Growth, their latest album.
Los Sagitarios 11:25 a.m., Acura Stage, Latin A darling of the New Orleans dance scene, this Latin group choreographs their set to a mix of salsa, punta and merengue styles.
Rockin' Jake Blues Band 11:25 a.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Rockin Jake is an ace harmonica player; he can solo like Little Walter and cry like Sonny Boy Williamson. His songs have graced several TV shows and become the themes to programs on local radio station WWOZ. He is also a barbecue cook and hot sauce chef without peer.
Tri-Parish Community Singers Noon, Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel The Tri-Parish Community Singers bring to the stage 15 singers and five musicians from St. John's, St. Charles and St. James parishes. Since 1996, the Singers have been based at various churches in La Place and are directed by bassist Larry Joseph, Jr., who says that he's got two 'awesome' lead singers: altos Annisa Colly and Ola Mae Dunn. 'Annisa is more smooth; Ola Mae is just down-home Baptist,' says Joseph.
Frederick Sanders & Soul Trinity 12:20 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz Fred Sanders' piano resume runs from cocktail piano in hotel lounges to gutbucket traditional jazz with Bob French at Donna's on Monday nights. When he gets together with his main group, Fred Sanders and Soul Trinity, he plays positive, gospel-infused jazz. Sanders' piano stylings has touches of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and McCoy Tyner. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective 12:20 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Kumbuka Since 1981, this troupe has remained dedicated to preserving and enjoying traditional African dance and drumming, sharing the culture with New Orleans youth through an extensive outreach program (and performance schedule). Kumbuka is under the direction of the talented and highly respected Ausettua Amor Amenkum, a teacher of hip-hop dance at Tulane University and vocalist/dancer for the space jazz of Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe.
Betsy McGovern & the Poor Clares 12:25 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Folk Vocalist McGovern's career began 20 years ago in a New Orleans church. She has since taken her blues-infused style of traditional Irish folk music to festivals across the country and local clubs (where she earned the praise of Paul McCartney in the summer of 2002). Revival of the Heart, a solo album, features longtime Poor Clares partner Justin Murphy plus several other top local players such as Michael Skinkus and Theresa Andersson.
Brian Stolz & Greazzy Azz Chicken 12:25 p.m., Sprint Stage, Funk/Rock Guitarist Brian Stoltz is rock solid, which is the reason that his resume boasts stints with Dr. John, the Neville Brothers and Bob Dylan as well as his current role as the six-string slinger for the funky Meters. His most recent CD, East of Rampart Street, mixes New Orleans funk with more straight-ahead rock 'n' roll. His Jazz Fest band, Greazzy Azz Chicken, features keyboardist John Gros, vocal siren Irene Sage and accomplished bassist Rob Wasserman.
Chris Clifton & His All-Stars 12:25 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Clifton was a longtime friend of Louis Armstrong, and he played with Lil Hardin-Armstrong in the late 1950s. Today, he plays traditional New Orleans jazz, following in Armstrong's tradition.
Kim Carson & the Casualties 12:30 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Country A former country DJ, Carson sings honky-tonk pure and simple, with a little Loretta Lynn in her voice. She has recorded in New Orleans and Nashville, and her new album, Live at Tipitina's, shows her equally at home with original and country classics by Willie Nelson and Ernest Tubbs. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Owana Salazar 12:35 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Hawaiian This is Hawaiian Music 101 for those who are still confused about the difference between Hawaiian steel guitar and wahine slack key. Attendance at the performance by this virtuoso jazz instrumentalist and recording artist is required; your Jazz Fest grade depends on it. Extra credit will be given to those who identify traditional from contemporary Hawaiian influences in Salazar's music. (Featured in this issue.)
David Rhodes & Assurance 12:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Rhodes is the lead vocalist and only male voice in this family group from Thibodaux.
Sista Teedy & Umani 12:55 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B While vocalist Tricia Boutté (aka Sista Teedy) found a larger and different audience during her recent tour with Galactic, she remains a local club favorite, playing often with a diverse range of artists and powerfully capable of singing R&B, jazz, reggae and gospel.
Wilson 'Willie Tee' Turbington 1:25 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, R&B Willie Tee has been making great music in New Orleans for more than 40 years, whether singing about the guy who is just 'Teasin' You' or proclaiming the joys of 'Cold Bears' with his '70s funk band the Gaturs. Willie Tee has veered in a smoother direction as of late, but he's still full of soul.
God's Followers 1:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, South African This nine-member South African a cappella choral group is sure to be a hit at this year's Jazz Fest with its deep-voiced, gospel-influenced township singing style called isicathamiya or mbube. From the same Ladysmith region of South Africa as the more internationally known mbube group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, God's Followers are equally skilled in the punctuating hand claps, foot stomps and choreographed dancing that represent the more traditional influences behind this forceful South African township performance style.
Pamyua 1:35 p.m., Sprint Stage, Native American Pamyua (pronounced BUM-yo-ah) is a Native American quartet from Southwestern Alaska that reinterprets modern traditions of the Inuit and Yup'ik Eskimo through storytelling, music and dance. Their blend of ancient and original music redefines the boundaries of Inuit expression by mixing R&B, jazz, funk world music and traditional music to create a unique, new native style. Caught in the Act, Pamyua's third album, was recorded live at the Fourth Avenue Theatre in Anchorage and was named Record of the Year at the 2003 Native American Music Awards.
Tondrae 1:35 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, R&B Rapper-turned-R&B singer Tondrae has taken his music all around the South and the United Kingdom, too. He made his reputation after last year's Jazz Fest and a great show at the Contemporary Arts Center's Sweet Arts Ball. He's engaging in intimate settings such as the Lagniappe Stage.
Zion Trinity 1:35 p.m., South African Freedom & Congo Square Stage, Gospel/R&B This Big Easy Entertainment Award-nominated a cappella trio sings songs from across time and cultures, covering everything from spirituals and blues to reggae.
The Original Last Straws 1:45 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz The Last Straws have been playing New Orleans-style jazz together ever since their first gig in 1957 at Bruno's College Inn on Maple Street. They're led by 72-year-old bassist Bob Ice and assistant leader, 72-year-old drummer Bob McIntyre, and most of the rest of the band members are also in their 70s, except for two 50-ish 'kids,' the trombonist and the banjoist, who replaced deceased members.
Jambalaya Cajun Band 1:50 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-So Stage, Cajun Propelled by considerable instrumental prowess across its lineup, this ever-popular Cajun band performs Louisiana French tunes the way they should be played. Terry Huval speaks and sings Cajun French, and blends his fiddle expertly with Pointe Noire accordionist Reggie Matte on a set of classic Cajun tunes and classic-sounding originals.
Bryan Lee & the Blues Power Band 1:55 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Lee is a blind virtuoso blues guitarist and a powerful vocalist who's flourished during several stints in French Quarter nightclubs over the past two decades, most notably his years at the Olde Absinthe Bar on Bourbon Street. Lee delivers an urban blues style that is loud, fast and raw-edged. He will bring the Blues Tent to a fever pitch. His protege, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, likes to sit in when he's in the neighborhood.
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 2 p.m., Native American Village Stage, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Washington are one of the top pow-wow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has more than 20 albums and is constantly adding new material. Though the drum patterns show little variation from song to song, the singing reflects the gaiety and passion of the round dance.
Lyle Henderson & Emmanuel 2:10 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This local gospel mainstay has brought a gospel presence to performances by some of New Orleans' leading R&B performers; they sing both traditional and contemporary gospel.
Luther Kent & Trickbag 2:25 p.m., Acura Stage, Blues Luther Kent has a voice that was born to sing the blues. He's performed around New Orleans for 30 years and his forceful personality and tight band bring his horn-flavored music a mix of power and finesse. If the audience is lucky, he'll do his versions of New Orleans classics 'Sick and Tired and 'Trick Bag.'
James Rivers Movement 2:35 p.m., BellSouth. WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz/R&B Saxophonist James Rivers doubles on a most unusual instrument, bagpipes. He is adept at traditional jazz, swing, blues and R&B. Director Clint Eastwood asked Rivers to contribute to the soundtracks for the films Bird and Bridges of Madison County. Look for the James Rivers Movement to concentrate on tunes from his Songs People Love to Hear album, recorded with pianist Peter Cho, drummer Eddie DeJean, bassist Michael Batiste and guitarist Bob Perkin.
Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes 2:45 p.m., Sprint Stage, Rock/Funk The nucleus of this Big Easy Entertainment Award-nominated, rowdy rock/funk New Orleans band met at Loyola University and released its first, self-titled album last year to good reviews.
Pride of Zulu 2:50 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square, Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, South Africa The most traditional of the artists representing South Africa at Jazz Fest, this Zulu folklore group will demonstrate through dances and songs the visual and oral methods that have been used through the centuries to recount Zulu history. One such form of very quickly spoken oral history, called speed poetry, is obviously one traditional influence behind the characteristically frantic and wordy lyrical deliveries of many styles of South African township music.
Tony Green's Gypsy Jazz 2:50 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Traditional Jazz Tony Green does the style of jazz that was popular in the smoky bars and cafes of Paris in the 1920s. His guitar playing owes much to Django Reinhardt, and that's a good thing. His shows are always full of good cheer.
Wimberly Family 2:55 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This seven-member family group has been singing traditional gospel in New Orleans and around the country since 1975, incorporating contemporary gospel sounds into its solid traditional gospel background.
Dukes of Dixieland 3 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz The Dukes have honed their chops on many of the riverboats that sail up and down the Mississippi River, so they know what moves the crowd. Their brand of New Orleans jazz and dance stomps harkens back to the 1920s when jazz was 'hot.'
God's Followers 3:05 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, South African This nine-member South African a cappella choral group is sure to be a hit at this year's Jazz Fest with its deep-voiced, gospel-influenced township singing style called isicathamiya or mbube. From the same Ladysmith region of South Africa as the more internationally known mbube group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, God's Followers are equally skilled in the punctuating hand claps, foot-stomps and choreographed dancing that represent the more traditional influences behind this forceful South African township performance style.
Sean Ardoin -n- Zydekool 3:15 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-So Stage, Zydeco Although he started performing at age 5, Sean Ardoin first came to the attention of Jazz Fest audiences as half the leadership of the band Double Clutchin', singing and chatting up the crowds from behind the drums, while his brother Chris played accordion and shared vocals. Now leading his own band, Sean is a dynamic performer and a lead proponent of contemporary, double-kicking zydeco, logging appearances on BET along with tours and dances back near his Lake Charles homeland.
Coolie Family Gospel Singers 3:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Eloise Coolie leads this Slidell-based group that used a full band including R&B horns on its 1999 CD, Try Jesus.
Frankie Ford 3:55 p.m., Acura Stage, Rock/R&B Frankie Ford has been a New Orleans institution dating back to his 1950s recordings for Ace Records: 'Cheatin' Woman,' the epochal 'Sea Cruise,' 'Roberta,' 'Alimony,' 'Time After Time,' 'I Want to Be Your Man,' 'Danny Boy' and 'What's Going On.' His latest CD, That Can Be Used Again! includes duets with Troy Shondell, Grace Broussard (of Dale & Grace fame), Mason McClain, Eddie Mahne Jr., Nancy Hebert, Travis Hatcher and Curtis Hebert.
Bongo Maffin 4 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, South African Leading the pack in a post-apartheid, urban dance hall scene called kwaito (meaning hot or dangerous), this three-member South African group can move from the hardest rap to the sweetest R&B. With vocal stylings influenced by township choral singing (isicathamiya) and jazzy mbaqanga rhythms, the group explores the familiar dance hall territory of rap, ragga and house in a completely unique way. Their fourth album, another hit in South Africa, has just been released for international distribution.
Benjy Davis Project 4:05 p.m., Sprint Stage, Rock/Funk This Baton Rouge-based group has quickly found an appreciative following among the young groover set. With heavy touring and lively 2003 Jazz Fest debut, the buzz continues about the Benjy Davis Project's acoustic, organic soul.
The Spirit Music Sextet featuring MeShell Ndegeocello, Ron Blake, Michael Caine, Chris Dave, Peck Allmond and DJ Jahi Sundance 4:10 p.m., BellSouth. WWOZ Jazz Tent, Rock Bassist MeShell Ndegeocello is not just another neo-soul singer in a world filled with them; she's a ton more adventurous, going off into moments of dub and rock that brings a refreshing urgency to her retro referencing. She underscores this vibe on her most recent release, last year's Comfort Woman. You don't need to spy a Top 40 hit to appreciate MeShell as an artist; she's the real deal, as evidenced from previous appearances including a great set at the Essence Music Festival. This promises to be a special jam session.
Executive Steel Band 4:20 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Carribean This local band pounds out its Caribbean calypso on 55-gallon oil barrels built and tuned by Ellie Manette. The band honors its Louisiana connection by also playing a mix of jazz and zydeco.
Ronnie Kole 4:20 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Ronnie Kole has been knocking them dead for years here in New Orleans with his brand of New Orleans jazz. He's played for presidents, for Mardi Gras balls, and in countries all over the world. His piano proficiency impressed the late Al Hirt so much that Hirt put Kole in his band for several years.
Susan Tedeschi 4:20 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues We've moved past the point of even discussing the challenge Susan Tedeschi faces being a white woman playing blues guitar licks. After all, she received her third Grammy nomination this past February for her most recent release, Wait for Me (Tone Cool/Artemis), for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Here's hoping her equally talented guitarslinger husband, Derek Trucks, sneaks onstage for a duet.
New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars 4:40 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Klezmer The New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars just might put on the wildest show you will see at the Fair Grounds. When they start blowing the eastern European melodies and the audience starts dancing in grand circles, total musical ecstatic frenzies break out. These guys are heroes to most music fans in town, easily filling up the tiny Dragon's Den for a guaranteed sweat-fest.
Pamyua 4:40 p.m., Native American Village Stage, Native American Pamyua (pronounced BUM-yo-ah) is a Native American quartet from Southwestern Alaska that reinterprets modern traditions of the Inuit and Yup'ik Eskimo through storytelling, music and dance. Their blend of ancient and original music redefines the boundaries of Inuit expression by mixing R&B, jazz, funk, world music and traditional music to create a unique, new native style. Caught in the Act, Pamyua's third album, was recorded live at the Fourth Avenue Theatre in Anchorage and was named Record of the Year at the 2003 Native American Music Awards.
Barrett Sisters 4:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This Chicago trio is one of the most acclaimed female vocal ensembles in the world. Mahalia Jackson once said sister Delois Barrett Campbell's voice 'opens up like a rose.'
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 5:20 p.m., Native American Village Stage, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Washington are one of the top pow-wow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has over 20 albums and is constantly adding new material. Though the drum patterns show little variation from song to song, the singing reflects the gaiety and passion of the round dance.
Harry Connick Jr. 5:30 p.m., Acura Stage, Contemporary Jazz Please don't misunderstand the Count; I love Harry Connick Jr., who too often is dismissed as a Sinatra knock-off and not respected for either his vocal or piano chops. He's an utter doll and is capable of nice comedic acting on Will & Grace. That said, what's up with this past February's Only You? Every song feels so melancholic you're not sure if Harry's in the kind of funk that is foreign to New Orleanians. Still, Connick is a treasure, and his returns home for the Fest are always appreciated. Swing, baby, swing.
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe 5:45 p.m., Sprint Stage, Funk/Jazz Just how tiny is Karl Denson's Tiny Universe anymore? The former saxophonist for Lenny Kravitz has fronted his own band for six years now, dutifully drawing in the noodle-dancers with countless late-night sets during Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, whatever, but has become too big for the clubs and is now a festival favorite. The Maceo Parker influences are obvious, for Denson is all about the funk, but also dips into elements of jazz to spice things up a bit.
Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony 5:45 p.m., Economy Hall Tent,Jazz Chapman is one of the great unsung vocalists of New Orleans, but Garrison Keillor appreciated her talents when he booked her for his 2002 taping of A Prairie Home Companion at the Saenger Theatre. Chapman lives at the place where jazz and gospel meets. She can take you straight to church one moment, and then to a Storyville-era band stand the next.
Chévere 5:50 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Latin Chevere is led by hard working pianist David 'Duke' Ellington, 'The King of Swing.' Chevere's take on Latin music is full of percussion and energy. This band is fast becoming a Jazz Fest favorite.
Cyril Neville & the Uptown All-Stars 20-Year Anniversary 5:50 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, R&B Has it been 20 years already? It seems like just yesterday we were staying up too late, getting too drunk and listening to Neville and the All-Stars blow the roof off the late, lamented Benny's Bar on Valence Street. Neville has a passionate voice that he can barely contain, and his backing band (with secret weapons Mean Willie Green on drums and Nick Daniels on bass) is one of the best in town.
Nicholas Payton's New Quintet 5:50 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary R&B When Nicholas Payton plugged in on his latest album, Sonic Trance, the savvy trumpeter followed such masters as Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in his musical transformation. Check one of the city's best bands -- saxophonist Tim Warfield, drummer Adonis Rose, bassist Vicente Archer and Daniel Sadownick on congas -- lay down the crackling smooth electro-groove on potential classics like 'Shabba Unranked,' 'Cannabis Leaf Rag,' 'Fela 1&2' and 'Stinkie Twinkie.'
C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band 6 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco The son of zydeco king Clifton Chenier, C.J. started as a sax man for his father's band, eventually taking over the reigns and forging a sound drenched in blues, funk and old-school R&B. A powerful piano-key accordion player and soulful vocalist, Chenier always pays tribute to his roots by including Clifton Chenier classics in his sets, playing them like no one else can.
Deacon John 6 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues/R&B/Swing Last year, the genius of Deacon John finally received its due. The legendary New Orleans musician released the DVD Deacon John's Jump Blues, from the exquisite concert held at the Orpheum Theatre and including appearances by Allen Toussaint and Dr. John. Then ABC's Primetime Monday profiled the dapper Deacon. (James Carville gushed, 'Deacon's music makes you want to grab a cold beer and a hot woman.') This year's Big Easy Entertainment Awards' Entertainer of the Year swings like nobody else, so this year's Jazz Fest set should be particularly special. By the way: nice tie collection!
Xavier University Gospel Choir 6 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This choir of university students sings a combination of traditional and contemporary gospel.
SATURDAY, MAY 1
12 p.m., Dumaine Street Gang, Dumaine Street Ladies and Original Big Seven SAPCs with Pinette Brass Band
12:25 p.m., in Economy Hall: Algiers Steppers Social Aid & Pleasure Club
1 p.m., Bayou Renegade II, Black Eagles and White Eagles Mardi Gras Indians
2 p.m., Pigeon Town Steppers, N'Krumah Better Boys, No Limit Steppers SAPCs with Storyville Stompers Brass Band
3 p.m., Hard Headhunters, Black Feathers and Cherokee Hunters Mardi Gras Indians
4 p.m., Second Line Jammers, Original Four and Happy House SAPCs with Tornado Brass Band
Gloria Lewis & the Inspirational Gospel Singers 11 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Lewis' Kenner-based ensemble has sung at Jazz Fest since 1985. The group has two albums, 1988's Jesus, I Love What You're Doing for Me, and 1992's At the River.
Golden Star Hunters Mardi Gras Indians 11:05 a.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Mardi Gras Indian From Uptown's Gert Town neighborhood comes Big Chief Larry Bannock, an old-style Indian who for more than three decades has sewn his own suit with an almost fanatical attention to detail. He turns up his nose at acrylic beads -- 'If you want to show some glass, wear some glass,' he often says. His approach seems to work -- one of his claims to fame is being the first Mardi Gras Indian seen in GQ magazine.
Leviticus Gospel Singers 11:10 a.m., Acura Stage, Gospel These Gospel Tent regulars hit the big stage this year. Led by Betty McKinnis, Leviticus favors traditional gospel.
Sonny Bourg & the Bayou Blues Band 11:10 a.m., Sprint Stage, Swamp Pop/Rock 'n' Roll Sonny Bourg has staked his name and reputation on being one of the best roots-dance bands in Lafayette. When he lays into Fats Domino hits like 'Hello Josephine,' or swamp pop classics like 'Lindy Lou,' he can make it feel like the 1950s and 1960s all over again.
Karin Williams 11:15 a.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz The Jamaica-born Williams bounced around the United States before eventually settling in New Orleans, where she grew under the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis in the jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans. She has shared the stage with everyone from The Wailers to Shabba Ranks; her sold-out concert in Brazil helped inspire a Latin element in her mix of jazz, reggae and R&B.
La Bande 'Feufollet' 11:15 a.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun At an age when other kids are mastering Final Fantasy XII, the teens of Feufollet are expertly recreating centuries-old Cajun tunes and invigorating the genre with fresh ideas. Feufollet (the name refers to the folkloric Cajun will-o-the-wisp and not Louis Malle's timeless portrait of a suicidal alcoholic writer) emerged from Louisiana French immersion schools, and the band has just released its second CD, Tout En Beau Soir.
Original Dixieland Jazz Band 11:15 a.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz The ODJB has been together in various forms since 1916. Current bandleader/trumpeter/vocalist Jimmy LaRocca is the son of Nick LaRocca, who holds the distinction of making the first jazz recording in 1917. The current outfit honors its past by playing the gamut of traditional New Orleans jazz from ballads to the stomps.
The Strawberry Jammers 11:25 a.m., Lagniappe Stage, Variety This Hammond-based group of physically and mentally challenged young people sing lively versions of popular songs.
God's Followers 11:35 a.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, South African This nine-member South African a cappella choral group is sure to be a hit at this year's Fest with its deep-voiced, gospel-influenced township singing style called isicathamiya or mbube. From the same Ladysmith region of South Africa as the more internationally known mbube group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, God's Followers are equally skilled in the punctuating hand claps, foot-stomps and choreographed dancing that represent the more traditional influences behind this forceful South African township performance style.
The Unstoppable Gospel Creators 11:45 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This seven-piece group led by Roosevelt Harris sings both traditional and contemporary gospel.
Reggie Hall & the Twilighters featuring Lady B. & C.P. Love 11:55 a.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, R&B Hall's legendary 40-year career as a popular R&B pianist and composer is punctuated by hit singles such as 'You Talk Too Much' (with Joe Jones) and 'The Joke.' The brother-in-law of Fats Domino, Hall is joined this by vocalists Lady B. and C.P. Love.
Marc Broussard 12:15 p.m., Acura Stage, Roots Rock/R&B Hailing from Lafayette, Broussard is a rising young singer forging a name for himself with a rocking take on R&B, along with varied Louisiana influences. Now 21, Broussard's brand of blue-eyed soul was formed as a child onstage with his father, guitarist Ted Broussard, who is one of many solid Acadiana-area session players on Momentary Setback, Marc's debut album.
Ritmo Caribeño 12:15 p.m., Sprint Stage, Latin This lively Latin troupe moves its colorful, athletic choreography to a mix of salsa, samba and mambo. Formed in New Orleans in 1983 by Cuban-born Jose 'Pepe' Vazquez, the group is a family affair with Vazquez's brother, Tomas, and son, David, performing. The large ensemble has survived many personnel changes, and has produced successful alumni such as Fredy Omar.
Victor Goines 12:20 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz Victor Goines is best known for his tenor and alto saxophone playing but he is also a master of the clarinet. A veteran of the Ellis and Wynton Marsalis bands, Goines has served on the faculty at the University of New Orleans and is currently Artistic Director of Jazz Studies in the B.A. program in Music at Lincoln Center and conductor of the Juilliard Jazz orchestra. Goines is likely to perform material from his solo album, Genesis.
Chosen Few Brass Band's Tribute to Anthony 'Tuba Fats' Lacen 12:25 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Brass Band/Traditional Jazz Tuba Fats formed the Chosen Few Brass Band in the 1970s in order to pick up some of the gigs that the always-booked Olympia Brass Band couldn't get to. Now, led by Chosen Few snare drummer Benny Jones, the band plans to pay homage to their leader, who died of a heart attack in January. Listen for tuba player Jeffrey Hills, who was 14 years old when he first heard Lacen play in Jackson Square and credits him as a '100 percent' influence. 'The melodic sound he had in his solos, the rhythm changes he played,' Hills remembers. 'That was the first time I'd ever heard being played like that.'
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir 12:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel 'Minister of Music' Byron Rene Johnson has helped this choir grow into one of the largest and most renowned in New Orleans, with more than 500 rotating singers and musicians. Don't be surprised if more than 150 members appear on stage.
Tin Men 12:30 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Blues/Rock/Variety This trio, comprised of popular local musicians with nearly full calendars of diverse side projects, cemented their sound in the local scene with the superb 2003 release, Super Great Music for Modern Lovers. Featuring Alex McMurray, Washboard Chaz Leary (yes, that's what he plays) and Matt Perrine, Tin Men's unique sound reflects their varied styles in its blend of blues, rock and R&B.
Henry Gray & the Cats 12:35 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Henry Gray is a blues legend. He laid down some of the best blues piano ever backing up the amazing Howlin' Wolf for 12 years live and on record. Now making his home in Baton Rouge, the Grammy-nominated Gray was most recently seen in the Martin Scorsese Blues series. His playing is Chicago blues at its purest.
Permagrin 12:35 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Jazz/Trance This New Orleans-based duo mixes jazz and funk into what it calls its 'psychedelic trance groove sound.' Featuring drummer Louis Romanos and guitarist Dan Sumner, Permagrin is pushing the sonic boundaries of digital music technology, with a nod to pioneering composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots 1 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Blues/Zydeco It's no surprise that this hulking accordion, harmonica and percussion player used to play pro football, but the former Kansas City Chief is also a National Park Service ranger. On stage, he takes his audience through a rocking tour of zydeco, blues and Caribbean-influenced music during an always-lively set.
The Johnson Extension 1:15 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This talented multi-generation gospel-singing family is led by local activist and gospel promoter Lois Dejean -- who has helped organize gospel festivals and even gathered a 500-voice choir for the New Orleans premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Anders Osborne 1:25 p.m., Acura Stage, Blues/Roots Rock Tim McGraw topped the country charts for four weeks with the Osborne-penned 'Watch the Wind Blow By,' but Osborne is better known in New Orleans as a blues man. Living Room and Ash Wednesday Blues dealt intimately with changes in his personal life. Then again, 2002's Bury the Hatchet with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux is an entertaining, lively merging of rock, funk, brass band and Mardi Gras Indian traditions.
Martha Redbone 1:25 p.m., Sprint Stage, Funk Native American singer/songwriter Martha Redbone is also a funk diva, the protege of Walter 'Junie' Morrison, an original member of the Ohio Players who later joined Parliament/Funkadelic. Redbone's debut, Home of the Brave, is an eclectic mix of fuzztone guitar leads, funk rhythms and folk-rock rhythm guitar patterns highlighted by the R&B-influenced songs 'Vineyard' and 'Perfect Life' and the angry 'Underdog.'
Kidd Jordan, Al Fielder & IAQ 1:35 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz For fans of modern jazz, this set should be a quasi-religious experience. Southern University music professor Kidd Jordan is a legend among saxophonists. He's joined forces with drummer Alvin Fielder to provide one of the few chances to hear avant-garde jazz at Jazz Fest. The new CD Live at the Tampere Jazz Happening 2000 provides one snapshot of their always-evolving sound. (Featured in this issue.)
Li'l Buck Sinegal 1:45 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues/R&B One of the last of the old school Louisiana guitarists, Li'l Buck Sinegal carries on the tradition he helped create in Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band. Sinegal covers blues, R&B and zydeco tunes with backup from the Crawfish Rhythm Section -- Lee Allen Zeno on bass and Nat Jolivette on drums. He's also going to be a huge part of Night II of the Ponderosa Stomp. Bad Situation is his latest recording, but his best recent album is 1999's The Buck Stops Here.
Owana Salazar 1:45 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Hawaiian Salazar is a one-woman cultural embassy for Hawaii. As one of the few female masters of Hawaiian steel guitar and slack key guitars, her records are largely traditional, but with just enough genre-crossing to keep the music alive. Her new album, Hula Jazz, updates songs from the Hawaiian jazz period in the 1920s and '30s. (Featured in this issue.)
Ronnie Magri & his New Orleans Jazz Band 1:45 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Drummer Ronnie Magri leads a hot traditional jazz band featuring Evan Christopher on clarinet, Duke Heitger on trumpet and Steve Blailock on guitar playing tunes from the classic jazz repertory including 'Mood Indigo,' 'Black and Tan Fantasy,' 'Moonglow,' 'Deacon's Hop,' 'The Mooche' and 'Stormy Weather.' The group was formerly known as the Shim-Sham Revue before the untimely demise of the popular French Quarter club.
Flamenco Forum featuring Micaela y Fiesta Flamenca, La Cristina presents Olé Flamenco Olé! and Alianza Flamenca with guest Antonio Hidalgo of Spain featuring guitarist John Lawrence 1:50 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Latin/dance This much-anticipated performance combines local Latin dance troupe favorites with international talent to present a mix of classic dance and music.
God's Followers 1:50 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, South African This nine-member South African a cappella choral group is sure to be a hit at this year's Fest with its deep-voiced, gospel-influenced township singing style called isicathamiya or mbube. From the same Ladysmith region of South Africa as the more internationally known mbube group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, God's Followers are equally skilled in the punctuating hand claps, foot-stomps and choreographed dancing that represent the more traditional influences behind this forceful South African township performance style.
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 2 p.m., Native American Village, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Wash., are one of the top pow-wow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has more than 20 albums and is constantly adding new material.
Mighty Chariots of Fire 2:10 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Based at St. John Baptist Church in New Orleans, this all-male group is led by William Pete Walker, who's been with the group since 1963. On its new CD We Have a Dream, the Chariots continue to add contemporary R&B touches to energetic, traditional gospel.
Busi Mhlongo and Vusi Mahlasela 2:20 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, South African/World After gaining a footing in the South African township music scene, socially conscious singer/dancer Busi Mhlongo left her homeland, collaborated with other pan-African artists like Osibisa, Hugh Masekela and Dudu Pakwana, and in general developed a world music approach. Expect to hear her perform everything from jazz to funk to gospel, sung both in Zulu and in English. Vusi Mahlasela is one of the most committed among a collection of poets and musicians who animated rallies and community events during the final decade of apartheid. This South African singer/acoustic guitarist/composer delivers both music and social commentary, and was recently featured in the film Amandla!, which explored the role of music and song in the anti-apartheid struggle.
Leah Chase 2:45 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz Chase's powerful voice and high-energy presence carries her unique blend of jazz, pop and cabaret. A jazz studies voice instructor at the University of New Orleans, she's the namesake daughter of famed local chef and proprietor of the Dooky Chase restaurant.
Sonny Landreth 2:40 p.m., Sprint Stage, Roots Rock For years Sonny Landreth had to remain content with his reputation as one of the country's fiercest guitarslingers (affirmed by collaborations with John Hiatt and Clifton Chenier). But on last year's The Road We're On (Sugar Hill), Landreth also displayed his growing songwriting and vocal chops. Few guitarists stir the pot with such deft references to Cajun, zydeco, blues and New Orleans-inspired funk the way Landreth can, and it's heartening to know that 10 years into his solo career, Landreth keeps getting better.
Providence Baptist Church Male Chorus and Choir 2:55 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This LaPlace-based ensemble has been known for the harmonies between its 15 members for more than a decade.
The funky Meters 2:55 p.m., Acura Stage, Funk Keyboardist Art Neville and bassist George Porter Jr. team with guitarist Brian Stoltz and drummer Russell Batiste to recapture the magic of such homegrown funk classics as 'Cissy Strut,' 'People Say' and 'Just Kissed My Baby.' Expect any number of Neville family members to join the fun, whether it's Ivan, Ian or Cyril.
Dr. Michael White & the Original Liberty Jazz Band featuring Thais Clark and special guest Nicholas Payton 3 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Dr. Michael White is the standard bearer of New Orleans traditional jazz clarinet players. His new album, Dancing in the Sky, marks a turning point in his career -- it's the first album in which he features himself as a composer. White, a professor of Spanish and African-American music at Xavier University, also has played with Wynton Marsalis, Lionel Hampton, and Marcus Roberts, among others. In 1994, he was awarded the Royal Norwegian Musical Medal of Honor by King Harald VI of Norway. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Pride of Zulu 3 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, South African The most traditional of the artists representing South Africa at Jazz Fest, this Zulu folklore group will demonstrate through dances and songs the visual and oral methods that have been used through the centuries to recount Zulu history. One such form of very quickly spoken oral history, called speed poetry, is obviously one traditional influence behind the characteristically frantic and wordy lyrical deliveries of many styles of South African township music.
Willis Prudhomme & the Zydeco Express 3:10 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco The first zydeco artist to adapt the old 'Shortnin' Bread' melody to accordion -- eventually resulting in a monstrous hit for Beau Jocque titled 'Give Him Cornbread' -- Prudhomme is an engaging performer with a unique prairie zydeco sound. He'll play more zydeco waltzes than most performers, and his songs reflect a marked Cajun influence -- in part because the legendary bluesy Cajun accordionist Nathan Abshire was an early teacher. At 1 p.m., he discusses his lifetime of music at the Music Heritage Stage.
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 3:30 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Wash., are one of the top pow-wow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has more than 20 albums and is constantly adding new material.
Lockport Chapter Mass Choir 3:40 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This 30-plus member choir and band from Lockport, Miss., blend traditional and contemporary gospel, and are regulars at the Gospel Tent.
Shaggy 4:05 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Reggae One of the most popular dancehall reggae stars, Shaggy has an undeniably upbeat charm about him. A 1995 Grammy winner for Boombastic, which has become his second nickname, Shaggy of course takes his name from the Scooby-Doo mooch, but this Shaggy is for real. (Jazz Fest trivia: Shaggy was a U.S. Marine and a Gulf War veteran.)
Dave Brubeck Quartet 4:10 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz He is one of the last of the great living jazz legends, and Dave Brubeck is still going strong with this Jazz Fest appearance. Few bandleaders over the past three decades have been as innovative as Brubeck, who is perhaps best known for his attempts to incorporate his many Asian influences and completely original time signatures into his work. Sony last year released Essential Dave Brubeck, an exquisite two-disc compilation that admirably captures the 83-year-old's career. 'Take Five'? No, much, much more. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Lil' Band o' Gold 4:10 p.m., Sprint Stage, Swamp Pop/Roots Rock This super-group includes some of southwestern Louisiana's most dynamic acts, including C.C. Adcock on guitar and Mamou Playboy Steve Riley on accordion. In the center of it all is legendary swamp-pop drummer Warren Storm, whose vocals veer between tiger and tender on hits such as 'Prisoner's Song' and 'Favorite Dress.' The band keeps things close to the roadhouse with their hot versions of swamp pop classics and originals that already sound like standards.
The Blind Boys of Alabama 4:15 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Gospel Could a gospel group be any hipper than the Blind Boys of Alabama? These guys have become frequent visitors to New Orleans, particularly during Jazz Fest, where they show their dexterous blending of traditional gospel hymns with more contemporary soul. They captured that essence rather well on 2001's Spirit of the Century (Real World), by digging into the songbooks of such artists as Tom Waits and Ben Harper. Last year's Christmas album, Go Tell It on the Mountain, featured collaborations with several amazing singers, including Solomon Burke, Mavis Staples and New Orleans' own Aaron Neville.
The Pfister Sisters' 25th Anniversary Celebration 4:25 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Swing Celebrate 25 years of those lovely swing harmonies from these lovely ladies. The Pfister Sisters take their cue from 1920s and '30s vocal groups like the Boswell Sisters. Their most recent record, Change in the Weather, is packed with hot versions of swing standards and features one of the great recent songs about New Orleans: 'Laissez Faire.'
D.L. Menard & the Louisiana Aces 4:35 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun/Country Long known as the 'Cajun Hank Williams' for his old-style country voice and influential compositions such as 'The Back Door,' Menard is a true Louisiana legend. His songs -- and his shows -- blend humor and pathos, as he moves from a raucous two-step to a tearjerker waltz such as 'Under a Green Oak Tree.' He usually brings along a band of some of Louisiana's finest Cajun musicians, all eager to play alongside one of the state's great musical treasures.
Dorinda Clark-Cole 4:35 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Clark-Cole, daughter of the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and head of the Clark Conservatory of Music, is the jazzier of the Clark Sisters, and brings diva pipes and great stage presence to contemporary gospel.
Alessandra Belloni 4:45 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Italian/Dance Take a break from more typical Fair Grounds fare with the multi-faceted Belloni, a renowned performer of traditional southern-Italian music and dance. A singer, percussionist, dancer and actress, Belloni is the artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
Santana 4:55 p.m., Acura Stage, Rock One of the most influential American guitarists, Carlos Santana has been at the forefront of rock, jazz, Latin and world music for 35 years while continually reviving his pop career. The multi-Grammy winner has been a force since Woodstock, scoring hit singles with 'Jingo,' 'Evil Ways' and 'Black Magic Woman' and continuing his run with the 1999 hit album, Supernatural, which went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and spawned several huge hits.
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 5:15 p.m., Native American Village Stage, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Wash., are one of the top pow-wow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has more than 20 albums and is constantly adding new material.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band 5:45 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Named for its home base -- the legendary traditional jazz showcase that first opened in the French Quarter in 1961 -- the Preservation Hall Jazz Band travels the globe representing New Orleans, just as the Hall itself welcomes visitors from around the world. A series of historic releases on the brand new label Preservation Hall Recordings is now raising the band's profile even higher, as well as spotlighting the great jazz figures who have passed through its ranks.
Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries 5:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel With more than 70 members, this lively choir named for founder Thomas Benjamin Watson has been singing traditional gospel for more than three decades. The choir's home church is located Uptown near the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon avenues.
Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers 5:50 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco A funky triple-row accordion player who even received a top accolade from the American Accordionists Association, Dopsie is a burst of talent from the storied Dopsie clan. Like many young zydeco players, Dopsie started performing as a child with his family's band, but he's quickly making a name for himself as a talented musician and bandleader.
Lucky Dube 5:50 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Reggae Emerging out of the South African townships in the mid-1990s as a socially conscious reggae performer, Dube quickly achieved international status with his Peter Tosh-like voice and his preference for the much-beloved, but nearly abandoned reggae rhythm style called 'one-drop.' His earlier career as an mbaqanga musician still colors his reggae sound now and again, lending an odd touch, but his overall sound is the real thing, so authentically Jamaican that it's an injustice to qualify it as African reggae. His January CD, The Other Side (Rounder), is a strong follow up to the more disappointing previous effort, Soul Taker.
Marcia Ball 5:50 p.m., Sprint Stage, R&B/Blues Austin's Long Tall Marcia Ball is the bluesy female barrelhouse piano player New Orleans never had, a Texan who seems to claim dual citizenship with the Crescent City in her music. Last year's So Many Rivers (Alligator) featured a little bit of Louisiana in almost everything she did: a Cajun accordion guest appearance by Wayne Toups, second-line percussion and a healthy dose of swamp pop. The album was produced by Bonnie Raitt's lead guitarist Stephen Bruton, and once again proves there's no gender bias when it comes to playing, and singing, the blues properly.
Terence Blanchard 5:50 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz Trumpeter Terence Blanchard, an alumnus of the N.O.C.C.A. program, got his start with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and went on to form an offshoot band with fellow New Orleans musician, saxophonist Donald Harrison. Blanchard later composed a series of film soundtracks for Spike Lee, including Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, and Summer of Sam. On his latest album, Bounce, Blanchard rekindled his working relationship with Harrison on 'Bounce/Let's Go Off.'
Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown with Gate's Express 5:55 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues/R&B/Swing 'Gate' has always been known to swing in his own unique way. Brown returned to his Louisiana roots on his Back to Bogalusa (Blue Thumb) CD in 2001. Louisiana born and Texas bred, Brown has always been hard to pin down stylistically, so deft is he at blending blues, swing, jazz, R&B and country. He's pushing 80, but as many Louisiana artists show, age ain't nothing but a number. His backing band, Gate's Express, is stellar, including New Orleans' B-3 whiz Joe Krown.
Fredy Omar con su Banda 6 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Latin Native Honduran Omar stays busy as perhaps the most in-demand local Latin artist, a popularity rooted in a charismatic, energetic stage presence and original music that melds the rhythms of Puerto Rico and Cuba with New Orleans sensibilities. Lately, he's been performing most frequently at the Frenchmen Street club Blue Nile.
SUNDAY, MAY 2
12 p.m., Scene Boosters, New Orleans Men Buckjumpers and Single Men SAPCs with Lil' Rascals Brass Band
1 p.m., Carrollton Hunters and Wild Apaches Mardi Gras Indians
1:40 p.m., in Economy Hall: New Orleans East Steppers Social Aid & Pleasure Club
2 p.m., Westbank Steppers, Original Prince of Wales and Prince of Wales Ladies SAPCs with Highsteppers Brass Band
3 p.m., Mohawk Indians and Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians
4 p.m., Original Lady Buckjumpers, Popular Ladies, Nine Times Nine Times Ladies SAPCs with Real Untouchables Brass Band
Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church Choir 11 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Led by Jermaine Landrum, grandson of gospel singer and promoter Lois Dejean, this ensemble is known for its high energy and call-and-response vocals.
Ray Abshire 11:10 a.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun In what could be one of the year's better Fest debuts, Ray Abshire kicks off the Fais Do-Do stage today. Abshire has been influenced by the greats -- a cousin of the legendary bluesy accordionist Nathan Abshire, he learned from Amadie Breaux and Octa Clark, and in 1969 was picked by fiddler Dewey Balfa to join the legendary Balfa Brothers band. Abshire's accordion work is much lauded, and his set is highly anticipated.
Blessed 11:15 a.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square, Gospel These four women all started singing before the age of 13, and Cynthia Liggins Thomas started when she was 5. The quartet released the acclaimed contemporary gospel album Journey for the Heart in 2001 and won a Stellar Award in 2002 for Group or Duo of the Year.
Clancy 'Blues Boy' Lewis and Sheba Kimbrough 11:15 a.m., Lagniappe Stage, Blues Jazz Fest veteran Kimbrough is a drummer whose career dates back to work with Professor Longhair and other New Orleans R&B veterans. (Kimbrough is also playing at this year's Ponderosa Stomp.) Guitarist Clancy 'Blues Boy' Lewis, a Jazz Fest staple since 1970, is a living link to the Delta blues tradition, and as his name indicates, favors the clean styles of B.B. King.
Louis Ford & his New Orleans Dixieland Flairs 11:15 a.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Hot off the battle of the bands in the French Quarter Fest, clarinetist Louis Ford's brand of traditional jazz will be full of verve and vigor. He comes by his sense of swing honestly -- he's the son of longtime Fats Domino sideman Clarence Ford.
Sweet Pea's Revenge 11:15 a.m., Sprint Stage, Roots Rock Sweet Pea's Revenge grinds out groovy roots rock augmented with plenty of backbone and bite. Their strength is in their live performances, having won over local club audiences with sets that mix originals with clever cover choices.
J. Monque'D Blues Band 11:25 a.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Coming down from the hallowed halls of Monque'D Manor, the harmonica man with the heartful of soul and a mouthful of gold will serve up some dirty blues and New Orleans favorites. A student of the blues, having learned from Tommy Ridgeley, Earl King and Polka Dot Slim, his vocals and harmonica work is solid, and his set at the Fair Grounds always promises a few surprises.
Juilliard Jazz Ensemble 11:30 a.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz New Orleans native and renowned sax and clarinet player Victor Goines leads this ensemble of advanced students in the Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies.
Jo 'Cool' Davis 11:45 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Jo 'Cool' Davis is big enough to be an intimidating figure as the one-time doorman at Tipitina's (now master of ceremonies). But singing traditional gospel, he's a warm, soulful presence. Non-churchgoers in town also know him from his frequent gospel brunch performances.
Big Sam's Funky Nation 12:20 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Brass Band Sammie 'Big Sam' Williams is only 23 years old and has been playing trombone for about eight years. But he has a sound to match his name. He came through the John F. Kennedy High School marching band, the New Orleans Creative Center for the Arts, the University of New Orleans, the Soul Rebels, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. In 2002, he formed Funky Nation, which incorporates classic 1970s funk and hip hop into the New Orleans brass tradition. Recently, he and his fianc&233;e bought the Funky Butt club on North Rampart Street.
Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band 12:20 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun Self-described as a 'new traditional Cajun,' Daigrepont is best known to New Orleans fans for his long-running Sunday night dances at Tipitina's (and, before that, the Maple Leaf). He brings the highest levels of musicianship to his accordion work, and his clear, bell-like vocals deliver both Cajun classics and well-wrought originals. Look for popular local singer-songwriter Gina Forsyth on fiddle.
Clive Wilson & the New Orleans Serenaders with Butch Thompson 12:20 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz These Economy Hall favorites always deliver a second-lining high time of traditional New Orleans jazz. Trumpeter Clive Wilson does a worshipful job paying tribute to the iconic Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Hot Sevens. Garrison Keillor's favorite pianist Butch Thompson is a worthy stand-in for Earl Hines and a thorough student of early jazz and ragtime pieces. Thompson apprenticed with New Orleans master George Lewis, and appeared frequently at Preservation Hall in the 1970s. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Eric Lindell 12:20 p.m., Sprint Stage, R&B/Blues/Soul This young Californian has made a reputation for himself in a fairly short time as a fine R&B and blues guitarist, and Van Morrison-influenced singer. Lindell played regularly last year at the Circle Bar, and it shows, with the band including Marty Joyce and Cassandra Falconer becoming very funky. His Piety Street Sessions released at the end of last year also includes New Orleans NightCrawler Jason Mingledorff on sax.
Loyola University Jazz Ensemble 12:20 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Jazz This ensemble of Loyola students is considered one of the best student bands in the city. Their instructors include saxophonist Tony Dagradi and trombonist John Mahoney, so you can be sure these musicians will be whipped into shape.
Val & the Dimensions of Faith 12:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Marva Wright is sometimes a guest vocalist with this 60-member choir, now approaching 25 years of music.
Mem Shannon & the Membership 12:35 p.m, Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Mem Shannon is one of the most original blues voices to emerge in the last decade. The former New Orleans cab driver became a sensation after the release of his 1995 debut, A Cab Driver's Blues. His reality-based songwriting and stirring rhythm-lead guitar style made him an instant hit on the club circuit. Former band member Jason Mingledorff, now with Papa Grows Funk, will rejoin the Membership for this gig.
Harold Battiste presents The Next Generation 12:50 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz Finally, Harold Battiste is getting his due for being one of the heroes of New Orleans as a musician, composer and producer. The Next Generation consists of a rotating band of his students playing modern jazz.
Los Babies 12:55 p.m., Acura Stage, Latin An annual Jazz Fest guest, Los Babies are a vibrant part of the local Latin community. The 11-piece group is the inspiration of Honduran native Juan Monies, who formed the group in 1988 as Los Babies del Merengue, and members hail from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Philippines. With a reputation for energizing club crowds with high-octane meringue, Los Babies have twice won the Big Easy Award for Best Latin Band.
Paulette Wright & Volume of Praise 1:15 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Faith, Gospel Kin to Marva Wright, Paulette Wright sings both traditional and contemporary gospel. 2000's Psalmstress includes a medley of songs popularized by Mahalia Jackson.
The Revealers 1:30 p.m., Sprint Stage, Reggae The long-standing heavyweights of the local reggae scene, the Revealers claim both Bob Marley and Louis Armstrong as influences, adding a mix of New Orleans into their Caribbean sounds.
Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble 1:35 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco A new face in contemporary zydeco, Curley Taylor released his first CD this year, debuting a sound steeped in smooth R&B -- including a cover of Sam Cooke's 'Another Saturday Night.' Like his father, accordionist/bandleader Jude Taylor, Curley has one ear on popular music and his feet rooted in zydeco tradition.
Jeff & Vida 1:35 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Bluegrass/Folk Jeff & Vida's new album, Loaded, is their most mature. The album, recorded with a band, is still predominantly bluegrass and folk, but it shows the pair is adept at jazzy ballads and rock 'n' roll as well. Jeff Burke is a student of the mandolin and banjo, while Vida Wakeman wins accolades for her vocal work. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Treme Brass Band 1:40 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Brass Band The Treme Brass Band is anchored by its drum section -- leader Benny Jones on snare and assistant leader Uncle Lionel Batiste on bass drum (and, sometimes, kazoo). Whether marching or on stage, this band and its players swing on a wide range of tunes from good old traditionals like 'Muskrat Ramble' to new favorites like 'Gimme My Money Back.'
Chris Smither 1:45 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Folk/Blues Train Home made a lot of best-of lists at the end of 2003, with its low-key folk blues. Smither, a one-time New Orleanian, hasn't rushed through his career, releasing 11 albums in 33 years. They're almost always worth the wait. This is a rare chance to hear a top acoustic singer-songwriter at Jazz Fest. (Reviewed in this issue.)
El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico 1:45 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, Salsa The most famous salsa band to come out of Puerto Rico (via NYC), this band formed in 1962 and has never slowed down. Barely hampered by 40 years of personnel changes, the band has achieved a career of sold-out shows wherever they play throughout the world.
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 2 p.m., Native American Village Stage, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Wash., are one of the top pow-wow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has more than 20 albums and is constantly adding new material
Tyronne Foster & the Arc Singers 2 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Tyronne Foster always puts everything he's got into this final day at the Gospel Tent. Expect some hot gospel choreography along with rousing vocals.
Hugh Masekela 2:10 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, South African Jazz After leaving South Africa in the beginning of the 1960s, this trumpeter/flugelhorn player has collaborated with musicians from around the world on everything from funk to jazz. Yet his roots in the township sounds of jazz-influenced mbaqanga and jive have remained a key element of his music, resulting in an overall sound that can certainly be called jazz and at the same time remains unmistakably South African. With powerful melody lines that conjure up images of the struggle of everyday life, there is at the same time a gracefulness that allows the melodies to soar over any rhythm, regardless of origin.
The Dixie Cups 2:15 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B The girl-group harmonies of the Dixie Cups are an iconic sound of New Orleans classic R&B. Hearing their note-perfect renditions of their hits 'Iko Iko' and 'Chapel of Love' is the closest thing to putting a nickel in an old jukebox.
Aaron Neville 2:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent Neville's gospel set has become almost as much of a Jazz Fest tradition as the Neville Brothers closing the festival. Believe, his second gospel album in two years, features Neville singing traditional hymns as well as remaking Bob Dylan's 'Gotta Serve Somebody.'
Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias 2:45 p.m., Sprint Stage, Mardi Gras Indian In 1974, the Wild Magnolias' self-titled 1974 debut album put traditional Mardi Gras Indian vocals by Dollis and Monk Boudreaux atop a funky electronic backing band called the New Orleans Project that included keyboardist 'Willie Tee' Turbinton, guitarist Snooks Eaglin, and percussionist Norwood 'Geechie' Johnson. Today, Boudreaux is heading up his own band, but Dollis' distinctive voice and sleek stage presence still anchor the Wild Magnolias.
Panorama Jazz Band 2:55 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Jazz/Eclectic This quartet's infectious blend of jazz, klezmer, Balkan and varied styles from around the globe can swing anything from a Mardi Gras parade to a kiddy gathering. Panorama features lanky clarinetist Ben Schenck on sets that feature instrumentation including trombone, accordion, banjo, bass, tuba and drums, on anything from polkas to ragtime to whatever this talented and unpredictable bunch might be in the mood for today.
Lars Edegran & the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra 3 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Swedish-born Lars Edegran has embraced New Orleans culture, founding the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra in 1967 to play traditional New Orleans jazz, ragtime, marches, cakewalks, waltzes, blues and even an album of Christmas tunes done New Orleans style with Big Al Carson on vocals. Edegran plays piano, guitar and banjo and always surrounds himself with musicians whose love of the material is evident.
Kenny Bill Stinson & the ARK-LA Mystics 3 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans/Fais Do-Do Stage, Rock Bandleader Stinson and his band play hard, with his voice and energy recalling Jerry Lee Lewis. True to the band's eponymous regional roots, its sets are often the place where old blues, rockabilly and rock &140;n' roll songs meet on equal, wild footing.
Pride of Zulu 3 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, South African The most traditional of the artists representing South Africa at Jazz Fest, this Zulu folklore group will demonstrate through dances and songs the visual and oral methods that have been used through the centuries to recount Zulu history. One such form of very quickly spoken oral history, called speed poetry, is obviously one traditional influence behind the characteristically frantic and wordy lyrical deliveries of many styles of South African township music.
Sherman Washington & the Zion Harmonizers 3:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Washington not only performs in the Gospel Tent, he is the tent's coordinator as well. These ambassadors of New Orleans gospel have been singing in close harmony for 65 years now.
Los Hombres Calientes 3:40 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz Back in the 1970s, percussionist Bill Summers helped Herbie Hancock change the jazz world with the Headhunters. In the late 1990s, Summers teamed up with trumpeter Irvin Mayfield (and drummer Jason Marsalis) to change the New Orleans jazz world with Los Hombres Calientes. Mayfield and Summers continue to lead the group into new territory with an interpretation of African diaspora culture that has grabbed the attention of the young jam-band audience as well as jazz fans.
Wyclef Jean 3:40 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square, R&B He calls his music 'ecleftic,' suggesting myriad influences, but sometimes you have to wonder just where Wyclef Jean is coming from musically. Is he channeling all that came before him, or is he just a hip musical revue who knows a good cover when he hears one? His live shows are alternately wildly popular and aggravatingly medley-driven at times. He followed up a bummer of a release (2002's Masquerade) with an improved effort last year with The Preacher's Son, all shimmering and production-heavy and featuring guest turns by Redman, Missy Elliott, Patti LaBelle and Carlos Santana.
Smokey Robinson 3:50 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B Surely someone used the word for someone before him, but Smokey Robinson possesses one of those truly angelic voices of soul. And those wary of an oldies act were delightfully converted by Robinson's stunning appearance at last summer's Essence Festival. (Short version: He's still got it, at age 64.) His string of hits for Motown included such classics as 'You Really Got a Hold on Me,' 'Tears of a Clown' and 'I Second That Emotion.' His lilting falsetto remains one of the most instantly recognizable voices in soul music.
Marva Wright & the BMWs 4 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Singer Marva Wright is one of the hardest-working singers in New Orleans. With her veteran band the BMWs, Marva can take you to the blues bars, soul cafes and the church pulpits with equal ease. Her latest CD, Blues Queen of New Orleans, features some of her most popular songs including the ribald 'No Drawers.'
Papa Grows Funk 4:10 p.m., Sprint Stage, Funk PGF, the Rainbow Coalition of Funk, has quickly developed into one of the most popular New Orleans bands. John Gros on vocals and keyboards formed the group around his partner in George Porter's band, monster drummer Russell Batiste, and the great Japanese guitarist June Yamagishi. Jason Mingledorff adds a variety of reed instruments to the mix. At the Fest the group will feature both its bassists -- Peter V and Marc Pero. Don't forget to flash the peace sign.
Gregg Stafford & the Jazz Hounds 4:25 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Trumpeter Gregg Stafford leads his traditional New Orleans jazz band, the Jazz Hounds, through tried and true material such as 'Mahogany Hall Stomp,' 'Mr. Jelly Lord' and, of course, 'When the Saints Go Marching In.' The band often plays at the Palm Court Cafe and Preservation Hall. Stafford's most recent albums are collaborations with the great clarinetist Dr. Michael White, Praying and Swaying Vols 1 and 2 and Down Home Music.
Poncho Chavis & the Magic Sounds 4:25 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco The son of beloved zydeco giant Boozoo Chavis, Poncho surfaced as a musician when his father passed away just a few years ago. The son is determined to not let the family music die out. He plays faithful, spirited versions of Chavis' classics, leading the Magic Sounds in an often emotional trip back to Dog Hill.
Reckless Kelly 4:25 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Roots Rock Voted Best Roots Rock Band by the readers of The Austin Chronicle three years in a row, Reckless Kelly is led by brothers Willy and Cody Braun. Acoustic: Live at Stubb's showed the band's confidence unplugged, but last year's Under the Table & Above the Sun rocks like the best Texas outlaw country. (Featured in this issue.)
Ricky Dillard 4:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel The passionate Dillard has a new album of contemporary gospel, Unplugged . . . The Way Church Used to Be. The album captures Dillard and his choir at their most ecstatic.
Black Lodge Singers and Dancers 5:15 p.m., Native American Village Stage, Native American The Black Lodge Singers of White Swan, Wash., are one of the top pow-wow groups in Native American music. The group was founded by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet tribe and features his 12 sons. Prolific writers of round dance songs, Black Lodge has more than 20 albums and is constantly adding new material.
Dianne Reeves 5:30 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz Dianne Reeves is no stranger to New Orleans; her friendship with Terence Blanchard has led to an appearance at the Jazz America series he curates for the Contemporary Arts Center, as well as an appearance on his lovely Let's Get Lost tribute to Jimmy McHugh. Speaking of New Orleans trumpeters, this awesome jazz singer recruited Nicholas Payton to perform on her brilliant rendition of 'You Go to My Head' for last year's A Little Moonlight (Blue Note). Blessed with touches of Sarah Vaughn and Betty Carter in her voice, Reeves nevertheless is her own artist, which makes her appearance here much welcomed.
Hugh Masekela Allstar Musical Tribute to South Africa 5:35 p.m., South African Freedom @ Congo Square Stage, South African The Fest's focus on South Africa finishes with a bang. Trumpeter/flugelhorn player Masekela's roots in the township sounds of jazz-influenced mbaqanga and jive have remained a key element of his music, resulting in an overall sound that can certainly be called jazz and at the same time remains unmistakably South African. Also featured here is guitarist Jabu Khanyile, who emerged on the international scene during the apartheid era as a member of the group Bayete, a group known for a diverse pan-African approach to music and a commitment to social commentary.
The Neville Brothers 5:40 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B/Funk The Neville Brothers have been synonymous with Jazz Fest and will once again close out the proceedings with the final set at the Acura Stage on the last day of the festival. Art, Aaron, Charles and Cyril Neville are all stars and bandleaders in their own right, but when they join forces, they let loose with their decades of hits from albums such as Fiyo on the Bayou and Yellow Moon. This year, the band will also likely be performing new material from a forthcoming album.
The Radiators 5:40 p.m., Sprint Stage, Roots Rock/R&B Back in the 1980s the Radiators were miscast as a southern rock band; today it's as a jam band. The group is a do-not-miss New Orleans musical goldmine whose eclectic blend of influences defies simple categorization -- the Rads are the product of their collective roots, a combination of local funk and R&B grooves, eccentric originals and the vast catalog of Louisiana music and mainstream rock heard on the radio from the 1950s to the 1980s. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Nu Vizion 5:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This large local choir of area college students from Dillard University performs contemporary gospel, backed by a full band.
Robert Cray 5:45 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Despite being a five-time Grammy winner, guitarist Robert Cray has constantly fought with a series of identity crises, making some critics (and fans) cringe when he displays a pop sensibility that can border on the banal (Strong Persuader, anyone?). But when he switched to Sanctuary Records -- which more and more lives up to its name -- and presented last year's Time Will Tell, Cray showed a more emboldened approach. He'll never be a Delta blues guitarist and has never tried to be, but Time Will Tell impressed many with its broadened range and more soulful vibe. Producer Jim Pugh gets some of the credit, but Time Will Tell is a welcome breath of fresh air from this talented guitarist and vocalist.
Paky Saavedra's Bandido 5:55 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Latin Vocalist/bassist Saavedra guides his band through a mix of Latin dance tunes and ballads.
Pete Fountain 5:55 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Seventy-three-year-old Pete Fountain was playing clarinet by the time he was 12 and was a member of the Junior Dixieland Band by age 18. He's released more than 90 albums during his impressive career, and in 1957 he began a two-year run on Lawrence Welk's show (and then numerous appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show) that was directly responsible for a resurgence in interest in New Orleans jazz. Fountain has been the main man of New Orleans jazz ever since and he's always in great form for his Jazz Fest sets. Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys 5:55 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun On the heels of their 2003 Grammy-nominated Bon Reve -- the most invigorating Cajun release in recent memory -- the Playboys continually prove themselves to be one of the most inventive tradition-based bands in American music today. Cutting a wide sweep across south Louisiana genres, the Playboys do more than put its stamp on Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop -- the band often turns the forms inside out, varying between a play-it-straight devotion to history and a we'll-do-our-stuff-however-the-hell-we-want-to insouciance. A great way to close out Jazz Fest 2004.