A Tribute to Jo "Cool" Davis
The late Jo "Cool" Davis was a treasured, only-in-New Orleans figure. His gracious, booming baritone introduced many legendary shows at Tipitina's. His signature white van was a familiar sight on Uptown streets, and his perennial show-stopping performances in the Gospel Tent all contributed to his local status. A who's who of local gospel talents comes together to pay tribute to Davis, who died in August 2016 at 63. Cordell Chambliss — whose piano accompanied Davis in many concerts, churches and studio sessions — is joined by vocalists Barbara Shorts, Charles Moore and Robert Pate.
12:25 p.m.-1:10 p.m.
C.C. Adcock & the Lafayette Marquis
C.C. Adcock is rock 'n' roll enough to show members of Guns N' Roses around town (when the band came to perform in the Superdome last August) and is considered by some to be the leading figure and force of the contemporary Cajun swamp-rock sound. The Lafayette native has produced Grammy-nominated records (for Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys' Grand Isle and Doyle Bramhall's Is It News), is a TV and film score composer (earning a Grammy nod for work on HBO's Louisiana-set series True Blood — in addition to work on Treme) and a songwriter and frontman with fierce Deep South dirty-blues, electric-guitar chops. He's known on national stages as part of the Louisiana supergroup Lil' Band O' Gold (which opened for Robert Plant on his 2013 American tour). He's also known for leading his longtime band, the Lafayette Marquis, a well-oiled machine playing a high-octane blend of blues, rock, Cajun and zydeco styles.
12:30 p.m.-1:20 p.m.
The New Orleans Hip-Hop Experience featuring Sqad Up, Denisia, Roca B and T-Ray the Violinist and Dreams 2 Reality
Congo Square Stage
This showcase spans decades and styles of New Orleans hip-hop. In the late '90s, Squad Up assembled the megawatt talents of Lil Wayne, Gudda Gudda, Raw Dizzy and Kidd Kidd and blew up the scene as one of the first local groups to push its sound and flows via mixtapes. After 10 mixtapes, the group neared a studio deal with Cash Money Records until Bryan "Birdman" Williams hit pause on the group's career, causing the individual rappers all to launch solo careers, with varying degrees of commercial and artistic success. Reunion talk has run rampant since 2015, when Lil Wayne had his former group join him onstage for "We Ready" and "Best of Me." Last year, Dizzy, who started the reunion hype with an Instagram post, recorded the single "Heaven" with Wayne. It'll be interesting to see how these 50 minutes transpire, considering the bill also features self-proclaimed "Princess of New Orleans" Denisia and her dance-minded, party-time pop, rising R&B sensation Roca B, the jaw-dropping electric wizardry of T-Ray the Violinist and his collaborators in conscious-minded backbeats and words, Dreams2Reality.
12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
Boyfriend attracted national acclaim — NPR called her a "mysterious, raunchy feminist" — following a few years of buzz in her adopted hometown of New Orleans, where she escaped a Bible Belt upbringing in her native Tennessee. Genius in her enigmatic approach to musical styles and cultural/political statements in the high-minded mold of Lady Gaga, Boyfriend has crafted some stellar songs — marked by hypnotic deep reverb, trippy, pulsing beats and a well-calculated purring flow — and artfully scintillating videos. This week, Boyfriend drops her new EP and celebrates with a release party at Gasa Gasa, complete with her vintage fashion pop-up shop and new underwear line, "Undies for a Cause." This rising star is best experienced live, when she dons vintage lingerie and hair curlers to take captivated crowds on a thrill ride. This show also features a guest spot for the funk of magnetic saxophone master Kris Royal and his R&B-flavored band, Dark Matter.
12:20 p.m.-1:20 p.m. & 1:55 p.m.-2:55 p.m.
Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro
Cultural Pavilion Stage
Lead singer Eugenio Rodríguez stands at the helm of the famed Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro, a traditional Cuban son group founded by Ignacio Pineiro in 1927. Pineiro died in 1969, but the group continues to perform his timeless compositions. Pineiro is best remembered for adding trumpet to his son compositions, giving them constant countermelodies that keep the songs moving. There have been many lineup changes over the years, but the group has retained a core sensibility, style and repertoire. Its 2009 U.S. tour was its first visit in 76 years. This year, the group returns with renewed vigor, performing its exciting, dance-friendly repertoire with style, energy and sophistication.
1:35 p.m.-2:45 p.m.
While many Jazz Fest season talent mashups (shows often booked at nightclubs by out-of-state promoters) offer only unrehearsed noodle-fests, the members of Magnificent 7 share a long history together and have a familiar song catalogue from which to draw. Malone brothers Dave (Radiators) and Tommy (subdudes) ply their guitar-shredding skills and share vocal duties with free-agent piano ace John "Papa" Gros to flesh out a sound carried on the low end by Bonerama trombonist Mark Mullins (whose Fest-closing Sunday sit-ins with The Radiators are the stuff of local hippie lore). The lineup also features Galactic bassist Robert Mercurio, funky drummer Raymond Weber and the Latin-tinged percussion of Michael Skinkus.
1:50 p.m.-2:50 p.m.
For many, Chocolate Milk is the seminal funk band of New Orleans. Discovered in 1973 by its eventual producer, Allen Toussaint, the band infused a jazz sensibility into contemporary R&B for a powerful sound that propelled the group to an RCA Records contract and top 10 hit in "Action Speaks Louder than Words." While it may not have the household name of The Meters, Chocolate Milk — Joe Foxx (trumpet, flugelhorn), Amadee Castenell (saxophone, flute), Ken "Afro" Williams (percussion), Mario Tio (guitar), Robert Dabon (keyboards), Frank Richard (vocals) and Dwight Richards (drums) — remains both a hidden treasure for old-school vinyl hunters and a band capable of jaw-dropping live performances.
2:15 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
Telmary y Habana Sana
Telmary Diaz, born in Havana and based in Toronto, is a self-described "jazz poet." The rapper/singer has gained renown through her colorful fusion of traditional and contemporary Afro-Cuban and Latin sounds with rap, spoken word, reggae and other stylistic influences. Often switching between styles and aesthetics within the same song or passage, there is a global noisiness to her work, albeit positioned within a Cuban musical framework. Her music videos are colorful, abstract and postmodern, and her music can be described the same way. She discusses her music at the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
ALSO PLAYING AT: 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Cultural Pavilion Stage
2:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Stoop Kids is a New Orleans band whose unique sound takes it far from home. A powerful blend of psychedelic surf rock, hip-hop and funk, the young quintet — frontman Griffin Dean, Thomas Eisenhood (saxophone), Sam Fruend (bass), David Paternostro (keyboards, guitar) and Joe Tontillo (drums) — has built a following and honed its catchy style over years of steady touring.
3:15 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
Dr. John & the Gris-Gris Krewe
At 76 years old, Dr. John shows no signs of slowing down. His last two albums — his 2014 tribute to Louis Armstrong, Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch, and 2012's Locked Down (produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach) — were outstanding and showcased his extraordinary range. Yet, what thrills local fans the most is Dr. John's move last year to once again perform with an all-New Orleans band. Under the direction of bass master Roland Guerin, the Gris-Gris Krewe features drummer Herlin Riley and guitarist Eric Struthers and is earning rave reviews for crushing takes on the many classics in Dr. John's decades-spanning catalogue.
3:35 p.m.-4:50 p.m.
Gente de Zona
Congo Square Stage
Among the most anticipated acts arriving at Jazz Fest from Cuba is global hip-hop phenomenon Gente de Zona. Its name means "zone people," a label used to describe the youth-activism movement surrounding a loose-knit rap collective performing in Havana's Alamar district. Founder Alexander Delgado's organically grown hip-hop ensemble has refined its pop sound and launched into Latin music megastardom with the single "Dancing," a collaboration with Enrique Iglesias.
4:30 p.m.-5:35 p.m.
Jazz & Heritage Stage
Loosely defined as Galactic in a brass-band context, the Midnite Disturbers represents a powerhouse lineup full of top-notch local talent. Propelled by project visionaries Stanton Moore and Kevin O'Day on drums, the sprawling band also features a full horn section that swings on the manic mastery of saxophonist Skerik, ace trumpeter Shamarr Allen and the pulsing trombone of "Big" Sam Williams, all carried out by Matt Perrine and Kirk Joseph on sousaphone for a full sound that's rich, deep and funky.
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers | 5 p.m., Acura Stage
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
That Tom Petty spent much of the 1990s doing heroin was just one of the details revealed in Warren Zanes' 2016 book, Petty: The Biography, a chronicle of one of the best and most enduring careers in rock and roll. Even if the Gainesville, Florida troubadour was zonked while composing some of the most popular singalongs in his extensive canon, there is no doubting his songwriting prow- ess and staying power. Petty man- aged to keep his ego in check and sustain the Heartbreakers, his backing band since 1976. Guitar wizard Mike Campbell still packs plenty of sick chops, whether pulling out a steel resonator for quieter tunes or plugging in for an effects-heavy wild ride, as he did while covering J.J. Cale's "Travelin' Light" when the group visited the Fair Grounds in 2012. The fact that audiences will know the words to many songs in Petty's hits-laden set proves his career is the stuff of classic FM gold.
5:45 p.m.-6:50 p.m.
2013's Pure Heroine catalyzed emotionally isolated, socially detached teenage malaise, with Lorde as its icon. "Don't you think it's boring how people talk?" she asks on the album's opening line on "Tennis Court," her reflection on her then-impending fame and an invitation to her listeners as if she quietly summoned them to a midnight meeting.
The album — fueled by the ubiquitous hit "Royals" — simmers with that moody energy, as the New Zealand artist modulates her shape-shifting vocals through rich bass and minimal soundscapes. Through whispered tales of anxious romance and social commentary over her black-shrouded pop, Lorde became a voice for lonely young people in an increasingly noisy and overshared world, while paradoxically becoming one of the most sought-after, best-selling performers with two Grammy Awards at age 17.
Now 20, Lorde returns this summer with her anticipated second album, Melodrama, due in June. On its first single, the addictive hit "Green Light," Lorde embraces the sweaty palms of breaking from an old relationship and finding her new independence, while embracing the comforts of a former love, maybe for the first time and certainly not the last. On the vulnerable piano ballad "Liability," she learns to love herself despite a storm of insecurities and warnings to her friends and loved ones about her alienating fame. The first two singles continue a tradition of life lessons reflected in pop, about the things we tell ourselves and what we hope to become. Coming from Lorde, they also glimpse the beginning of an artist becoming herself.