New Orleans & Jazzfest Recap (Part 3)
Day three of the New Orleans adventure brought clear skies and warm temps. Crowds of music lovers flocked to enjoy the sunshine and another day’s schedule packed with great artists…We arrived at the fairgrounds shortly after the gates opened and I started off with a creamy, savory Crawfish Monica from Kajun Kettle. We headed to the Congo Square Stage to check out the New Orleans Hip Hop Experience, which featured local up-and-coming hip hop artists – some sweet beats and smooth flow to warm up our ears. Upon departing the area I was caught by the sound of drums coming from a small tent and was elated to find a drum and string band from Senegal. These guys were fantastic, exotic, and hypnotizing.
I could have watched & listened to the Senegalese band for hours, but there was a big show on the agenda in the Jazz Tent – the Fleur Debris Superband. Fleur Debris featured one of my favorite drummers, Zigaboo Modeliste, and his Meters bass player George Porter, Jr., along with Nicholas Payton on trumpet and David Torkanowsky on keys (they also had a sax player sit in for half the set, but I never caught his name). These guys were stellar – great compositions that spoke to me on an intellectual level and a gut level at the same time.
After the superband I grabbed an awesomely rich trout baquet topped with crab from Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe, but there was no time to dawdle as New Orleans’ own Galactic was due to start shortly on the Gentilly Stage, on the opposite end of the fairgrounds. I love Galactic for their energy and dance-ability, and I give a lot of the credit for that to another one of my favorite drummers, Stanton Moore. The crowd was ready for somethin’ fun & funky and the band delivered. Their rendition of ‘When the Levee Breaks’ with David Shaw of The Revivalists was powerful and poignant.
After getting our boogie on we were headed across the grounds to see the Stanley Clarke/George Duke Project back at the Jazz Tent. On our way, though, we were fortunate enough to catch a bit of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Economy Hall Tent. They are a New Orleans institution playing traditional jazz for new and old generations (and they were accompanied by a dancing couple demonstrating all the hip moves of the early 20th century). At the Jazz Tent, Stanley Clarke was an absolute monster on the bass, playing like he was from another planet. He and George Duke are really something special when they get together.
After an afternoon of running from stage to stage we decided to just meander for a while, picking up some broccoli & cheese pies from Mrs. Wheat’s Fabulous Foods and a shrimp po-boy from Vucinovich’s. We ended up back at the Economy Hall Tent where we enjoyed the Paulin Bros. Brass Band. Then we hung out with the Free Agents Brass Band at the Jazz & Heritage Stage. At that point the day’s festivities were mostly wrapped up so we decided to head out, but on our way we were fortunate to catch Los Lobos‘ encore of the Grateful Dead’s Bertha!
Leaving on that high, we decided to walk back to the hotel, which afforded us a nice dusk tour of a few different neighborhoods that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Evidently exhausted, I then fell quickly to rest for the next twelve hours, which would leave just one final day. Stay tuned for the last installment…