The last year has been a tumultuous one for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, but now that spring is here, it all seems like a distant memory. Now we have more pressing concerns -- like how to see Wilco, Buckwheat Zydeco, Steve Winwood and Zap Mama when they all play at the same time on the first Friday afternoon.
When problems like that arise, I, Count Basin™ return, refreshed and ready to help you navigate your way through a festival that features between 400 and 500 acts on 12 stages spread out over seven days. And that's just the music. Don't forget the food, the visual arts, the cultural displays &138; and did I mention the food?
This year's festival marks the debut of the Jazz & Heritage Stage, dedicated to New Orleans' esteemed second-line and parading traditions. At this new stage, social aid and pleasure clubs will begin and end their parades, and the lineup includes an impressive roster of brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians. The first Saturday -- April 24 -- is 'El Dia Latino,' and the Congo Square Stage will feature Latin performers all day, including Julieta Venegas, Victor Manuelle and Juanes.
As you pore over these listings and plot your way from stage to stage, don't forget that all information is current as of Gambit Weekly presstime. For any changes, consult www.nojhf.org. And as you circle your don't-misses, leave some room in your day to check out unfamiliar bands and musicians -- especially the locals. It's a lot to absorb, but Count Basin's ready if you are. Read on, and as always &138; don't forget the sunscreen.
The name 'Count Basin' and the Count Basin character are a registered service mark of Gambit Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
Friday, April 22
1 p.m. -- Pilot Land Rollers and Young Men 2 Old Men Legends Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs (SAPCs) with Olympia Brass Band 3 p.m. -- Zulu Walking Warriors and Old & Nu Style Fellas SAPCs with Stooges Brass Band
The Humble Travelers
11 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel The Humble Travelers return to their traditional spot opening Jazz Fest's Gospel Tent. These veterans are spirited performers, singing traditional gospel and waking up the audience with their call-and-response style.
11:05 a.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Rock Liquidrone is the brainchild of Clint Maedgen, who recently collaborated with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Maedgen makes instruments out of toys and uses found objects to make music, so this art-rock outfit sometimes sounds like David Byrne and Tom Waits tangling in a phone booth.
Chris Clifton & His All-Stars
11:15 a.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Trumpeter and vocalist Clifton was a longtime friend of Louis Armstrong, and he played with Lil Hardin-Armstrong in the late 1950s. Today, he performs traditional New Orleans jazz, following in Armstrong's tradition. His latest record is a moving Armstrong tribute -- Memories of a Friend -- that mixes some obvious selections with interesting oddities from Armstrong's book.
Harry Hypolite 11:15 a.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Harry 'Big Daddy' Hypolite grew up in south Louisiana and spoke French until he was 6. He played blues and zydeco in Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band, and his shows veer between zydeco and Chicago blues. He is also one of the snappiest onstage dressers in the business.
Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective
11:15 a.m., Congo Square Stage, Kumbuka Since 1980, this troupe has remained dedicated to preserving and enjoying West African, Haitian and Caribbean 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 Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe.
Rhino Acoustic Project
11:15 a.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz The quintet, featuring the award-winning compositions of leader and keyboardist Mike 'Rhino' Rhiner, plays modern jazz with hints of funk, swing and traditional New Orleans sounds. The recording Big Fish in a Small Pond captures this unique modern acoustic jazz combo.
Dillard University Jazz Ensemble
11:20 a.m., Acura Stage, Contemporary Jazz The eight-member Dillard ensemble will play a mix of jazz standards, music from Louis Armstrong's Hot 5 and 7, and even a tune by Ray Charles. The music program's faculty also will contribute original compositions and guest on a few songs. The ensemble's all-female rhythm section is made up of Terrika Blake on drums, Montana Rodney on bass and Afton Johnson on piano. Other student members include Latonya Smith on flute and saxophonists Rasheda Omar and Rico Lewis.
11:20 a.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun The Magnolia Sisters -- Ann Savoy, Jane Vidrine, Anya Schoenegge and Lisa Reed -- share a love of Cajun music and a wish to keep a woman's voice in the genre. They specialize in obscure Cajun tunes salvaged from old record collections and garage sales, and they sometimes alter the lyrics to fit a woman's perspective.
The Poor Clares
11:35 a.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Folk Vocalist Betsy 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, and earned the praise of Paul McCartney in the summer of 2002. She is a charismatic and funny performer, and the band includes Valerie Plested on fiddle and Don Tenzine on guitar and on the Irish drum known as the bodhran.
11:45 a.m., 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 group has been based at various churches in LaPlace and is directed by bassist Larry Joseph Jr., who says he has two 'awesome' lead singers: altos Annisa Colly and Ola Mae Dunn. 'Annisa is more smooth; Ola Mae is just down-home Baptist,' says Joseph.
12:10 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Rock On Just Believe It, the one-time Continental Drifter delivers what people always hoped to hear from her -- attractive, intelligent folk-rock built around her voice, which conveys clear-eyed, lived-in hope. There's a southern Louisiana undercurrent to the songs, courtesy of former Bluerunners Russ Broussard and Rob Savoy on drums and bass, but Cowsill adds psychedelic touches through unusual uses of fiddle and Jumpin' Johnny Sansone on harmonica.
12:20 p.m., Congo Square Stage, R&B On the local scene for just over a year, Vivid is finding fans looking for smart, capable and curious musicians thinking outside the proverbial box of butt-shaking music. A mix of Xavier University students and seasoned French Quarter musicians, the band is led by Desmond L. Venable, a self-described 'brass band cat,' keyboardist and trumpeter. Vivid's social-justice-oriented music bridges R&B, funk, gospel, jazz, alternative rock and Latin genres, while alluring singer Christina Jones lends a style to substance.
Wilson 'Willie Tee' Turbinton
12:20 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, R&B Local legend Willie Tee has played New Orleans R&B, funk and soul for more than 40 years, scoring a top 20 hit in 1965 with 'Teasin' You.' Often cited right alongside Eddie Bo for his contributions to the New Orleans funk sound, his '60s instrumental trio the Gaturs combined local flavor with deep funk.
Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys
12:25 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun This talented young fiddler and rising star climbed on stage at the New Orleans Arena to perform with Cyndi Lauper (an obvious sartorial influence) and last year appeared in the Disney TV flick Stuck in the Suburbs. She's a steady gigger at festivals and locally at her popular Sunday morning brunches at Ye Olde College Inn. Recently in the studio for an upcoming Rounder debut recording, Shaw has packed the Kids' Tent for the past few years and now makes her first appearance on the big field.
The Legendary Carol Fran with Selwyn Cooper & the Gang 12:25 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Lafayette native Carol Fran has performed and recorded with soul and blues giants including Lee Dorsey, Joe Tex and Guitar Slim for more than half a century. Though her 1964 recording of 'Crying in the Chapel' was lost in the shuffle after Elvis Presley cut his own version shortly after, Fran continued to record and perform smoldering soul, blues and swamp pop, including her 2002 release Fran-tastic, featuring Selwyn Cooper's guitar work.
Lionel Ferbos & the Palm Court Jazz Band
12:25 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Last summer, the New Orleans City Council proclaimed July 17 'Lionel Ferbos Day' in honor of the oldest jazz musician actively working in the city. The 93-year-old trumpeter, a native of the Seventh Ward, commands the stage like the wizened veteran he is, but still thrills the audience with a lively set of traditional jazz. A personal friend of Louis Armstrong with a career that includes stints with everybody from the Eureka Brass Band to Harold Dejan, Ferbos has served as bandleader at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe every Saturday night for the past 15 years. All that, and he's a skilled tinsmith, too.
Old Zion Missionary BC Choir
12:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This is the sixth year at Jazz Fest for this proudly old-fashioned gospel choir. Old Zion Missionary Baptist Church is 94 years old. Some of the singers have been in the choir all their lives. The choir peaks at 53 members, but expect 30 voices at Jazz Fest.
The Boogie Kings
12:35 p.m., Acura Stage, Swamp Pop This year, the Boogie Kings -- a combo many fans claim as the originator, and still-standing champion, of blue-eyed soul -- are celebrating their silver anniversary. With roots in Mama Ardoin's kitchen in Eunice, where young Doug Ardoin received a guitar for Christmas, the band started playing what was then described as black rock and roll, and the crowds went nuts. The band played its 50th anniversary celebration show two weeks ago in Port Allen and shows no signs of slowing down.
Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians
12:35 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Mardi Gras Indians The oldest tribe of Mardi Gras Indians, Creole Wild West is well known for the chant 'Wild, Wild West' led by its chief, Little Walter. The Creole's music combines street rhythms with an Afro-Caribbean beat. Many Mardi Gras fans have heard the Creole Wild West tribe on the chorus of Marvin Wright's 1994 Carnival song 'Indian Princess.'
NOCCA Academy Jazz Ensemble
12:45 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Contemporary Jazz The 16-piece ensemble of talented middle-school students will play jazz from Duke Ellington to modern sounds with a few blues in the mix. The group will break into smaller combos during the set and feature a performance of 'Apocalypse,' an original composition by 12-year-old Steven Glabney.
The Wimberly Family
1:15 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This June will mark the 31st anniversary of the Wimberly Family as a gospel act. The family was touched by tragedy two years ago when Anthony Wimberly was killed, but the group continues ministering the gospel with the mother, father, three brothers and a sister-in-law singing here and in Europe. They do 'a little bit of everything,' Lula Wimberly says, including contemporary, urban and hard gospel.
C.C. Adcock & the Lafayette Marquis'
1:20 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Roots Rock In the notes to songs from C.C. Adcock's 2004 release, Lafayette Marquis, he reveals his sensibility by talking about how Clifton Chenier and Adam Ant would shop for clothes at the same place if they lived in the same town. He then mentions Lightning Hopkins, Ike Turner and Tony Joe White, suggesting roots in Cajun, zydeco, rock and blues. The album has rock 'n' roll glamour and songs that will fill a dance floor.
1:25 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin As Viváz!'s 2004 debut, Latin Caravan, shows, the group delivers an innovative, intense style of Latin dance music that comes across with the punch of a big band. Two percussionists, two trumpets, two trombones, piano, upright bass and guitar work through a mixture of salsa and Latin jazz sounds highlighted by composer/leader Javier Gutierrez' vibrant guitar work.
1:30 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz Trumpeter/singer Jeremy Davenport plays contemporary jazz in the same vein as Harry Connick Jr., and his shows suggest an affection for the great standards. Trained by Wynton and Ellis Marsalis, Davenport is one of the city's few jazz lounge vocalists and the resident performer of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel's French Quarter Bar.
Li'l Buck Sinegal
1:35 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues South Louisiana native Paul 'Li'l Buck' Sinegal honed his chops as a session man for Excello Records, as well as alongside Clifton Chenier as the zydeco legend's longtime guitarist. In the late '60s, Sinegal released some of his own sides, notably the instrumental 'Monkey in a Sack.'
New Bumpers Dixieland Jazz Band
1:35 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Formed in Bordeaux, France, in 2000, this five-piece band took its fascination to the source by arriving in New Orleans in early 2004, forging a partnership with local trad players Jacques Gauthe, Duke Heitger and Tim Laughlin, and subsequently recording its first album, titled (like a Le Routard travel guide) Trip to New Orleans. Expect a repertoire heavy in band members' heroes, which include King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet.
Sean Ardoin n Zydekool
1:35 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco Most zydeco fans first encountered Sean Ardoin when he performed with his brother, Chris Ardoin, in the popular band Double Clutchin'. But keeping Sean's talent and boisterous personality behind the drums proved impossible. As leader of his own Zydekool, Sean continually pushes the edges of zydeco into contemporary R&B and funk, but also can play an old-school accordion to remind folks that he comes from the same stock as Amede, Bois Sec, Morris, Lawrence (Sean and Chris' dad) and the many other musical Ardoins.
Olympia Brass Band
1:40 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Brass Band The Olympia Brass Band is one of the most continuous and venerable brass bands. Harold Dejan formed the group in 1958 and has played the dirges and upbeat numbers of the traditional repertoire since then. The band is equally at home onstage or in a parade and has represented New Orleans jazz around the world for several decades.
New Orleans All-Star Music Tribute 1:50 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B This set pulls out some of the heavy hitters from the golden days of New Orleans music. Special guests such as Irma Thomas, Dave Malone, Allen Toussaint, Deacon John and James Andrews will jam the classics from back in the day with a rhythm section that includes drummer Herman Ernest, bassist Chris Severin and keyboardist Ivan Neville. It's a great treat to hear the original artists do their original hits with musicians they've influenced.
1:55 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Rock The wailing voice and stage presence of Australian frontwoman Yanti Turang is the focal point of this rock 'n' roll band, but local vets Jay Robert and John Seigel bring an affection for British Invasion versions of the blues, along with Southern and classic rock.
The Gospel Stars
2 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Frankie Sandifer started this family-focused gospel group based in the Carrollton area in 1985. It took a hiatus when the kids graduated from high school, then restarted in 1998 with family and friends. The nine-member group keeps traditional gospel alive in performance. 'We're going to bring you to church,' Mark Sandifer promises.
2:30 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Roots Rock Lafayette native Sonny Landreth shows off his remarkable slide guitar prowess on the new Grant Street (Sugar Hill). Playing the blues, he builds solos with a keen sense of dynamics and the emotions of a song. His sense of melody is influenced not just by slide masters such as Elmore James, but also by a stint playing zydeco with Clifton Chenier.
Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience
2:40 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Zydeco Fusing an exuberant accordion style with a voice that's been compared to Sam Cooke and Aaron Neville, Simien is a barefoot stage-stalker who's not above a little crowd-surfing. This is not your typical play-for-the-dancers zydeco band -- Simien puts on a show. Listen for original songs like 'Jam the Jazzfest' along with high-energy accordion versions of zydeco, reggae and New Orleans classics. Offstage, Simien works as an advocate for a zydeco-Cajun category for the Grammy awards.
Betty Winn & One A-Chord
2:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This April was the 10th year for Betty Winn & One A-Chord. Director Winn has been singing in New Orleans all her life, and she formed the group with the goal of spreading the word as gospel left its traditional church walls. The new CD, Praising in New Orleans, showcases traditional gospel with a modern swing.
2:45 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, R&B John Boutt&233;'s unforgettable voice and delicate, emotionally charged phrasing recalls both Little Jimmy Scott and Sam Cooke. He performs frequently on many stages in New Orleans, and his latest album, Jambalaya, showcases his ease at erasing the differences between genres. From gospel to blues, street jazz to folk, Boutt&233; makes it all fit together.
2:50 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Guitarist Bernard Allison got his start as a teen jamming with his father, the late Luther Allison. He has paid his dues with Koko Taylor and the Willie Dixon All-Stars, but his father is still his biggest influence, as can be seen with Bernard's electrifying stage shows, where he struts into the audience or plays the guitar with his teeth. His charging Chicago blues songs are inflamed with passion, but also reflect the growth of a maturing artist. (See CD reviews in this issue.)
Flaming Arrows Mardi Gras Indians
2:50 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Mardi Gras Indians The Flaming Arrows Mardi Gras Indians are led by Big Chief Kevin Goodman, who is known for his distinctive voice, his tight bead work and feathers on his annual suit. In fact, his 2000 suit is among those exhibited at the Backstreet Cultural Museum. The group's album, Come See the Indians Now, includes the song 'Sew, Sew,' a musical account of a sewing session where the Indians work on their elaborate costumes.
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys 2:50 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun One of the most unpredictable and talented bands to ever emerge from Louisiana, the Playboys cut a wide swath across the genres of Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop -- often turning on a dime from a play-it-straight devotion to history to a we'll-do-our-stuff-however-the-hell-we-want-to insouciance. For dancers, keeping up is all the fun. The 2003 Grammy-nominated disc Bon Reve captured the Playboys at their best.
2:55 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Tim Laughlin is one of New Orleans' great clarinetists. A prot&233;g&233; of Pete Fountain and a former member of the Dukes of Dixieland, Laughlin prides himself on being a traditional jazz composer as well as performer. Like many jazz performers, he enjoyed mining for obscure jazz gems to perform, until he got the composing bug and humorously proclaimed, 'If I'm going to play obscure songs, they might as well be my own.'
Patrice Fisher & Arpa featuring Chiko and Rogerio
3:10 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Contemporary Jazz Patrice Fisher is an accomplished harp player who deftly mixes the genres of world music, new age, folk and jazz. Though Fisher's background is Celtic harp, she has played with musicians from Brazil, Puerto Rico, Guatemala and Bolivia. Her latest album, Crema de Papaya, features the Brazilian singers and songwriters Chiko Queiroga and Antonio Rogerio.
Xavier University Gospel Choir
3:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Under the direction of Dwight Fitch, this 40- to 50-voice choir of primarily pharmacy and biology majors sings praise songs. The focus is on group singing, with a number of student directors interacting with both the choir and the audience. The students are from all over the United States, few are music students, and the accompanying band members are nearly all freshmen.
The Black Crowes 3:40 p.m., Acura Stage, Rock Until recently, a Black Crowes reunion could have been dismissed as a rumor. The brothers Robinson -- vocalist Chris and guitarist Rich -- were portrayed in the press as the very model of family dysfunction. Plus, Chris was earning rave reviews with his new project, New Earth Mud. Selling out seven nights at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom is a tribute to the Black Crowes' rocking take on the blues, an approach similar to that of the Rolling Stones and the Faces. The best news for hardcore fans of older albums such as Southern Harmony & Musical Companion is the return of guitarist Marc Ford.
Stooges Brass Band
3:45 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Brass Band This 10-member brass band started performing together in 1996 when the players were still in high school. The Stooges' rollicking signature song 'Come Dance with Me' always gets the crowd on its feet. The band has toured across the United States and Europe and in 2003 recorded It's About Time.
3:50 p.m., Sprint Stage, Rock What hasn't Fred LeBlanc done at Jazz Fest? One year, Cowboy Mouth's singer-drummer dove from the stage to swim in the mud to the soundboard, and another time he climbed the scaffolding to the top of the Sprint Stage. Cowboy Mouth remains a powerful pop-rock band, and its audience would still dance the world's largest hokey pokey if LeBlanc suggested it. This Mardi Gras, it debuted new bass player Sonia Tetlow at a party celebrating the re-release of 2000's Easy.
4:05 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz New Orleans saxophonist Donald Harrison spent much of 2004 mentoring New Orleans high school musicians as a part of Tipitina's Internship Program. The free-swinging alto player combines post-bop jazz with funk and New Orleans traditional music with piano/bass/drums backing on his latest album, Free Style, which features outstanding covers of 'Hand Jive, 'So What,' 'Well You Needn't' and 'Iko Iko.' He is also Big Chief of the Congo Nation Mardi Gras Indians.
4:05 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin Rock This multi-cultural collective blends elements of hip-hop, jazz, Latin and other world music into high-energy funk. Its progressive politics are so much a part of the band's identity that Ozomatli's Web site has an 'Activism' section. In February, its latest album, Street Signs, won a Grammy Award for Latin Rock/Alternative album of the year.
4:10 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Creole/Zydeco For a time there, it seemed as if south Louisiana's rural Creole fiddle tradition was going to die out with the masters of the form, such as Canray Fontenot and Bebe Carriere. That's why it's so exciting to witness the emergence of young talents like Watson, who plays old-style fiddle with energy and skill. Originally from Houston, Watson now lives in the Creole heartland of Duralde -- and helps to keep the region sounding as rich as ever. (Featured in this issue.)
George French & New Orleans Storyville Jazz Band
4:15 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Singing bassist George French has been performing and recording in New Orleans since he was a teenager, appearing on dozens of local jazz and R&B sides cut locally in the '60s. Having worked with Earl King, Wendell Brunious and the Dukes of Dixieland, French is a versatile musician whose skills extend across the landscape of gospel, R&B and traditional and contemporary jazz.
John Mooney & Bluesiana
4:20 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues When he was 16 years old, John Mooney became a protege of country blues innovator Son House, whose most famous student was Robert Johnson. Mooney learned how to wrench his own fierce take on the country blues from House, then took to the road, arriving in New Orleans where he found another mentor, Professor Longhair. Mooney's band still includes Longhair's percussionist Alfred Uganda Roberts, and his most recent album is 2002's All I Want.
The Anointed Jackson Sisters
4:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This North Carolina-based family group returns to Jazz Fest. Founded by evangelist Bertha Jackson, the group has performed at festivals around the world, singing the gospel with elements of jazz and R&B.
Driskill Mountain Boys
4:35 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Country These veterans of the Piney Woods Opry and Abita Springs Opry hearken back to the days of Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers. The Driskill Mountain Boys play old-time country with more than a hint of bluegrass and folk.
Golden Star Hunters Mardi Gras Indians
4:55 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Mardi Gras Indians 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 class, 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.
5:30 p.m., Acura Stage, Rock Steve Winwood's passion for R&B had many incarnations -- through Blind Faith, the Spencer Davis Group and, of course, Traffic -- which spawned '60s and '70s hits such as 'Gimme Some Lovin',' 'Can't Find My Way Home' and 'Dear Mr. Fantasy.' One of the sad by-products of last year's rain was that Winwood's set was cut short. Leaning heavily on Traffic staples including 'Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys,' he was one of the fest's highlights for those who heard him.
5:35 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Rock The brainchild of Jeff Tweedy, former front man of alt-country patriarchs Uncle Tupelo, Wilco is one of the genre's most talented young bands. 2003's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is perhaps the young millennium's most impressive album with its amalgam of spiritually insightful lyrics and strange melodies. Wilco offers a sleek modern approach to American roots music while never losing its allegiance to Gram Parsons-inspired folk.
Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band
5:40 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun Bruce Daigrepont's long-running Sunday gigs at Tipitina's (5 p.m. to 9 p.m., like clockwork) are the surest time and place to get a regular dose of Cajun music the way it ought to be played: with talent and spirit. Self-described as a 'new traditional Cajun,' Daigrepont 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 and plenty of dancers in the audience.
Don Grusin presents the Hang, with special guests Pete Escovedo & Alex Acuna
5:40 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz Don Grusin has enjoyed a chameleon-like career as a jazz keyboardist, composer and producer. The Hang, his latest project, is a reflection of a stylistic breadth that runs the gamut from Latin jazz and R&B through film program music and smooth jazz. The Hang reunites Grusin with longtime collaborator Pete Escovedo, the Latin jazz percussionist who played with Grusin in the well-respected 1970s San Francisco Bay area band Azteca (which also included Escovedo's daughter Sheila E.). Peruvian drummer Alex Acuna, another longtime collaborator on studio sessions with Grusin, is also featured in this lineup.
5:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Brown, who competed on American Idol this season, returns to the gospel roots he hinted at in the audition show when he sang, 'A Change is Gonna Come.' The nephew of the Rev. Jerry D. Davis Jr. of New Testament Baptist Bible Center, he's the second Idol contestant from New Orleans to sing gospel; before him, George Huff signed to Word Records and has an album coming out this spring.
Tribute to Louis Armstrong featuring Marcus Belgrave
5:45 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Louis Armstrong is the spirit that towers over New Orleans jazz, and trumpeter Marcus Belgrave is a worthy figure to pay tribute to one of jazz's greatest musicians. Belgrave, who spent most of his career in Detroit, may not be as well known as other elder statesmen of jazz, but this hard bop and free player took lessons from none other than Clifford Brown. More recently, Belgrave taught two of the hottest young players working today -- Kenny Garrett and James Carter.
James Andrews & the Andrews Family Band
5:50 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Jazz/R&B Engaging trumpeter and singer James Andrews cut his teeth with local street favorite the New Birth Brass Band. Having earned the nickname 'Satchmo of the Ghetto,' Andrews named his 1998 debut album as such, showing range and a deft ear for trad jazz, funk and R&B. His CD with brother Troy Andrews, 12 & Shorty, leans heavily on New Orleans parade and party favorites, suggesting the direction this gig may go.
Zap Mama 5:50 p.m., Congo Square Stage, World Considering the many faces that Zap Mama has worn over the years since its Parisian inception in 1990 as an a capella world-music phenomenon, it's thrillingly uncertain who will appear on the Jazz Fest stage along with founding member Marie Daulne. Undoubtedly, however, Daulne's celebratory and charismatic presentation will testify to her many collaborations with world-class artists around the globe. The repertoire will most likely feature everything from stripped-down gospel vocals to techno-driven American funk.
5:55 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Zydeco With the new disc Jackpot! set to appear in June (his first studio release since 1997's hard-charging Trouble), Buckwheat Zydeco will likely tear through some new tunes in addition to unleashing his signature zydeco/funk/soul renditions of everything from Rolling Stones hits to Clifton Chenier zydeco romps. Although Buckwheat's show is indeed about the show -- he was a soul bandleader before he ever joined Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band -- his recent work has also seen him keeping it closer to the zydeco dance floor.
6 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Hip-hop Until last October, this Baton Rouge-based soul/R&B outfit performed under the name Us3. However, the British group with the same name responsible for 1994's 'Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)' had the name first, necessitating the recent moniker change. The 8-year-old band prides itself on the way it harmonizes on good soul music.
Saturday, April 23
Noon -- Single Men, Single Men Kids and Unknown Steppers Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs (SAPCs) with Paulin Brothers Brass Band 1 p.m. -- Geronimo Hunters and Yellow Jackets Mardi Gras Indians 2 p.m. -- Lady Rollers, Undefeated Divas and Men Rollers SAPCs with Mahogany Brass Band 3 p.m. -- Red, White & Blue and Young Hunters Mardi Gras Indians 4 p.m. -- Money Wasters, Big Nine Steppers and Nandi Exclusive Gentlemen SAPCs with Original Funky 7 Brass Band
Abundant Praise Revival Choir
11 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This 16-voice choir sings traditional and contemporary gospel in a Pentecostal style. Vocalists include the Rev. Lois Dejean, Jonte Short, Sharon Schaeffer and choir director Germaine Landrum. Performances are upbeat and energetic, with the choir often moved to dance.
11 a.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin This New Orleans aggregation led by bassist Andy Wolf takes the music of Cuba and lets its clave rhythm groove all afternoon long. Hart McNee and Rob Wagner focus the horns over the rhythmic intricacies of Hector Gallardo, David Sobel and Michael Skinkus and the chordal interplay of keyboardist Dave Ellington and guitarist Jonathan Freilich.
SUNO Jazz Ensemble
11 a.m., Acura Stage, Contemporary Jazz Southern University's big band has played Jazz Fest for nearly 20 years. Led by Edward 'Kidd' Jordan, who will contribute some original compositions, the band plays music in the vein of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Don't be surprised, though, if they toss in a few numbers by Sun Ra.
Xavier University Jazz Ensemble
11 a.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Contemporary Jazz Seventeen talented young musicians from Xavier University will play big band arrangements of contemporary jazz tunes by Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster and others. The large ensemble, lead by Dr. Tim R. Turner, has toured throughout the United States and South America.
Brasilliance! 11:15 a.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Latin Named after a tune from Duke Ellington's Latin American Suite, Brasilliance! plays the indigenous, infectious groves of Brazil. Founded in 1992 by multi-reed man Ray Moore, the sextet moves between bossa nova and samba -- and goes beyond with an ear toward improvisational adventures. The group has recently focused on the works of master Brazilian musician Hermeto Pascoal. Its debut album is Minha Joia.
Rockie Charles & the Stax of Love
11:20 a.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, R&B Louisiana native Charles made his bones in the '60s providing guitar work for soul legends including O.V. Wright, Otis Redding and Percy Sledge. His 1996 album Born for You features Southern soul ballads in the tradition of Sledge and Al Green.
The Original Last Straws
11:20 a.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Considering that the band started in 1957 and still features three out of four original members, the Original Last Straws clearly thrives on a stirring devotion to traditional New Orleans jazz. 'Well, it's still always exciting,' 72-year-old co-founder and bassist Bob Ice explains of the group's longevity. Along with Ice, drummer Bob McIntyre, cornet player and singer Manuel 'Moose' Zanco, trombone and banjo player Walter Chamberlain, and soprano saxophonist Bill Lee, the Original Last Straws aims to play something for everybody, with original arrangements of jazz classics by legends such as Louis Armstrong and King Oliver.
11:25 a.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun Through various name and some personnel changes -- Tasso; McCauly, Reed and Vidrine; and the Mamou Prairie Band -- the pairing of guitarist/singer Randy Vidrine and fiddler Mitchell Reed has always provided dance floors with soulful, traditional Cajun at its best. With fiddler Jonno Frishberg and West Bank Cajuns bassist Bo Ledet and drummer Matt Swiler, Charivari has the chops to live up to its namesake: the Cajun custom of showing up at a house armed with instruments and various noise-makers.
Ronald Reggae & the Evolution Band
11:30 a.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Reggae This New Orleans reggae band emerged from the breakup of the venerable Revealers in 1999. Ronald 'Reggae' Claiborne has performed since 1985 and is working on his fourth album, due out in the fall. Vocalist Lady Blondie will be out of town and unable to make the band's Jazz Fest gig.
The Rev. Charles Jackson & the Jackson Travelers
11:45 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This traditional gospel group has a new CD, I Made a Change, that captures its versatility. The five men and two women pride themselves on their down-to-earth performances.
Hard Headhunters Mardi Gras Indians
11:50 a.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Mardi Gras Indians The Hard Headhunters bring the spirit and finery of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition to their performances.
The Boogie Men
12:05 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B This nine-piece horn-powered dance band has been a local fixture since 1994. The versatile gang's vast repertoire of covers ranges from Frank Sinatra to Earth, Wind & Fire and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
12:25 p.m., Sprint Stage, Funk/Rock These days, Brian Stoltz is best known as the guitarist for the Funky Meters and PBS, but his new solo CD -- God, Guns & Money -- shows another side. It's an album of funky blues, which is no surprise, but its political, anti-war direction reflects his disillusionment after his brother in the service was sent to Iraq. (See CD reviews in this issue.)
ERC and Truth Universal & EF Cuttin
12:05 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Hip-hop Social justice and equality dominate the lyrics of this Trinidad-born, New Orleans-based rapper. Tajiri 'Truth Universal' Kamau is regarded as one of the most talented local MC's around, bringing an old-school vibe to his music and rhymes. Dedicated to the 'preservation of hip-hop and the cultivation of the African community,' Kamau will exhibit his considerable skills alongside local DJ EF Cuttin' and MC ERC.
Trio 12:20 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz Rob Wagner's 2003 CD Walking, Crying, Laughing, Running showcases his muscular sax playing, which owes a debt to the avant-garde tendencies of Sam Rivers and the powerful post-bop work of Sonny Rollins. Despite his modern leanings, Wagner can play mean blues as well.
Hezekiah Early & Elmo Williams 12:25 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues This Natchez, Miss., guitar and drums duo has been together since the '50s. As their 1998 Fat Possum album Takes One to Know One documents, Early and Williams' blues are raw and primitive, and there's an unquestionable chemistry between them.
12:25 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Wendell Brunious plays trumpet and flugelhorn in an only-in-New-Orleans style steeped in traditional jazz but informed by the bop tradition. An accomplished blues player, his big-toned traditional trumpet work earned him a coveted spot in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. On his own, leading the New Orleans Roof Jazzmen, he loosens it up stylistically while sticking to the familiar Crescent City repertoire. His latest album, Mama Don't Allow It, features such tunes as 'Buddy Bolden's Blues' and 'Go to the Mardi Gras.'
Lighthouse Gospel Singers
12:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Lighthouse Gospel Singers began 55 years ago as a family group in Wilson, and the four brothers and one cousin grew up singing. Now, with the youngest member in his late 40s, these preacher's sons spread the word singing traditional gospel as a quartet with a four-piece backing band. Performing for the sixth time at Jazz Fest, the group was completing a still-untitled CD at press time.
12:35 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Country Rock The real talent of this local favorite bar band is writing original neo-country tunes. The songs on its debut Nowhere No More sound so natural and unassuming, you'd swear you had heard them before. Covers also abound, but listen for the perfectly formed vocal harmonies that are the band's bread and butter.
12:45 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Roots Rock Jezebel, Beatin Path's 2003 CD, ably captures this New Orleans roots rock band's charms. The band alternates between rowdy rock 'n' roll and more attractive, crafted songs, pulling it together with good humor and style. Guitarist Mike Mayeux is also an in-demand producer, while guitarist Skeet Hanks plays with Jim McCormick and former Continental Drifter Peter Holsapple.
Paulin Brothers Brass Band
12:45 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Brass Band The Paulin Brothers, six sons of the great New Orleans trumpeter and singer Doc Paulin, keep their family's musical traditions alive with tuba player Oscar Washington, the only member from outside the family. The album The Tradition Continues captures this musical family's swinging brass sound.
Big Sam's Funky Nation
1:10 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Brass Band Native New Orleanian Sammie 'Big Sam' Williams' musical career began when he filled an opening for a trombonist with the unstoppable Dirty Dozen Brass Band. After a year and half he formed his own group, which immediately became one of New Orleans' premier funk acts. Fans of both funk bands and jam bands love Sam, and in addition to the Dirty Dozen, he has played with Dave Matthews, Widespread Panic and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe.
1:15 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Roots Rock Hard work and patience have paid off for Lafayette native Marc Broussard. Carencro, his major label (Island) debut, marks him as one of the more soulful entries in the acoustic rock market that Dave Matthews exposed. As comfortable as he is with acoustic rock, 'Rock Steady' is a classic, Motown-esque R&B track looking for a dance floor to fill.
Rockin' Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters
1:15 p.m., Acura Stage, Zydeco A well-known rubboarder-about-town, Rockin' Dopsie was seen climbing on the stage at last year's Gretna Fest to jam with country musician Marty Stuart. Fronting his own band, the son of the late accordion legend Rockin' Dopsie is a limber showman who offers a crowd-pleasing mix of zydeco-accented R&B and pop.
Sounds of Unity
1:15 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel For 'many moons -- 10 or so years,' Betty Morell says, the Sounds of Unity have been mixing traditional and contemporary gospel. Morell, Karen Hence, Shelley Alexandria and Mildred Johnson take turns singing lead for this quartet, which takes pride in its harmonies and showmanship. Much of that is captured on the CD Sounds of Unity Live in Denmark, and the group is currently working on a new studio album.
1:30 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz With a stirring voice once described by friend and mentor Aaron Neville as 'a soulful instrument from the heart,' jazz vocalist Phillip Manuel ranks at the top of his genre not only in New Orleans but in the world. Known as an inspiring performer live, he tours constantly and is a big draw at European jazz festivals. In his hometown, Manuel's many connections bring collaborators such as Bill Sumners, Roland Guerin, Ellis Marsalis and Nicholas Payton to the stage.
Wanda Rouzan & a Taste of New Orleans
1:30 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, R&B The 'Sweetheart of New Orleans' got her start in the '60s, doing backing vocals with her two sisters on many New Orleans independent R&B recordings. Her blend of funk and contemporary R&B is influenced by Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and homegrown talent Irma Thomas, among others.
1:45 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, World The rhythms and melodies of Brazil are as diverse as local recipes for stuffed mirlitons, and this highly acclaimed singer/composer brings with him a unique flavor rooted in the traditions of the northeastern Pemambuco region. Emerging in the early 1990s as the local favorite of an indigenous contemporary style called maracatu, Teony distinguished himself both as a solo recording artist and for his role in carnival as a member of various street groups like Grupo Cultural Maracatudo Camaleao (which performed without him in New Orleans a couple years back).
New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra
1:45 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Americana New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra sheds light on the origins of New Orleans jazz by recreating the music that immediately preceded it. Working from research collected by member historians including Bruce Boyd Raeburn, these jazz scientists make music that is both fun and educational. Burning Sands: The New Leviathan Orchestra Goes to War, New Leviathan's most recent album, is a great vehicle for the band's madcap vocalist and banjo player George Schmidt.
Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie 1:50 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco On his 2003 release Everybody's Dancing, Geno Delafose once again revealed himself to be the most versatile zydeco performer on the scene. Unlike most contemporary zydeco artists, this dynamic bandleader equally commands the single-row, triple-row and piano key accordions. He'll charge through a Boozoo Chavis two-step, then pick up the piano accordion for a Clifton Chenier-style blues, and then mix things up with an R&B standard or a rural zydeco tune associated with his late father, John Delafose.
1:55 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Jazz/Blues Acoustic guitarist John Rankin's finger-picking guitar style reaches for the effects of the classic New Orleans R&B piano sound, though other evident influences come from Latin, jazz and folk artists. His Tuesday night gigs at the Columns Hotel, backed by Clarence Johnson III and Tim Paco, are weekly highlights. Rankin's original instrumental compositions are built to showcase his expert musicianship on the many guitars he's mastered: a 12 string, a custom seven-string archtop and a custom six string. (See CD reviews in this issue.)
New Orleans Spiritualettes
2 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel The New Orleans Spiritualettes started 48 years ago when members of different churches and neighborhoods came together to sing. The group has six female voices and a four-man band, and favors traditional gospel, though it does some contemporary tunes as well. The Spiritualettes occasionally sing a cappella, but founding member Ruby Mae Ray admits with a laugh, 'the music helps out a lot.'
2:25 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Ska/Rock Fishbone was formed in 1979 and earned a devoted cult following during the 1980s in Los Angeles clubs with the thrash of its funk/punk/ska blitzkrieg. Along with late-'80s bands like Faith No More and Primus, Fishbone was the reason for the term 'alternative.' Today the band still displays the explosive kinetics that made its live performances so legendary, despite underground icon Angelo Moore and bassist Norwood Fisher being the only two remaining original members. The band continues to tour and record with an EP due out this summer.
2:25 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Blues One of the most distinct blues guitarists of his generation, Snooks Eaglin is a human jukebox who can and will play anything under the sun. At an Eaglin show, you can hear everything from the classic New Orleans R&B to Stevie Wonder and Bad Company. He's a unique force in New Orleans and one of the most beloved musicians in town.
Dave Bartholomew Big Band
2:35 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B Though best remembered for his collaboration with Fats Domino, co-authoring most of Domino's biggest hits, Bartholomew was also a producer, arranger and talent scout for Imperial, Specialty and DeLuxe Records. As a performer, he recorded big band jump blues classics like 'The Monkey Speaks His Mind,' 'Ain't Gonna Do It,' and 'Who Drank My Beer (While I Was in the Rear?).'
Mt. Hermon BC Mass Choir
2:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This Avondale-based church choir prides itself on the energy, enthusiasm and conviction of its performances. With 45 members under the direction of minister of music Eugene Eursin, the choir sings traditional and contemporary gospel featuring soloist Pastor Sean T. Elder.
Bobby Lounge 2:50 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues An energetic entertainer in the tradition of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, pianist Bobby Lounge's songwriting has been described as 'Randy Newman with bite.' Influenced by Southern gospel, blues and barrelhouse piano, his first studio recording, I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down, is a blend of humor, grit and hot Southern blues. (See CD reviews in this issue.)
2:50 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz New Orleans jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis brings the superb quartet that accompanies him regularly at Snug Harbor to Jazz Fest to play a set fans will recognize from the recently released The Gig: Live at Snug Harbor album. Marsalis' piano textures are best displayed in a supporting role, framing melodies, setting moods and making everyone around him sound perfectly placed. His son Jason Marsalis has become a wizard of touch on the drums, moving effortlessly from nuanced groove to blazing press rolls. Veteran bassist Bill Huntingdon swings like mad, while the Coltrane-esque Derek Douget is showcased as the main voice on tenor and soprano saxophones. (See CD reviews in this issue.)
Mahogany Brass Band
2:50 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Brass Band The Mahogany Brass Band leans toward the traditional end of the brass band spectrum. Trumpeter-leader Brice Miller has a warm voice and a charismatic stage presence, and because he also teaches jazz in the New Orleans public schools, his sets always have a positive message.
3:05 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Guitarist and singer Eric Lindell's growing popularity has taken his heartfelt blend of R&B, funk and rock to points across the country over the past year; the crowds -- ladies in particular -- can't seem to get enough of his smooth, sultry tone. In recent months, the band has taken on more of a rock edge, found in new tracks such as 'Lowdown Deal' and even bringing sped-up progressions to Lindell's sizable existing canon. The band recently spent time recording in a California studio, perhaps the inspiration for an element of surf rock now in the mix. Gregg Stafford's Jazz Hounds
3:10 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 has collaborated with clarinetist Dr. Michael White on two volumes of Praying and Swaying, and on Down Home Music. Stafford's latest album, Grace & Beauty, made the 2003 JazzTimes critics' poll.
3:20 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, R&B Neo-soul act Water Seed formed four years ago when two Xavier University students, Louis Hillard and Lindsey Papion, decided to write songs in the style of acts such as the Meters, Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire, but give it an updated, modern sound. The band is working on its second album and regularly organizes 'Butterfly Soul' shows -- bills with like-minded acts -- at Chez Vodun.
Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries
3:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Watson Memorial Teaching Ministeries began in Algiers, but it has grown to three locations, the biggest at the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles avenues. The mass choir includes 45 to 60 members from all three locations under the direction of Thiffany Perrialette, and is known for its traditional style. Its signature song is 'Jesus is the Light of the World.'
3:40 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Blues He now can add the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame to his lengthy resume, but that's just another feather in the cap for the premiere bluesman. His recent records go back to the roots of the blues with their acoustic instrumentation on 2003's Blues Singer and the hypnotic hill country groove of 2001's Sweet Tea. Guy was born in Lettsworth and played around Baton Rouge and other Louisiana cities until he left for Chicago in 1958. Eric Clapton credits Guy with inventing rock 'n' roll blues.
3:55 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Reggae One of roots reggae's headlining acts, Luciano is stage-named after Pavarotti because of his smooth, baritone voice. His grooves span reggae's three decades of evolution from rockers to dancehall, but his socially conscious lyrics tend to connect with common folk with messages of empathy, hope and encouragement. Luciano promises to deliver a set that will please newcomers to reggae as well as those who have been hooked since the days of the film The Harder They Come.
Irma Thomas & the Professionals
4 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B Reigning 'Soul Queen of New Orleans' Irma Thomas has been breaking hearts and getting hips to shake since the '50s, with iconic hits like 'Ruler of My Heart' and 'Hittin' on Nothing.' Her 'Time Is On My Side' inspired versions by Otis Redding, the Detroit Cobras and the Rolling Stones. Her 2004 collection Time Is on My Side is a brilliant tour through the evolving career of the voice that defined Crescent City soul.
Donald Harrison & the New Sounds of Mardi Gras
4:05 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Mardi Gras Indians Jazz saxophone player Donald Harrison is a second-generation Mardi Gras Indian; his father was Big Chief of the Guardians of the Flame. He's carrying on the tradition as chief of Congo Nation. With New Sounds of Mardi Gras, he has combined jazz and hip-hop to update the traditional words and rhythms of the Mardi Gras Indians with impressive results.
4:10 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues/R&B/Swing Deacon John was a Jazz Fest star long before he released the wonderful career retrospective Deacon John's Jump Blues in 2003. Deac has only missed Jazz Fest twice, both times due to rain, and his 1999 album recorded live at a previous Jazz Fest performance gets the nod for the hottest Fest performance ever released. Whether he plays jump blues or the hard-driving guitar groove that has come to be his calling card in recent years, it'll be good to see him back.
Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers
4:15 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Jazz Trumpeter-vocalist-composer Kermit Ruffins emerged from the Treme and its history of brass bands as part of the revolutionary ReBirth Brass Band, with its statement-of-purpose anthem 'Do Watcha Wanna.' He now leads his own unit, the Barbecue Swingers, which features him as a trumpet player and singer self-consciously in the Louis Armstrong mode. On his latest album, Throwback, Ruffins reunites with ReBirth for an energetic set. (See CD reviews in this issue.)
Dorothy Norwood 4:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Performing since she was 8, Dorothy Norwood has sung gospel solo and in groups and choirs almost all her life. After her first two albums -- 1964's Johnny and Jesus and 1966's Denied Mother -- she was dubbed 'the World's Greatest Storyteller,' a title that has stuck in gospel circles to this day. With more than 40 albums, she brings a life-affirming passion and power to traditional gospel.
Lil' Brian & the Zydeco Travelers
4:30 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco A cousin of Geno Delafose, Texas native Lil' Brian set out to emulate his hero, Buckwheat Zydeco, by mixing up zydeco with urban sounds -- in his case, hip-hop and funk. Buckwheat helped guide Lil' Brian's career and co-produced the disc Funky Nation -- and a tattoo of Buckwheat's accordion even peeks out under Lil' Brian's shirt sleeve. But Lil' Brian's accordion talent, fresh songs and energy set him apart as a young zydeco player with his own style.
Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble
4:35 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz The Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble, led by S. Frederick Starr since 1980, routinely plays authentic jazz from the New Orleans golden age of 1890-1930 to sold-out crowds on the jazz festival circuit in Europe and Asia. They were the first traditional jazz ensemble to appear on the Grammy Awards broadcast.
4:40 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Gospel The gospel group Blessed evolved into Beyond Measure when fill-in vocalist Joslyn Blackburn and newcomer Teri Alsandor joined Angela Stewart and Ronda Singleton. Last summer the quartet released its debut CD, Defy Human Nature, which sets spiritual messages in an urban R&B setting reminiscent of En Vogue.
Original Funky 7 Brass Band
5:25 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Brass Band The Funky 7 is named after the 7th Ward neighborhood where leader Eddieboh Paris founded the brass band. Paris is known as the most hyperactive musician in town, and he pours all that energy into the group's music.
The Original Meters Reunion
5:30 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Funk There have been a number of promised reunions of the original Meters -- Art Neville, George Porter Jr., Leo Nocentelli and Joseph 'Zigaboo' Modeliste -- but this will be only the fourth successful reunion, and the first since the one at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco in 2000. By all accounts, that show was everything a long-time Meters fan could hope for, with the band's legendary ability to explore a groove still intact. It can be argued that the Meters created modern funk, along with James Brown, George Clinton and Sly Stone.
5:40 p.m., Acura Stage, Soft Rock Songwriter Taylor helped create one of the defining sounds of the '70s with his folky, bluesy compositions, including the wistful 'Fire and Rain' and the heavy 'Steamroller.' Fans will be pleased to hear that the comprehensive reference book The James Taylor Encyclopedia hit shelves in March of 2005.
The Roots 5:40 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Hip-hop The Roots are the default leaders of a socially conscious movement in hip-hop -- a shift away from commercially minded music focusing on cars, Cristal and cash. Unlike most hip-hop acts, the Philadelphia-based group is a band in the traditional sense of the word with a reputation for giving intense live performances. Watch out for drummer Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson, who has sat in as a guest with everyone from Alicia Keys to Prince.
Shirley Horn Trio
5:40 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz Shirley Horn possesses one of the most expressive singing voices in jazz history. Until her most recent album, May the Music Never End, she accompanied herself on piano so well that she was considered the greatest jazz vocalist-pianist since Nat King Cole. Once a protege of Miles Davis, Horn collaborated with him shortly before he died, and shares his ability to seemingly freeze time as she picks apart the individual notes and phrases of a melody and savors each one as she delivers it. Ably backed by longtime collaborators, bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams, along with George Mesterhazy's glimmering piano accompaniment, Horn brings the art of ballad vocals to a new level of delicacy.
Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. & the Greater St. Stephens Mass Choir
5:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel The Canadian-born Morton became the pastor of Greater St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church in 1975, and since then, membership has grown to more than 20,000 members. He has become one of New Orleans' most politically powerful pastors, and his ministry has expanded in many directions, including music.
5:50 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Many Fest-goers recognize Susan Tedeschi as a vocalist on the first Grateful Dead tour after Jerry Garcia's death or as the wife of guitar wunderkind Derek Trucks, but the talented guitarist and songstress has already scored three Grammy nominations since her 2000 debut release, Just Won't Burn. Lumped into the blues and rock categories by Grammy officials and critics alike, Tedeschi does wail with an emotional intensity, but her well-orchestrated music -- refined in the studio by legendary producer Tom Dowd -- also swings with R&B, jam rock and piano ballads. Her latest album, Wait for Me, was a contender for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 2004 Grammys.
Poncho Chavis & the Magic Sounds 5:55 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco Poncho surfaced as a zydeco accordionist just a few years ago, when his father, the beloved Boozoo Chavis, passed away. With a determination to keep the unique Boozoo sound going, Poncho plays faithful, spirited versions of Chavis' classics about life at the old Dog Hill homestead, including 'Goin' to Dog Hill' and 'Zydeco Hee-Haw.'
6 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Reggae Irie Dawtas play upbeat, spiritual reggae that blends in jazz, funk, R&B and hip-hop. The group performs primarily original songs that are spiritual in nature, and their cover choices pay homage to legends such as Bob Marley and Buju Banton. Expect a highly energetic stage show with tight choreography.
Jelly Roll Morton: Small and Hot Combos
6 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Pianist-composer Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have invented jazz, a statement that upset a lot of people but has never been completely disproven. This Rajah of piano-playing professors was the King of Storyville at the turn of the century while still a teenager and went on to become the first great jazz composer, writing such early masterpieces as 'King Porter Stomp,' 'Wolverine Blues,' 'The Pearls' and 'Mr. Jelly Roll.' Morton was a master conceptualist who clearly figured out how to move the stately formality of ragtime into a more sultry and elastic cadence, the rhythmic breakthrough he claims created jazz. There are no better hands to recreate Morton's magic moments than those of Dr. Michael White, the trad jazz clarinetist, teacher and musicologist who is leading this tribute.
Sunday, April 24
Noon -- Olympia Aide, Uptowner's Hobo Clowns, Divine Ladies Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs (SAPCs) with NewBirth Brass Band 1 p.m. -- Young Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians 2 p.m. -- New Look and Popular Ladies with Pin Stripe Brass Band 3 p.m. -- Big Chief Romeo & the Ninth Ward Hunters Mardi Gras Indians 4 p.m. -- Untouchables and Furious Five SAPCs with Hot 8 Brass Band
Zulu Male Ensemble
11 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Zulu Male Ensemble features members of churches around New Orleans coming together with other members of the famed Mardi Gras krewe to sing gospel. The roughly 25 members of the group range in ages from 33 to 74, and are everything from lawyers and real estate brokers to retired postmen. The ensemble has performed at churches around the city as well as the House of Blues' gospel brunch.
Julio and Cesar
11:10 a.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin Acoustic guitarists and brothers Julio and Cesar Herrera play music from their native Guatemala. The brothers used to lead the popular New Orleans Latin band Grupo Kaibil. Julio and Cesar's album Angelina includes their signature song 'Angelina de Huehuetenango.'
11:15 a.m., Sheraton Fais Do-Do Stage, Variety The house band of the Hammond Developmental Center, the Strawberry Jammers are an enthusiastic gang of developmentally challenged kids who play fast-paced pop, country, Cajun and local tunes.
Little Freddie King Blues Band
11:15 a.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Originally from McComb, Miss., Little Freddie King developed his style of electric country blues playing parties and bars in the Mississippi Delta with his father. On You Don't Know What I Know, his debut album for Fat Possum Records, he often settles into a one-chord groove and works it with sly insight, back-porch humor and a raw, distorted guitar sound. (See CD reviews in this issue.)
Raymond 'Dr. Rackle' Williams & the Sound Griots
11:15 a.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz This band is a side project for trumpeter Raymond Williams of Hot 8 Brass Band, a local veteran who has performed with national legends such as Jackie McLean as well as local heroes Anders Osborne and Monk Boudreaux.
Brotherhood of Groove
11:20 a.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Funk Local jazz/jam/funk group Brotherhood of Groove looks to capitalize on its hectic Jazz Fest gig schedule with an impressive, imported horn section: Jeff Watkins (James Brown), Sam Kininger (Soulive), Dave Grippo (Trey Anastasio), Michael Ray (Sun Ra, Kool and the Gang, Cosmic Krewe), and Henley Douglas Jr. and Garret Savluk from the Boston Horns. Look for this star-studded collaboration at the Fair Grounds as well as two late-night shows at One Eyed Jacks. Lead singer and guitarist Brandon Tarricone is capable of taking the band to impressive heights with his soulful vocals and searing guitar leads.
11:20 a.m., Acura Stage, Rock Steady Every musician in the group hails from other bands of note -- drummer Jeffrey Clemens (G. Love and Special Sauce), 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. Founding member Alex McMurray, now a New York City resident, will be gracing the stage for this show.
Hot Club of New Orleans 11:20 a.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz The 'hot club' sound -- string-based, acoustic jazz pioneered by violinist Stephane Grappelli and guitarist Django Reinhardt -- was the launching point for the Hot Club of New Orleans. This year's disc More! shows the band making the sound its own, making room for Christopher Kohl's clarinet and David Mooney's more modern compositions. Their gently swinging version of Duke Ellington's 'Azalea' is particularly lovely.
Michaela y Fiesta Flamenca
11:30 a.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Latin This flamenco dance troupe features Michael Skinkus, a 20-year veteran of Latin percussion in New Orleans, who brings authenticity to the performance. In the traditional style, the percussion and guitar race along as the female flamenco dancers improvise to the music.
Black Feathers Mardi Gras Indians
11:45 a.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Mardi Gras Indians This 12-year-old tribe is one of the biggest among the Indians. They bring the sounds of Mardi Gras to Jazz Fest.
Unstoppable Gospel Creators
11:45 a.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This gospel group performs what it calls 'old time hip-hop.' It rewrites classic R&B songs to give them a spiritual twist; in the hands of Unstoppable Gospel Creators, the Temptations' 'My Girl' becomes 'My Lord.' The group is working a new CD that it hopes will be ready in time for Jazz Fest.
12:10 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin In opposition to the highly intellectualized Latin Jazz groups, Los Sagitarios' number one goal is to fill the dance floor, and this Latin group doesn't take the chance that the audience knows how to do this. Los Sagitarios brings a fully choreographed routine along with its already energetic musical performance of salsa, punta and merengue that gets the audience moving.
Balfa Toujours 12:20 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun As you can hear on Balfa Toujours' most recent recording Live at Whiskey River Landing, this is a dancer-friendly Cajun band. Bandleader Christine Balfa hails from the legendary Balfa musical family, and Balfa Toujours is dedicated to keeping the Balfa Brothers 'prairie Cajun' twin-fiddle sound alive. Christine and her husband, traditional music hero Dirk Powell (featured on last year's Cold Mountain soundtrack), also launched the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week to help train the next generation of musicians.
12:20 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz For this Jazz Tent gig, Leigh Harris drops her well-known moniker of Little Queenie as well as her stirring penchant for gutbucket blues. As in years past, when Harris performs here the focus is more on straight-ahead jazz, taking on standards such as 'Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most' -- a diva-friendly number sung by everyone from Chaka Khan to Bette Midler -- as well as original tunes from her sizable catalogue.
The Rockin' Jake Band
12:20 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Perennial poll-winner Rockin' Jake is one of New Orleans' most versatile harmonica players. His blues-based songs feature deft songwriting, and his eclectic style references R&B, brass band and zydeco. His live-in-Key West blowout, 5 PM Breakfast, offers an apt example of the kind of excitement Jake's live shows regularly generate.
Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians
12:25 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Mardi Gras Indians This venerable Indian gang was one of the earliest to record its tribal chants. The self-titled album from 1976 was produced by Allen Toussaint and featured the Meters and then-Big Chief Jolly George Landry. After a hiatus brought on by the death of Landry, it was re-formed in the '90s by current chief Roderick Sylvas.
Danza Quartet featuring Evan Christopher and Tom McDermott
12:30 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, 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, roughly equivalent to American jazz. The Danza Quartet will be showcasing material from McDermott's second album of choro explorations, Choro Do Norte. His most ambitious work to date, the album was recorded in Rio de Janeiro in August 2004 and New Orleans in 2004-05. (Featured in this issue; also see CD reviews in this issue.)
Voices of Distinction
12:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Audrey Ferguson, a 20-year veteran with the New Orleans Spiritualettes, organized Voices of Distinction in 2001 with her daughter, DeDe Thurmond. The five-women ensemble sings primarily traditional gospel at the Praline Connection every second Sunday. On 2004's What You Gonna Do, Ferguson says, 'They rejoice and bring the word through song.'
Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
12:35 p.m., Acura Stage, Funk/R&B Steve Winwood, that quintessential example of the British Invasion, must be proud of the way fellow keyboardist Jon Cleary invaded New Orleans, but it was the Crescent City that first invaded Cleary's soul. The man also known as Bonnie Raitt's keyboardist (and himself an accomplished guitarist) is able to take everything from the Latin-inspired piano phrasings of Professor Longhair, the deep-in-the-pocket funk of the Meters, and the classic rocking R&B of Johnny 'Guitar' Watson and cobble it together for his own distinct sound, as his 2004 CD Pin Your Spin ably demonstrates.
12:35 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Contemporary Jazz Sax player Lance Ellis calls his smooth jazz tunes, like his recent hit 'Voodoo Love,' therapeutic. Alert movie buffs might recognize Ellis from his appearance in the film Ray as one of studio musicians backing up Ray Charles.
NewBirth Brass Band
12:45 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Brass Band Led by drummer Tanio Hingle and trumpeter Kenneth Terry, New Birth is a spin-off of the legendary ReBirth Brass Band. NewBirth specializes in blending the traditional form of brass band music pioneered by Terry's mentor Uncle Milton Batiste with more contemporary styles like funk, hip-hop and ska.
The Dimensions of Faith Choir
1:15 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This choir has performed at Jazz Fest since its inception in 1980. Founded by the late Sammy Berfect -- whose picture hangs in the Gospel Tent -- it's now led by Valentine Berniss-Williams. This non-denominational choir is 55 members strong ranging in age from young adult to 'whenever,' Beniss-Williams says. It has traveled extensively in Europe, singing traditional gospel with a lot of rhythm and energy.
Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys
1:20 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Zydeco Ledet started out in zydeco when she began practicing on her husband Morris' accordion. Now, Morris performs alongside her in the Playboys. Influenced by Boozoo Chavis and Beau Jocque, Ledet is a strong diatonic accordion player and a soulful R&B-style singer who could be one break-out album away from achieving crossover fame.
1:20 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin This increasingly popular Miami-based Latin band has presented its high-energy music to audiences around the globe. Formed in 2001 by a group of old friends and Cuban immigrants, Tiempo Libre will release its first album, Arroz Con Mango, this summer.
1:30 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz A mainstay of the New Orleans music scene, saxophonist Eric Traub has recorded with Maynard Ferguson, Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins and Joe Krown. This swinging jazz player has also filled out the guest spot in George Porter Jr. and Johnny Vidacovich's trio.
Luther Kent & Trickbag
1:30 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues A recent inductee into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame, Kent has been shouting the blues in Louisiana for more than 30 years -- including a short '70s stint touring as the lead singer for Blood, Sweat & Tears. He has also made New Orleans classics 'Sick and Tired' and 'Trick Bag' staples in his sets.
Kirk Joseph and Friends of Frog: A Tribute to Waldren 'Frog' Joseph 1:45 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Brass Band Trombonist Waldren 'Frog' Joseph, who died in October 2004, was a veteran of New Orleans' most popular and prominent jazz bands, touring frequently and recording with R&B artists including Earl King and Dave Bartholomew. He pioneered the 'tailgating' trombone style that defined the role of the trombone in brass bands. This tribute is organized by his son, sousaphonist Kirk Joseph.
Jeff & Vida
1:50 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Bluegrass/Folk Jeff & Vida's 2004 album, Loaded, is their most mature. Their songs depict working-class life in bluegrass and country songs written with an artist's attention to details and language. Jeff Burke is a student of the mandolin and banjo, while Vida Wakeman's vocals are passionate and emotionally complex.
1:55 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, World The rhythms and melodies of Brazil are as diverse as local recipes for stuffed mirliton, and this highly acclaimed singer/composer brings with him a unique flavor rooted in the traditions of the northeastern Pemambuco region. Emerging in the early 1990s as the local favorite of an indigenous contemporary style called maracatu, Teony distinguished himself both as a solo recording artist and for his role in Carnival as a member of various street groups like Grupo Cultural Maracatudo Camaleao (which performed without him in New Orleans a couple years back). The past half-decade has seen him performing at major festivals around the world, and now for the first time, he arrives in New Orleans.
Teedy & umami
1:55 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, R&B Vocalist Tricia -- 'Teedy' -- Boutt&233; is a local club favorite, playing often with a diverse range of artists and powerfully capable of singing R&B, jazz, reggae and gospel. She spends half the year gigging and teaching in Norway, but recently she has been home recording with her new band, umami, which includes local stalwarts Paul Longstreth and Brian Seeger.
G. Love & Special Sauce
2 p.m., Acura Stage, Rock/Blues After a decade of making music, G. Love and Special Sauce aren't even close to slowing down. G. Love and other artists in the mid-'90s such as Beck helped usher in 'slacker rap,' which combines lazy hip-hop beats, drawling vocals, acoustic folk guitar, and funky bass lines for a slow, chilled-out sound. On last year's The Hustle, the sound is heavy, with organ courtesy of Money Mark. Drummer Jeffrey Clemens leads local rock-steady combo 007.
John Lee & the Heralds of Christ
2 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel John Lee and this 20-voice group have been together since 1978. With members from across New Orleans and the surrounding area, the Heralds of Christ sing all kinds of gospel. Lee, the director, sings lead on two songs as the soloist role is passed around the group.
2:35 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin With a background in San Diego-based ska and reggae bands, this multi-talented singer-songwriter and instrumentalist brought many diverse elements with her when she moved to Mexico City in the mid-1990s. Picking up the accordion and regional influences, she was quickly adopted by the avant-garde and launched a multi-faceted career that has encompassed movie soundtracks (one for a Cannes Film Festival winner), three albums, MTV awards and collaborations with artists from Mexico to Cuba to Spain.
2:40 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Tex-Mex/R&B Now in their 15th year, the Iguanas prove the durability of Tex-Mex songs performed with a Memphis R&B rhythm section. As shows night after night prove, the band can be a dance machine, but Rod Hodges and Joe Cabral are smart, subtle songwriters, as 2003's Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart demonstrated. The title track was co-written by Hodges and Dave Alvin, and Alvin's version appears on his 2004 album Ashgrove.
Cyril Neville & the Uptown Allstars
2:40 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, R&B Cyril adds plenty of Caribbean flavor to the typical Neville funk, forging a style described as 'second-line reggae.' Nineteen years ago, Cyril took the helm of the band created by his late friend, mentor Gerald Tillman, who worked as the original band's spiritual guide as well as keyboardist, saxophonist, singer and percussionist. From his perch behind his percussion kit, Neville makes music with a message, though delivered as an unobtrusive complement to the signature 'Uptown funk' the band creates, led by hard-hitting time keeper Mean Willie Green on drums.
The Mighty Chariots of Fire
2:45 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel Like many New Orleans gospel groups, Mighty Chariots of Fire perform in Europe regularly, and last year toured France and Tunisia. The group has been together since 1959, though none of the original members remain. The six male voices under the leadership of Bishop Joseph Carter sing traditional and contemporary gospel, and though accompanied by a band, they also perform a cappella.
Alvin Batiste & the Jazzstronauts
2:50 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Tent, Contemporary Jazz Space will be the place for this challenging avant-garde jazz unit led by virtuoso New Orleans clarinetist Alvin Batiste. Though his music is abstract, Batiste is always rooted in a soulful, spiritual style, as befits a veteran who worked with Ray Charles and whose first paying gig was with Guitar Slim. The current lineup, featuring drummer Herman Jackson, bassist Chris Severin, poet Edith Batiste, pianist/vocalist Maynard Batiste, and vocalists Maynard Batiste Jr. and Stephanie Jordan, will feature material from the Songs, Words, Messages, Connections album.
Campbell Brothers 2:50 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Gospel Emerging from the House of God Church in Rochester, N.Y., these guitar-playing brothers keep alive the rare tradition of integrating pedal steel and lap steel into gospel music. In the hands of Chuck and Darick Campbell respectively, these instruments often follow the vocal line, adding an electric, soaring sound to accompany the singing of cousin Denise Brown and gospel veteran Katie Jackson.
Pin Stripe Brass Band
3 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Brass Band This down-home, funky brass band has been a regular part of the Zulu's Mardi Gras parade since 1978. Your Last Chance to Dance (1994) shows the Pin Stripe Brass Band's mix of traditional brass-band swagger, soul and Southern gospel that it has performed to appreciative audiences around the world.
R. Carlos Nakai Quartet
3:05 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Native American R. Carlos Nakai, an American Indian of Navajo-Ute descent, writes original music that combines his traditional flute playing with synthesizers and chanting. Nakai has received three Grammy nominations and numerous gold records for his music. His latest album is People of Peace.
Don Vappie & the Creole Jazz Serenaders
3:10 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Banjoist-guitarist Don Vappie comes from a musical family that includes his great uncle, Storyville-era bassist and original Preservation Hall player 'Papa' John Joseph. Vappie is well known among locals from time spent on air at WWOZ and years of teaching in the University of New Orleans' jazz program. The Serenaders is one of few traditional jazz combos that incorporates vintage French Creole tunes into its repertoire.
The Johnson Extension
3:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel The internationally acclaimed Johnson Extension is a family group that spans four generations. Together for almost 25 years under the leadership of Lois Dejean, it started when some family members -- choir directors themselves -- were trying to figure out how to bring the family together; now there are kids, grandkids and great-grandkids singing traditional and contemporary gospel with the older generation. Dejean can be seen singing in the funeral scene in the Ray Charles biopic, Ray.
3:35 p.m., Acura Stage, R&B 1981's solo piano album Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack -- reissued in 2001 -- solidified Dr. John's reputation as the great inheritor of the city's piano tradition, and last year's N'Awlinz: Dis, Dat or D'Udda displayed his songwriting gifts. He studs good-times songs with barbs that remind aware listeners of some of New Orleans' harsher realities.
Chris Thomas King
4:05 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues In the movies -- O Brother, Where Art Thou? and last year's Ray -- Chris Thomas King has played traditional bluesmen. In real life, the son of Baton Rouge bluesman Tabby Thomas is more provocative, making what he calls 21st century blues by combining blues and hip-hop, often performing with a DJ instead of a band. On last year's Why My Guitar Screams and Moans, he showcases his less-talked-about guitar talents.
4:05 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin A gift for lyrical improvisation led this Puerto Rican singer-songwriter to be taken under the wings of salsa superstar Gilberto Santa Rosa and timbalero Don Perignon, resulting in a decade-long recording and performing career that includes 10 albums and numerous TV appearances. His live shows are known for their emotional peaks and socially relevant dynamics, and he is frequently called on to participate in benefit and tribute concerts. He comes to New Orleans on the heels of his latest release, Victor Manuelle Live From Carnegie Hall.
ReBirth Brass Band
4:10 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Brass Band More than 20 years ago, the guys from ReBirth Brass Band, dressed in jeans and T-shirts, infused the local brass-band tradition with music from pop artists like Michael Jackson. Original member Kermit Ruffins left in 1993, but the brothers Frazier -- Philip on tuba and Keith on bass drum -- continue to push the envelope, adding rap and whatever else sounds good. Throwback, the new Ruffins album, features him with ReBirth in a rough-and-tumble tribute to their salad days.
Swamp Pop Summit with Phil Phillips, King Karl, Warren Storm, Tommy McLain, and C.C. Adcock 4:10 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Swamp Pop Probably the most historic booking at this year's Jazz Fest, the south Louisiana genre of swamp pop gets its glorious due with an all-star billing that includes the debut Jazz Fest appearance of Phillips, whose sultry song 'Sea of Love' is the most famous of all swamp-pop classics. Also of legendary status are Tommy McLain, Warren Storm and King Karl -- and King Karl is also making his first-ever Jazz Fest appearance. Lafayette rocker C.C. Adcock will serve as ringmaster.
Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
4:15 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, under the creative direction of trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and pianist Ronald Markham, plays repertory jazz from the masters as well as newly commissioned works. 'New Orleans Then and Now,' Mayfield's most recent composition for NOJO, paid tribute to New Orleans' musical giants recently at a New York's Lincoln Center concert. (See CD reviews in this issue.)
Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias
4:20 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Mardi Gras Indians The Wild Magnolias' self-titled 1974 debut album put traditional Mardi Gras Indian vocals atop a funky backing band, a far cry from cowbells and tamborines. Today the sound, though less revolutionary, continues to fan the flames of hardcore New Orleans funk. Dollis still performs a couple tunes, but he has passed the torch to his son Gerard, who shares the same powerfully raspy voice. Percussionist Norwood 'Geetchie' Johnson and guitarist June Yamagishi make it one of the best Indian bands in the city.
4:30 p.m., Lagniappe Stage, Traditional Jazz The lovely Ingrid Lucia rules her stage with the grace and style of a classic jazz songstress of yesteryear. While her sound falls in the swing/jazz category, Lucia's disparate influences can be found on her albums that feature her originals, standards like 'Stars Fell on Alabama' as well as covers of artists such as Lou Reed and The Kinks.
4:30 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel This son of an African Methodist Episcopal minister won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album for his 2004 album, Nothing Without You. Grounded in the church, where he first performed when he was 4, there's also an urban, neo-soul vibe in his contemporary gospel.
Bob French & the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band
4:35 p.m., Economy Hall Tent, Traditional Jazz Few voices are as instantly recognizable on local morning radio as the baritone of Bob French on WWOZ. And anyone who has spent a Monday night at the packed Bob French and Friends gig at Donna's Bar & Grill can tell you that no one can preside from the stage like he can -- and he does it while playing classic rhythms and balancing a glass of cognac on his drum. His band members riff on traditional jazz like they've been playing it all their lives (and some have).
5:30 p.m., Acura Stage, Rock The Beach Boys' hit singles only hinted at Brian Wilson's gift for harmony and composition. For years, Pet Sounds has stood as his crowning achievement, matching a more introspective take on teenage life to orchestrated pop songs. The album and his legendary problems overshadowed his beautiful contributions to the Beach Boys' '70s albums, so it's nice to have his recreation of Smile last year to underscore the scope of his ambition and talent. (Featured in this issue.)
Harmonica Tribute to Little Walter featuring Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton, Jerry Portnoy, Carrie Bell, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone and J. Monque' D
5:30 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent, Blues Louisiana-born Marion 'Little' Walter Jacobs was the hottest harmonica player in Chicago from his debut with the Muddy Waters band in 1948 on through the golden age of urban blues. He also befriended and inspired Charlie Musselwhite when, as a teenager, Musselwhite moved from his Mississippi home to Chicago. James Cotton, a giant in his own right, took over Walter's role in the Muddy Waters band. With Jerry Portnoy, Carrie Bell and Jumpin' Johnny Sansone joining the party, you can be sure 'Everything Gonna Be All Right.' (Featured in this issue.)
Hot 8 Brass Band
5:40 p.m., Jazz & Heritage Stage, Brass Band About 10 years ago, two young brass bands -- the Looney Tunes and the High Steppers -- united to form the Hot 8. The octet is led by tuba player Bennie Pete, and the band's music mix reflects its makeup -- youngsters straight out of high school and seasoned instrumentalists like trumpeter Raymond Williams. Their new record Rock With the Hot 8 mixes hip-hop with the brass-band sound. Despite the tragic death of trombone player Joe Williams, the Hot 8 is still among the top New Orleans brass bands. (Featured in this issue; also see CD reviews in this issue.)
Jazz Messengers Legacy Band with Benny Golson featuring Curtis Fuller, Buster Williams, Carl Allen, Valery Pomorav and Mike LeDonne
5:45 p.m., BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent, Contemporary Jazz The late Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers featured some of the hottest musicians to ever play jazz, including New Orleans' own Wynton and Branford Marsalis, and Terence Blanchard. The Jazz Messengers Legacy Band features two of the most important alumni of the original group: tenor Benny Golson and trombonist Curtis Fuller. Golson played with the Jazz Messengers from 1956 to 1958 and then went on to establish himself as a leading jazz composer and performer. Fuller, one of the most fluid players to ever pick up a trombone, worked with Blakey from 1961 to 1965.
5:45 p.m., Congo Square Stage, Latin This Colombian-born singer-songwriter and acclaimed social poet emerged in late 1999 from a prior career in heavy-metal music to become Latin music's No. 1 idol. Winner of numerous awards from the Latin Grammys to MTV Awards to Billboard chart toppers, Juanes also holds the distinction of being the only Latin artist ever to be sponsored by Fender guitars. His total radio dominance of hit singles from his four album releases is testimony to a short, half-decade career that has caused a virtual explosion on the Latin alternative music scene.
Tyronne Foster & the Arc Singers
5:40 p.m., Rhodes Gospel Tent, Gospel With 65 voices and a band that includes funk/R&B bassist Cornell Williams, Tyronne Foster & the Arc Singers brings a lot of energy to performances. Together for 20 years, the group balances traditional and contemporary gospel according to the mood of the crowd.
5:40 p.m., Sprint/Sanyo Stage, Hip-hop Nelly and his merry band of St. Lunatics tore up the hip-hop scene with his infectious sing-song lyrical style in 2000 and then did it again with his uber-hit 'Hot in Herre' in 2003. This year sees the rapper take a turn toward R&B with his new double album Sweat/Suit.
Otis Joseph & Zamar
5:55 p.m., Louisiana Live Lagniappe Stage, Gospel New Orleans native Otis Joseph began singing gospel when he was 7. He is now based in Philadelphia with Zamar -- 12 vocalists from the Northeast. They have released two CDs including 2004's All Glory Is Yours.
BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
6 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Cajun Last year's Gitane Cajun found BeauSoleil returning to the studio with a new, smart collection of Cajun-inspired tunes. The disc's title translates to 'Gypsy Cajun,' an apt description of the band's deep yet eclectic approach to the tradition. BeauSoleil features fiddler Michael Doucet and his flat-picking brother, David Doucet. Live festival shows never fail to get the dust or mud flying off of dancers' shoes, propelled by secret weapons like accordionist Jimmy Breaux, drummer Tommy Alesi, percussionist Billy Ware, and everything-player Al Tharp.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
6 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 Preservation Hall Recordings is raising the band's profile even higher, as well as spotlighting the great jazz figures who have passed through its ranks.
- Blues legend Buddy Guy shows why he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Sprint/Sanyp Stage at 3:40 p.m. Saturday, April 23.
- Steve Winwood returns to Jazz Fest this year to complete last year's rain-shortened set at the Acura Stage at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 22.
- G. Love & Special Sauce -- with local Jeffrey Clemens on drums -- performs at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24.
- 2005 Congo Square @ The Jazz Fest Poster: "Gate" by George Hunt. Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown is a musical gumbi, a tasty melange of blues, R&B, country, swing, bebop and Cajun simmered to perfection for 80 years. This Congo Square poster, the first to portray a musical icon, was done by George Hunt, whose work graced the White House and whose life paralleled Gate's. As a teenager in the '50s, Hunt first saw Gate perform and the impact of that encounter informs this work. For more information, visit www.art4now.com.
- Louisiana guitar wizard Sonny Landreth works his magic at the Sprint/Sanyo Stage at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 22.
- Los Angeles' ska/rock veteran Fishbone makes its debut at Jazz Fest at the Congo Square Stage at 2:25 p.m. Saturday, April 23.
- The Shirley Horn Trio closes out the BellSouth/WWOZ Jazz Tent at 5:40 p.m. Saturday, April 23.
- As a part of "El Dia Latino" -- a day of special Latin music programming at the Congo Square Stage -- Julieta Venegas performs at 2:35 p.m. Sunday, April 24.
- Cajun music institution BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet provides the last chance to dance on the first weekend at the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 24.