Day 11 / Sunday, May 3

Meters 5

 As everybody knows, all good things must come to an end. The last day at Jazz Fest is never easy because you know that tomorrow you'll be sitting in the airport and getting on a plane. You just have to make the best of it. But you can do that because there will absolutely be some good music and food to be had! 

So, one more time, we did the 2015 drill: get up ... get ready ... slather on sunblock ... gather tickets, cameras, and phones, but not our blue and white umbrella and used poncho-type pieces of plastic. 

Why no umbrella and ponchos? More perfect weather, basically an exact repeat of the last three days. We were definitely spoiled this year, weather-wise. The official high was 82, with humidity in the low 50's, meaning more direct sun. The breeze was again light to nonexistent. As we headed out to the shuttle buses at the Sheraton, the temperature was in the upper 70's. It just felt perfect. There are times, particularly in the morning and evening, when New Orleans feels like a beach resort; after all, it is technically located very close to the ocean. 

The skywriter was back today, providing a neat distraction as the bus headed up Canal Street and across Broad Street to the Fair Grounds.

Yesterday's huge crowds were down to a manageable level today, so we were back to arriving at Jazz Fest with plenty of time to spare for some food before the music started. And self-pity. Nobody wants Jazz Fest to end! Here are today's cubes so you can see the choices we had to make from today's incredibly good lineup.

My food was a crawfish sausage po'boy from Vaucresson's stand (see Day 11 in 2013 and Day 9 in 2014). Accentuated with spicy Creole mustard and paired with a Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, it is an awesome late breakfast.

Laurie started the day with couscous with yogurt sauce from Gambian Foods (a repeat from Day 3 in 2012) and chased that with a fresh fruit salad from Joyce's Lemonade (a repeat from Day 10 last year). Joyce Brossett does Jazz Fest as a part-time gig. The rest of the year she can be found at Xavier University in her job as a business manager.

We listened to some great Mardi Gras Indian funk from Big Chief Kevin Goodman and the Flaming Arrows at the Jazz and Heritage stage while we ate. 

This year is the 10th anniversary of hurricane Katrina and the failure of Federal levee system afterward. Goodman's story and a couple of others in today's report will take the place of a soapbox on my part. 

Goodman grew up in the 7th Ward, where Frenchmen Street crosses North Rocheblave. "That's the in back of town, near Tootie Montana," he says, proudly citing the late Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas tribe as a neighbor. Goodman inherited his title from his father, Therdot Goodman, a.k.a. Big Chief Merk, who left the Medallion Hunters tribe to establish the Flaming Arrows in 1963. Mardi Gras Indian tribes rise, disband, shift, and regroup all the time; one example is when Donald Harrison Jr. left the Guardians of the Flame, where his father was Big Chief, and formed the Congo Nation (the link on Harrison is to an interesting interview that focuses on his role in Mardi Gras Indian culture).

Goodman says, "I think my dad chose the name from the Bible, when God sent the flaming arrow at Adam and Eve after she ate the apple. Fire is beautiful, but it destroys.

"When I was a kid, Mardi Gras Day was one of the days that we all looked forward to. We would get to put on these beautiful costumes. We would go out and have fun. Now my dad’s grandchildren -- my kids, my brother's and sister's kids —- they've become part of the tradition, too. The tradition has spread from generation to generation. Flaming Arrows is a family tribe. But my dad is the one that started it. He raised me and was my constant Chief and made my costumes and showed me the way."

The Flaming Arrows practiced at the Tremé Music Hall at Ursulines and North Robertson until it closed, then the Who Dat Bar on Esplanade. They were led by Goodman's powerful voice, fluent delivery, and personal treatment of the established Mardi Gras Indian texts. They met up with the late Milton Batiste, Ken "Afro" Williams, and a group of musicians who were part of Batiste's Dubat Records studio krewe (Dubat Records promoted New Orleans brass band music and R&B).

This happy musical alliance resulted in an incredible sound. Goodman and the Flaming Arrows delivered fresh takes on old-time classics like Shallow Water (Oh Mama), Shoo Fly, Li'l Liza Jane, and Sew, Sew, Sew. They gave Corey Died on the Battle Field a whole new arrangement, and did impassioned, straight-ahead versions of modern favorites like Indians, Here We Come, Let's Go Get 'Em, and Here Comes the Indians Now. They are backed by guitarists Harry Sterling and Mario Tio, bassists Harold Scott and Mike Venable, drummer Eneal Wimberly, Bobby Love on organ, Joe Saulsbury on sax, and Williams on percussion. 

They Flaming Arrows have even fashioned two new chants: Hell Out the Way and My Gang Don't Bow Down, which will no doubt become as much a part of the Mardi Gras Indian repertoire.

The Flaming Arrows marched the streets of the 7th Ward for more than 40 years. Goodman, who also worked as a house painter, was Big Chief for 16 of those years and had never missed a Mardi Gras. 

That is, until Katrina. Goodman recalled August 2005. "I watched the storm from my front door. Katrina came and then she was gone. When it was over, the sun came out. Then the levee broke."

Goodman and his family waded through the floodwaters and used a wood door to float the small children to a nearby church where they huddled with dozens of other survivors. They were picked up the next day by some men from the neighborhood with a boat and taken to an I-10 overpass. They hiked the elevated highway in 100-degree heat. After they reached the dry ground of the Ernest Morial Convention Center  they spent four days in the heat with little food and water, no toilets, and no electricity.

When rescue finally came, they boarded a plane before being told that they were going to to Austin, Texas, a city Goodman knew nothing about. A few hours later they were at the downtown convention center, where he arrived with literally nothing but the clothes on his back.

The Federal flood left his neighborhood under 6 feet of water. Everyone important in his life was scattered across the South, from San Antonio to Atlanta. Like so many other New Orleanians who loved their city but lived by modest means, the flood took a tremendous toll. His brother and sister-in-law died and his niece spent months in critical condition in a Dallas hospital, all from illnesses exacerbated by exposure to toxic floodwaters and the stresses of dislocation.

Beyond that, Goodman lost his New Orleans, the 10 or so blocks of the 7th Ward he called home. Places like the 7th Ward were the soul of the city, which is defined by its patchwork of neighborhoods. Schools and churches, corner stores and bars, and extended families that went back for generations wove a network of support and survival, and were a source of the city's culture and creativity.

"Even though New Orleans was ragged, it was beautiful to me," Goodman said recently. "I know New Orleans like the back of my hand, every Indian and every Indian suit. I loved sewing, I loved masking, I loved singing and dancing -- anything that went on with a tambourine and a drumbeat, I was there. It still makes me angry when I think of the way we suffered."

"Before the hurricane, I could walk three blocks and see most of my family -- grandmother, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandbabies, all of them being raised right there," Goodman remembers. "I could go out my front door and see my people, the people who loved me -- that's what kept us together.

"We knew that on Carnival morning everybody in the neighborhood was going to be in front of our door, because they knew we were going to have the most beautiful costumes. "Our grandmothers and the old people in the neighborhood looked forward to seeing us on Mardi Gras Day. That's what we did it for. But none of them are there anymore."

"I keep thinking about Mrs. Marker," says Goodman, recalling an elderly neighbor. "She wasn't my blood relation, but she was like my grandmother to me. She told me, 'Son, don't hang out on that street corner. Son, don't pick up no gun.' All those elderly ladies, we were all brought up to respect these people, and that's who raised us and taught us right from wrong. So where are we going to be now without them?"

Camped out in Austin's convention center while the city made housing arrangements, Goodman and other evacuees started playing music on donated instruments. During the second week, Goodman organized a second-line parade. Cyril Neville had relocated to Austin and came by the convention center to join some jam sessions. Later that month, Goodman joined Neville’s new Austin-based band, Tribe 13, for a performance at Antone’s, the famous downtown blues club.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say the reception we got was a 10-plus," Goodman says. "The people really enjoyed our work and our costumes and our performances."

Goodman had lost everything in his New Orleans apartment, including sewing material worth thousands of dollars and two Indian suits considered priceless, but was able to send for two other suits that survived the flood at the Backstreet Cultural Museum in the Tremé neighborhood. He marched as Big Chief for Austin's New Year and Mardi Gras celebrations and appeared at the annual South by Southwest music festival. 

"I never missed a Mardi Gras in 45 years and I didn't miss it in 2006 -- I just did it in Austin," Goodman says. "I still have the Indian spirit that carries me everywhere I go. That gets me through whatever situation I'm in. We just want to keep the New Orleans spirit alive. Keep the flame going." 

Goodman is now back in New Orleans, trying to make it work. One can only wish him all the success in the world as an ambassador of one of America’s unique cultural treasures and a darn good musician, too. Here is my video from today;s performance.

Laurie cut out for the Acura Stage as soon as she was done eating so she could catch George Porter Jr. and the Runnin' Pardners. We've seen this great band a number of times, on Day 2 in 2013, Day 11 last year, and at The Hamilton in D.C. Porter, who as we all know by now (don't we?) played bass in the band who started it all, the Meters (see below). He continues the Meters' legacy with Art Neville in the Funky Meters, and he plays in other bands, too, but this band, with Brint Anderson on guitar, Michael Lemmler on keyboards, Khris Royal on sax, and Terrence Houston on drums, is among the best in the city. They are tight and they are funky, a great combination. 

From Jazz Fest this year, here is a brief video to give an idea of what Laurie saw, and from later this year at the Terminal West club in Atlanta are Funksomethingness, Ease Back, Pallet on the FloorBe Careful Who You Idolize, and Is Pray.


I lingered with Big Chief Goodman for awhile longer, but eventually cut across the infield to Congo Square to see Brother Tyrone and the Mindbenders, a bunch of local guys who do old-style R&B, and they do it very well.

There is a bit of background on Brother Tyrone in the Day 9 report from last year, when we saw the last few minutes of his show, but I found more of his story while getting ready to do this report. He is another one of New Orleans' unrecognized treasures. 

Tyrone Pollard was born in the city in 1957, in Charity Hospital, and was raised in the Irish Channel neighborhood, between the Garden District and the Mississippi River. His father owned a gas station, where Tyrone worked long hours earning money to spend on records. 

"My dad was big into music," Tyrone said. "He had all the 8-tracks in the car with him: Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Isaac Hayes. He loved music. Johnnie Taylor was his main man.

"Me, my mom would be cookin' and I'd be the deejay. I'd play all the old stuff, Hank Ballard, Bobby Bland -- I was a big Bobby Bland fan from day one.

"I was in a talent show when I was 8, a high-school talent show at that. I was pretty good. I didn't win or anything, but I tripped everybody out. I did James Brown's I Feel Good.

"I always liked to hang around record stores. And when I got to high school I got in a little band, had to be about 1973. I was in 9th or 10th grade. Mem Shannon played guitar with us.

"When we was coming up in the 1970's it was all about the funk thing, Earth Wind and Fire, the Bar-Kays, the Commodores, people like that. But the blues thing, I've always been into that because even though I was listening to people like Barry White, Marvin Gaye, at the same time I was listening to Ray Charles, Z.Z. Hill, Tyrone Davis. When B.B. King and Bobby Bland did 'Together for the First Time,' I wore that album out. So blues and straight-up R&B have always been a thing for me.

"Ernie K-Doe, Benny Spellman (here's Part 2), Jessie Hill -- I listened to all that. But at that time that particular New Orleans era was going out. The Meters (see below), especially the 'Rejuvenation' album, that was the big thing. And a group called Chocolate Milk. But as far as Ernie K-Doe or something like that, that was like oldies stuff. You didn't get to hear that stuff until WWOZ came along in 1980.

"I always bought records. I'm a collector. I got 78's. I've got an original Little Walter on 78 doing Last Night. I'm a big Charles Brown fan. I've got a lot of his stuff on 78. I started out with 45's. I still got a lot of them. Then I would buy four or five albums a week. I would go to Jim Russell's Rare Records on Magazine Street near daddy's gas station (here's Jim Russell himself, in the store, telling it like it is ... really). The Bobby Bland stuff that came out on Duke. I have O.V. Wright records on Back Beat -- Don't Let My Baby Ride. James Carr, got a lot of his stuff. In fact my dad turned me on to him -- first time I ever heard James Carr he had him in the car. You Got My Mind Messed Up, that's a bad record. I've been a James Brown fan all my life. I have all his doo-wop stuff on Federal."

Brother Tyrone found an outlet for his love of music by by being a deejay at clubs. His mother gave him the name Dr. T., the man with the Ph.D. in soulology. "Whenever I could get away I'd go sit in at the Fox Lounge, on Washington near Broad. I would go there and rock the house." 

By the 1980's, Tyrone was at the forefront of a thriving and vital R&B scene in New Orleans, playing long and legendary stints at the Golden Pheasant, the Candlelight, Grease’s Bar, Two Jacks, and Guitar Joe’s House of Blues. In these clubs, he established his "underground legend" status, quickly becoming a draw for fans and local musicians alike.

"I went to the Fox one night and (the late) 'Tricky Dick' Dixon was playing. He's a living legend in my book, one of the first electric bass players in the city. He played with Eddie Bo on Check Your Bucket, all his hits."

Dixon had hired a young Walter 'Wolfman' Washington to play with him behind Lee Dorsey and Johnny Adams. He played with Fats Domino, Snooks Eaglin, and Tommy Ridgely. And he provided George Porter Jr., with his fist bass. "He liked me," Tyrone continued, "And he liked the way I was singing, and I ended up singing with his band at Grease's. I started making money."

He met guitarist Ernest Eglin while playing with Dixon at the Red Light on the West Bank. It was Eglin who dubbed Pollard Brother Tyrone. He was impressed with Tyrone's talent and great knowledge of music, but it took him awhile to convince him that there was an audience for his music beyond neighborhood clubs.

Brother Tyrone did not make his first recording until 1999. "Blue Ghetto" was made in a single day and received intense radio airplay in New Orleans. It led to gigs at more prominent venues such as the Old Point Bar in Algiers, the Funky Butt on Rampart, and the House of Blues, where Tyrone once opened for Bobby Bland himself. He made his first appearance at Jazz Fest in 2001.

"Blue Ghetto" can still be found on the jukeboxes at many of the small bars and taverns in the city. Eglin planned to remaster the quickly recorded album, but the master tapes were lost in the flood. 

Speaking of the flood, here's brother Tyrone's story. When the levees failed, Tyrone was in his girlfriend's apartment in the Lafitte projects. They gathered her daughter and grandchildren and waded through chest-high water, finally making their way to the Morial Convention Center. After two days, they were able to reach Baton Rouge in the back of a stolen pickup truck. On his first trip back to the city, he fetched his record collection, which he had stashed, safely, high in a closet. 

In 2008, as the city slowly returned, Tyrone and Eglin started work on "Mindbender," his first new recording in almost eight years. It brought him accolades from soul music aficionados all over the world. Eglin contributed four Katrina-themed songs to the recording. They returned to active performing in 2010.

"When I was young and dreaming of this, I couldn't get it," Tyrone says. "Now I'm old, and here it come. Like to do a show at Jazz Fest with all the original material that nobody's done but me, that I put my own fingerprint on. That's something to be desired, and I thank the Lord above for that. This voice and this soul been kicking around New Orleans for over 30 years, and this is a dream come true."

With a great voice, two gospel-singing pastors on backing vocals (Reverend Mark Sandifer and Brother Joey Gilmore), and a polished band (Marc Adams, Gary Nabonne, Jack Cruz, and Eglin) behind him, Brother Tyrone's show takes you back to the 1960's without leaving the present day. His grooving seems effortless, and his laid-back style generates nothing but a great feeling. At the end of the show he leaves the stage as the band plays on, only to come back several times, much to the crowd's delight.

Here's my video from this really, really good show. Old school, you gotta love it.  There's more video of Brother Tyrone and the Mindbenders at Day 9 last year.

Laurie and I met at the back of the Fais Do Do stage to next see the young Cajun band Feufollet, yet another product of Lafayette. We saw this band perform at Fais Do Do on Day 3 in 2012 and were happy to have an opportunity so see them again. Taking their lead from Steve Riley, Bonsoir Catin, and the Lost Bayou Ramblers, they are doing incredible things with Cajun music. 

Some members of Feufollet weren't even in high school when they came together as a group of Cajun music enthusiasts intent on preserving the sounds and language of South Louisiana. They are accomplished musicians and performers, showing ease and confidence on stage. They were nominated for a Grammy in 2010, and their sound has been progressing by leaps and bounds since then.

Feufollet was born from the collaboration of fiddler Chris Segura and multi-instrumentalist Chris Stafford 20 years ago, when the former was just 12 and the latter only 9. They recorded their first full-length CD in 1999 (when Segura and Stafford were 15 and 12, respectively). With their Cajun legacy in hand, their youthful energy and a desire for innovation clearly set them apart. Even the name they chose -- a Cajun reference to spectral lights that sometimes appear over swampland, caused by the release of gaseous deposits embedded in the muck below -- represented their youth with its vernacular translation: crazy fire. 

As much as they are reimagining Cajun music, Feufollet is firmly located in Cajun-style honky tonk, with an easy swinging dancehall feel. On top of that foundation, chiming guitars, fiddle-based riffs, and accordion-inspired swirls of dense sound washes mix with eerie modulations of indie-rock harmonies. It's very cool, and it really goes beyond reimagining to reinvention. The songwriting is incredibly good as well, intriguing and even profound, confident and melodic.

Les Festivals Acadiens et Créoles is a massive, three-day presentation of local music, regional food, and the best handcrafts that has taken place in Lafayette in mid-October for the last 40 years. The festival's music director, Barry Jean Ancelet, is both a chaired professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor and a kind of reigning elder over the revical of traditional Cajun music. He takes his music very seriously.

"We listen to hours of radio," Ancelet said, in describing how the annual festival’s music is programmed. "We go out to local performances and pay close attention to what records are coming out. In real terms, we try with each festival to present the state of the art, where Cajun music and Creole music are at this particular moment.

"The people who are invited to play at the festival are obviously standing out that year. They're clearly doing something that genuinely matters. Feufollet is doin' real stuff, they're the real deal. And they keep pushing their own boundaries, on their own, just to keep getting better. They're just amazing.”

Feufollet was unable to grab any momentum from their Grammy-nominated recording. The reason is not simple. The question was wehther they were unable or unwilling. Feufollet is beyond all doubt a Lafayette-centric band, like their counterparts Riley, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Bonsoir Catin, the Pine Leaf BoysCedric Watson and Bijou Creole, Corey Ledet and his band, Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars, and the Yvette Landry Band, all of whom are engaged in a new resurgence of time-tested Cajun music traditions. For these bands, and their indie rock cousins Brass Bed and the Givers, it's the music that matters.

For all of them, fame and success are good, and always considered a viable goal, but having the music, and forming the kind of genuine camaraderie that actually gives birth to the music, is considered essential.


Perhaps the greatest disruption to life-as-they-knew it for Feufollet was the departure of long-time female vocalist Anna Laura Edmiston, a free-spirited multi-instrumentalist who brought a sense of both passion and playfulness to the band's stage presence. As Feufollet was in the process of organically developing their new sound, Edmiston left to join an equestrian-oriented, traveling extravaganza in Canada. 

Fortunately, a viable replacement was not far away. Kelli Jones-Savoy, a North Carolina immigrant raised in the old-time country music tradition had become a good friend of the band during her years spent in Louisiana since 2006 absorbing the Cajun heritage. "All the members of Feufollet, including Anna Laura, have been good friends of mine since I moved here," Jones-Savoy explains.

"They are a great group of people and are a big part of the wonderfully talented and supportive community that I fell in love with when I came to this part of the country. I do have to say, though, that when they asked me to be in the band I was nervous as well as honored. They had such a great band vibe, a real connection with each other, and a fairly extensive repertoire with Anna Laura, so adding a new member meant adjusting all that, and that can be a very delicate situation."

But Jones-Savoy, who is also proficient on guitar and fiddle in addition to singing, has helped focus the band's new sound, bringing a wealth of new musical references and writing new compositions that have become central components of the band's current repertoire.

Jones-Savoy is not the only new addition to the band's lineup, which also includes Chris Stafford's brother Michael on drums (a member since he was eight years old) and Philippe Billeaudeaux, who joined seven years ago after a stint with Brass Bed, on bass. They also recently added keyboardist Andrew Toups to the mix full-time (also from Brass Bed). Toups, like Jones-Savoy, adds a super-sensitive ear and the ability to overlap textures, extending especially Chris Stafford’s accordion swirls into deep-background swells of electronically elastic, harmonic chording. 

Jones-Savoy's fiddle is more Appalachian than Cajun, and Toups on the keys shifts from gospel-soul licks to rootsy, mournful Garth Hudson warmth. The result is a broader sampler platter of Americana: some Lafayette, some Nashville, some Laurel Canyon-style cosmic American music. Andy Bianculli on guitar adds a rock and roll edge to the proceedings. 

When asked if it was difficult transitioning from Appalachian mountain music to Cajun culture, Jones-Savoy said, "Learning another genre of music is very similar to learning another language. "The 'vocabulary' of common melodies and chord changes within the songs, which were all very new and different when I started trying to play Cajun music, but become more predictable and easier to understand as I played it more and more.

"Learning more about Cajun music and culture has helped me learn not just the music, but about music and culture in general."

Feufollet describe themselves as "a band deeply rooted in the Francophone soil of Louisiana and pushing boldly into unexplored yet utterly natural varieties of Cajun experience." It is, however, impossible to tell just how far they are prepared to go. Will they considerably expand their standing in Cajun and world-music circles, or will they make the leap into mainstream Americana listening territory? Will they become the first of the young Cajun bands to break the French/English-language market barrier?

If they do, it may well be a victory not just for the band itself but for the entire vanguard Cajun rockers as well, and that would be totally in keeping with the communal instincts of Cajun tradition, calling for a change in status of a decade-long new wave of a several-decades-long Cajun music revival.

The greater part of their set today was drawn fromtheir new recording, "Two Universes," plus the penultimate Cajun-spiced cover of Brian Eno's Baby's On Fire that they like to drop into the set. Jones-Savoy and Stafford's voices twine beautifully together on duets like the Bob Dylan cut Mozambique from 1976's exotic "Desire." They've been compared to Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in the 70's. The set's closer was a hot, rocking two-step sung in French.

This was an awesome performance by a band that has become one of our favorites. Here is my video which includes the two covers mentioned above, and here is a full two hours from later this year at a concert on the lakefront in Milwaukee.


We had some time to kill before our next music, so, like any self-respecting Jazz Festers, we got some food. Laurie had the crawfish enchilada from Prejean's Restaurant of Lafayette. Between this dish and their crab and crawfish stuffed mushrooms and devastatingly good pheasant, quail, and andouille gumbo, we've eaten from this food stand more times than I can count. This time won't be the last. Well, maybe for this year.

I had another one of Creole's stuffed breads (see Day 8 this year) I gotta tell you, this fresh bread stuffed with beef, sausages, a bit of cheese, and spices is the perfect Jazz Fest food, and for the life of me I don't know why it took me until this year to try it. Well, Creole's wasn't at Jazz Fest last year, so that certainly contributed.

After the food, we walked together over to Heritage Square. Laurie left me at the Jazz Tent while she continued on over to the Acura stage. 

I was at the Jazz Tent to hear some of Jason Marsalis. I saw some of his set on Day 3 in 2013, so you can read a bit about him then. He is very popular in New Orleans and it is always difficult to get into the tent for his performances, which I couldn't, so I watched some of this really good music from the edge of the crowd on the far side of the tent. Today he was playing vibes, not drums, which is just such a great jazz sound. Austin Johnson was on piano, Will Goble on bass, and David Potter on drums. Here's a few minutes of what I saw in the Jazz Tent.

However, as good as Jason Marsalis is, I could not resist the urge to join Laurie at the Acura stage, where the original Meters were giving a rare performance. As I've discussed a lot on these pages the Meters -- Art Neville, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr., and Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste -- started it all. You can learn a bit more about their history in the Dumpstaphunk (with Art Neville) report from Day 11 last year.

                    

These godfathers of New Orleans funk played an incredible set just absolutely crammed with classic tunes. They were joined by a horn section that included Khris Royal. Also two additional Neville family members, Ivan Neville (Art's nephew) for a second keyboards and, for an extended period in the middle of the set, Cyril Neville on vocals. Cyril joined the Meters as a vocalist and percussionist in the 1970's, so this made the performance even more legit. 

You couldn't really expect thse guys after so many years apart to be as tight as they had been, but the music still flowed effortlessly.

Cissy Strut was what Cissy Strut is: funk stripped back until there's nothing left but funk, a song built on a riff so heavy that three instruments -– bass, guitar, and organ -– have to lend their muscle to it. Fire on the Bayou started with Nocentelli's easy guitar, soared when the band fell in behind him, and ended with an incredible guitar solo.

Cyril Neville brought a frontman's presence to the stage. He introduced (The World is a Little Bit Under the Weather) Doodle-Oop with the observation that its message "is still relevant today," despite having been written more than 30 years ago. His impassioned vocal performance left no room to argue. They repeated the title line over and over and over until you were a believer. 

There wasn't much left of the show after that highpoint, but what was left was great: an epic Just Kissed My Baby, which allowed all four members to solo, and It Ain't No Use, with Art Neville on lead vocal and Porter and Nocentelli trading licks, literally toe to toe. What a thrill to see this great -- and important -- band together again. It was one of those Jazz Fest moments that become etched in one's memory. I'm very glad I got over to the Acura stage to see most of it.

Here's my video of this performance. I highly recommend that if you are not familiar with the Meters that you take some time to listen to these classic recordings, "The Meters," "Look-Ka Py Py," "Rejuvenation," and "Fire on the Bayou" from 1969 to 1975. You will be glad you did.


After the Meters left the stage, Laurie decided that she was going to do some final-day BNA's (big-name artists) for awhile. On the other hand, I went off to do some final-day roaming before a performance that was a must-see for me.

First up for Laurie, at the Acura stage, was Lenny Kravitz, who blended glamor and grit in his performance on this hot afternoon. At one point he got the large crowd to  chant along with Let Love Rule, then descended from the stage and strode through a crush of fans, accepting pats on the back, smiling for photos and videos, and at least once dancing with an impromptu partner. 

"It's so good to be back in New Orleans, playing on the same stage as my family, the Meters and Trombone Shorty," Kravitz, who once owned a French Quarter home, told the audience. His classic "I Want to Get Away," nearly brought the show to a conclusion, but there was one more treat in store. Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, who would close out Jazz Fest on the same stage, appeared beside Kravitz. Andrews then contributed stunning slide pyrotechnics to the closing number, Are You Gonna Go My Way? Here's the AXS-TV video with some of this show.

Next, she took one final long walk across the Fair Grounds to the Gentilly stage, stopping at La Divina's stand to get a cup of their Azteca (spicy chocolate) gelato.

She was at Gentilly to see the end of rock icon Steve Winwood's performance. It really bummed me out that I couldn't see this. I love Winwood's music, his voice, and both his guitar and Hammond B-3 playing. His soul-infused set today filled the same role as John Fogerty did last year at Gentilly: an elder statesman of rock who is comfortable with his legacy and able to make it seem both nostalgic and alive.

Winwood was still a teenager when he first charted with the Spencer Davis Group in the early 1960's. He released landmark albums with that band, Traffic, and Blind Faith. A solo career in the 1980's scored him a string of finely crafted pop singles.

He sampled from all eras of his career at Jazz Fest. He revived the Spencer Davis Group's hit I'm a Man. From Blind Faith, he did Had to Cry Today and Can't Find My Way Home. They did Traffic's simmering The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and Light Up or Leave Me Alone. Higher Love represented his 1980's pop period. Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy and the Spencer Davis Group's Gimme Some Lovin' ended the performance. Here are AXS-TV's excerpts.

Meanwhile, I first hit the Fais Do Do stage to catch a glimpse of Kim Carson and her band the Real Deal. Carson is an 18-year veteran of the New Orleans music scene. She's recognized as one of the best country honkytonk singer-songwriters performing along the Gulf Coast and in southern Texas. With her authentic dance hall sound and years of consistent touring, she is the undisputed guardian of Louisiana honkytonk music. 

Carson was born in Oklahoma and raised in Canyon, Texas, near Amarillo. After doing a stint as a DJ, she took the performing and songwriter plunge. "Music has always been part of me," she says. "I really think I need it like sunshine. I had another career and my grandmother said she had always hoped I'd be a singer. When my grandma died I decided to give singing a try, and in 1993 I started singing with a friend's band. The next year my granddad called me and said he had a dream that I had written a song and it was a good song. He told me to try to write one, and I did. I began playing guitar soon after so I could continue to write."

After Katrina, she lost everything except a guitar, a pair of boots and a new pair of Levis. Her house was still standing, but as we all know by now Katrina was all about the flood, not the wind, and water damage was extensive. Between touring, making a living, reconstruction, and moving on, Carson says she "lost some buzz." She is also dealing with chronic lung problems caused by almost two decades of singing in smoky Louisiana bars. Her only solution until last year, when smoking was finally sent outside, was to book in nearby Alabama and Texas, which required a lot of travel.

"What am I gonna do? I gotta make a living," Carson says, adding, however, that New Orleans is home and she is not going to abandon her city. 

Like so many other New Orleans' working musicians and songwriters, she has been overlooked by the mainstream. She describe her music as "renegade honky-tonk." It's traditional without being retro. "Not many people do "honky-tonk" music. It's not considered lady-like or sexy so most women don't do it. The Nashville girls want to be beautiful and sing ballads about love. We PLAY! I'm sweating with the band, playing guitar and harmonica and singing songs about drinking, coming home late, and hanging out in the honky-tonks. Not very diva-like!

"My music is real country music for real country fans," she says. "It's authentic music written and performed from the heart. These songs were not written to a formula to be accepted by the masses. The music on country radio today really isn't country. It's slick and sounds like pop music. We play the raw twang sounds of the Texas roadhouses and honky-tonks. The renegade part comes from the energy and outlaw attitude of artists like Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. There are some exceptions. I do like Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Kelly Willis, Emmylou Harris, and Alison Krauss. They’ve stayed true to their roots and had to battle to do it. In the future pop country will die out and the real thing will survive. Artificial things never last but the true, pure things always do. People can spot a fake."

When asked who she looks up to musically, she quickly answers, "I’ll pick two. Willie Nelson is a fantastically talented songwriter, singer, performer and musician. He has fun playing music and it shows. Loretta Lynn inspires me. When Loretta came on the scene 'girl singers' didn’t write their own songs but Loretta did! And she spoke her mind too. Songs like Fist City, The Pill, and You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man. Loretta is a true pioneer."

Carson's first band, the Casualties, began as a high energy, roots rock band. In 1996 they were named Best Country Artist by OffBeat Magazine. The band couldn’t believe it. We thought we were rock. Our manager said, "You think it’s easy to sing country because it’s easy for you, but country is not easy to sing."

As founding members departed, she replaced rock guitar with steel guitar and power chords with fiddle. By the late 1990's they were sounding more like an alt-country band and still playing in the rock clubs. At Fais Do Do today, you could definitely hear the country roots in Carson's music, but it has that extra honky-tonk kick that takes it to the next level. It's very easy to listen to, and the very large crowd at this stage on this warm afternoon was thoroughly enjoying it. Here's my video of Goin' Back to Louisiana.

I admit I stayed longer than I had expected at this show, mainly because it was my last visit to Fais Do Do and that stage just feels like home away from home. After Carson's set ended, I raced over to the Blues Tent and the new, larger standing area the Jazz Fest people installed this year (a great idea, by the way) and catch a good portion of the set by Tab Benoit with Terence Higgins on drums and the awesome Corey Duplechin on bass.

This performance was simply outstanding. Tab Benoit doesn't fool around. He plays the same worn guitar, a Fender Telecaster Thinline, with pretty much the same tuning, and blasts out song after song, all of them full incredible music. Check out my video and this one from Jazz Fest to see what I mean. Tab cranks out a lot of familiar songs during his time on stage: Why Are People Like ThatFever for the Bayou, A Whole Lotta Soul, My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It, I Got LoadedSac-au-lait FishingNew Orleans Ladies, Medicine, and Night Train. And a whole lot more. It's nonstop, powerful blues. Tab's performance are always a highlight. Here's 25 minutes from a club in Florida this year, and here's a full set from last year's Big Blues Bender in Las Vegas. OK, one more. Here's an hour from Plaza Live in Orlando, that starts with an interview with Cory Duplechin that's pretty cool. Cory brings such a great personality to Tab's concerts, so it's good to hear him.

          

Check out Day 9 in 2013 to read more about Tab. I am a huge fan, for reasons both musical and environmental. Rather than me going on about Tab, his music, and his passion for the wetlands, please read this piece about him from Roots World magazine. It gives tremendous insight into this guy and what makes him tick. Action is needed to preserve the Mississippi Delta, and soon.

So the Jazz Fest clock was relentlessly ticking toward the end at 7 o'clock, but there were still a couple more opportunities for music. One of those for me was a must-see, the first Jazz Fest performance of Bo Dollis Jr. and the Wild Magnolias since the passing of the legendary Big Chief Bo Dollis in January. This one was going to be emotional for sure. I saw this group's funky extravaganza last year on the final day as well, and that was the first time they had performed without their founding Big Chief, who despite years of failing health had always managed to make an appearance at Jazz Fest. Even that emotional performance was nothing like this one was going to be. One can only imagine how the Big Chief's son and wife, who are carrying the traditiona forward, must have felt during their time on the Jazz and Heritage stage this afternoon.

In a city full of originals, Bo Dollis stood out. For more than 50 years, he was an integral part of the New Orleans African-American tradition of Mardi Gras Indians as Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias. As such, he was an enormous contributor to the changes that took place in the Mardi Gras Indians over that time, and he brought awareness of the Indians from Central City to the world at large. In 2011, he was awarded the NEA's National Heritage Fellowship for his lifelong work in sustaining the traditional culture of the Mardi Gras Indians. 

Bo Dollis was born in New Orleans in 1944 with an extraordinary gift, an ability to sing. That was apparent from early childhood; he had no formal musical training, but when he sang in church people noticed. At home, he proudly exercised his vocal talents to the delight of friends and visitors. He especially enjoyed singing like Fats Domino. Who wouldn't?

Unlike many New Orleans culture-bearers, Dollis did not come by his interest in Mardi Gras Indian lore through older family members. In fact, his family discouraged him from masking Indian. However, as he grew up on Jackson Avenue in Central City, he became fascinated with the elaborately beaded costumes a neighbor fashioned for Mardi Gras and St. Joseph’s Day and started hanging out at a backyard Indian practice in the neighborhood. His parents, worried about fears of violence between rival tribes, forbade him to join up, but Dollis secretly sewed his own Indian suit out of fragments from his neighbor’s old costumes and paraded on Mardi Gras with the Golden Arrows when he was 13 years old. He later joined the Wild Magnolias, where he quickly rose from Flag Boy to Big Chief largely because of his singing ability. 

Dollis’ elaborate costumes and energy brought throngs of admirers to watch his "gang" take to the streets. "When you saw him in his Indian suit, you saw a man truly in his glory. He would electrify people around him," said Dow Edwards, a Spy Boy for the Mohawk Hunters tribe. "You could look at the eyes of the people who were waiting, and you knew the ones who had been there before because you could see the expectation that they had. There was something special about him."

In 1964, when he became Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias, Dollis helped refashion the nature and practices of Mardi Gras Indian culture and protocol, preserving the traditional ritual texts but changing the nature of the competition between tribes. Dollis was part of a new breed of Mardi Gras Indians that eschewed violence and sublimated the competition between gangs into a contest of costumes, the prettier and more elaborate the better.

"We tell about the days way back they was wild, wild, wild; I mean they was cutting, killing, and shooting," said Dollis. "The uptown and the downtown would fight. We didn’t want that. So we stopped. Tootie Montana (picture at left) was big on that. He wanted to get it straight because he was beautiful. He looked so good. Then everybody wanted to be beautiful, like Tootie. So we got all the Indians and all the chiefs to stop the violence."

Bo Dollis also revolutionized the relationship between the Mardi Gras Indians and the music that accompanied their sojourns. According to Bertrand Butler, a childhood friend of Dollis who went on to become Director of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council, Bo Dollis introduced new instrumentation to the Indians' music. "We was all in a bar room where they used to practice and it was a Sunday. We heard a lot of noise out there coming down the street and we weren't used to hearing this type of noise; we were used to hearing tambourines. So somebody comes in and says that it was Bo Dollis comin' down the street."

Mardi Gras Indian culture made a dramatic breakthrough to the outside world in 1970 when Dollis and his childhood friend Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles organized a Mardi Gras Indian second line as part of the inaugural New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Dollis also took a bold step toward opening Mardi Gras Indian culture to the outside world that same year when he and the Wild Magnolias made a commercial recording, cutting a 45-rpm record, Handa Wanda (Part 1 and Part 2). Opening with Dollis' powerful shout, the song has vibrancy, pulse, and a raw intensity. It is music as a means of magic communication all its own. 

"Bo Dollis created the soundtrack to Mardi Gras," Big Chief Juan Pardo of the Gold Comanche tribe said. "He was the first to take Mardi Gras Indian music around the world. He awakened the world to what was happening here in New Orleans with the Mardi Gras Indian sound and basically laid a path. I could not do what I go around the world to do today had he not done what he's done."

Bo Dollis made his last appearance with the Wild Magnolias during the band’s Jazz Fest closing performance on the Jazz and Heritage Stage in 2013. He missed last year's Jazz Fest and within a year he was gone. He died at his home in New Orleans on January 20. He was 71. 

"He was a great, beautiful, warm and loving man, who never had a humbug with anyone," Quint Davis, the producer of Jazz Fest, said during the funeral service. Davis audibly choked up as he remembered his friend. "This music is over 40 years old, and it's still what's coming next," Davis said. "And Bo Dollis was the Louis Armstrong, the Mahalia Jackson of the Mardi Gras Indian culture of New Orleans."

James Andrews, on his trumpet, led the band on Just a Closer Walk With Thee, and Deacon John sang a hymn. Then, as the family paid its last respects, the sound of the band fell away, leaving only a steady thump of an African drum. As the casket began to make its way down the aisle, the somber tone was breached by a lone shouting Indian, who rattled his tambourine and ran between the rows of seats, his voice cracking with emotion. Other Indians in the congregation shouted back for the Big Chief.

A massive second line followed the service. The day was bright and clear, ideal conditions to set off the startling visual majesty of Indian suits. A field of colored plumage swayed in the air, and millions of carefully sewn beads dazzled in the sun as the assemble tribes pounded and jangled drums and tambourines, voices rising and falling in rhythm. A group of Indians sang Big Chief Got a Golden Crown, inserting Dollis' name.

"He was the physical manifestation of the most beautiful things New Orleans has to offer to the world," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, speaking at the funeral. "From the streets of New Orleans, he stood up and said, this is who I am; I'm beautiful, and we are beautiful, and we're going to bring it to the world." 

The 2015 Jazz Fest poster, was going to honor the Big Chief, but instead turned into a memorial. His image now graces the apex of the Jazz and Heritage stage, and he is enshrined in the Ancestors area of Jazz Fest, which honors New Orleans' cultural icons. This sets the stage for today's performance by Bo Dollis Jr., Queen Rita, and the Wild Magnolias. 

Bo Dollis Jr. has spent his entire life immersed in Mardi Gras Indian culture. He is determined to keep His father's music alive. "I'm just trying to keep the tradition going, and the Wild Magnolias name going, and my dad's name going," he says. "When my dad first passed, I wanted to leave it alone and not do it anymore. But something just came over me, where I had to finish it. This is what I want to finish. This is my life’s dream."

Years ago, during a high-profile performance at Jazz Fest, Bo Dollis pulled his son Gerard, just 8 at the time, on stage, without warning, and thrust a microphone in his face. The youngster, clad in a neon green T-shirt to match the neon-green feathers of his father’s Indian suit, didn't miss a beat. He opened his mouth and sang. "I wasn't nervous or shy at all," Gerard recalls of that fateful afternoon. "I had a big ol' grin. I should have known right there that I wanted to be on stage."

The next year, for the first time, he "masked," meaning he stepped out, in full regalia, with the Wild Magnolias tribe on Mardi Gras morning. He was soon traveling with the Wild Magnolias to Japan, France, and other far-flung destinations. He'd bring his passport to class to prove to his middle-school teachers that his stories were true.

In the years after the levees failed following Hurricane Katrina, as Big Chief Bo Dollis’ health steadily declined, Gerard took on the responsibility of fronting the Wild Magnolias band and tribe. He models his vocal style, as well as his high-octane performances, after his father's. He says, "My dad had an unusual voice, one of those voices that can't be duplicated. But a lot of people say that I sound like him. Sometimes I feel him coming over me. I scream like him, and I had never screamed before. The first time I did it, it shocked me."

After Bo Dollis passed away, just weeks before Mardi Gras, Gerard was at first unsure if he should continue. "But a lot of close friends were like, 'You've got to keep going. You came so far. He'd want you to keep going.' So I got up that Mardi Gras morning, and I kept it going."

Now he has fully committed to continuing his father's legacy, and the Wild Magnolias are ready to move ahead at full steam. "My thing is to take it further than what my father did. That's my main focus."

Under Bo Jr.'s stewardship, the Wild Magnolias still honor traditions his father established. The band's Mardi Gras Indian funk classics -- Smoke My Peace Pipe, Ho Na NaeNew Suit, Party, and of course Handa Wanda -– are still part of each show. But Bo Jr. and his band are not afraid to innovate, either. A cover of the Temptations' psychedelic-soul smash Papa Was a Rollin' Stone leads into Smoke My Peace Pipe. New, original compositions also turn up in sets, with influences ranging from reggae to blues to hip-hop.

Although the Wild Magnolias performance includes a whole lot of Mardi Gras Indians in full finery, including Queen Rita, Gerard generally performs without the feathers, collars, aprons and headdresses. "It's hard to sing with Indian suits on, because I do so much moving and jumping around and going in the audience," he explains. "You might catch me up on top of a speaker, it just depends on how I feel. We like to do everything uptempo, nothing slowed down. If the crowd's already jumpin,' we'll keep 'em jumpin'." Today, as the musicians dressed in all white to honor Bo Dollis, Gerard's jacket had a painting of his father on the back.

Bo and Rita soaked in the love from the big crowd at the Jazz and Heritage stage today. For many of us, it was our opportunity to say goodbye to the legendary Big Chief, and I think they felt that emotion coming from us. At one time Bo Jr. just lost it and had to step back, but otherwise he was as dynamic as always, aware of the image of his father above him on the stage. 

As they ended the show with the customary One More Time, the last song sung by Big Chief Bo Dollis on this stage, I dare say everybody shouting and pointing along with the Wild Magnolias was a bit choked up. I know I was. Here is my video of this incredible scene at the Jazz and Heritage Stage.

The Magnolias today were augmented by the brass of Shamarr Allen, Roger Lewis, and xx. Adam Crochet wailed on guitar. You have to see a Mardi Gras Indian show to believe the wall of sound that comes at you as the chants are repeated over and over. It's pure New Orleans, unique to this city, an experience like no other. This was yet another Kazz Fest moment I'll never forget. To give an idea of the controlled chaos of a Mardi Gras Indian show, and there's really no other way to describe it, here is a complete performance of Bo Jr. and the Wild Magnolia from the French Quarter Festival in 2012. That's Billy Iuso on guitar for this show, and toward the end the Big Chief makes an appearance, a bit stronger than his 2013 performance. Oh, what he must have been like in his prime.

That could have done it for me as far as Jazz Fest 2015 was concerned, but there was still one more cube to go! The big stages featured Trombone Shorty (Acura, as usual), Maze (Congo Square, as usual ... our friend Cory was there), and Dr. John (Gentilly). Buddy Guy was in the Blues Tent, Christian McBride and his big band in the Jazz Tent, and country singer Kacey Musgraves was closing the Fais Do Do stage. But because we had unintentionally made this year's theme brass bands, we decided to end our Jazz Fest at the Jazz and Heritage stage with the awesome Stooges Brass Band.

As they changed the setup at the stage, I decided that I'd have dinner at Jazz Fest, so I went around the corner to Food Area I to get one of those fantastic cochon de lait po-boys from Wanda Walker’s stand. Warm shredded suckling pork with cold cabbage and a homemade horseradish sauce on french bread. It is to die for, easily one of the best sandwiches at the Fair Grounds. I've lost track of how many of these I have eaten over the years, but I can tell you it's a lot. 

It turned out that, on her way over to the Jazz and Heritage stage, Laurie had the same idea, and she showed up with another one of her go-to meals: the platter that has the spinach-artichoke casserole, seafood au gratin, and sweet potato pone from Ten Talents Catering of Covington, Louisiana. The links are to recipies, so try to make this platter at home! I've lost track of how many of them she has eaten over the years, but I can tell you it's a lot.

The Stooges Brass Band have gained a reputation for being one of the most entertaining brass bands in the business. They fall into the camp of brass bands that combine elements of hip-hop and R&B into the traditional New Orleans music, and they do it with a style that is all their own. We saw them on Day 2 in 2012 when they were on the Congo Square stage, and I saw them perform at the Wolf Trap Swamp Romp last summer. Both times they were high energy and engaging. By chance I got to meet them after their show at Wolf Trap as they walked by where I was standing during one of the breaks between acts. During thier show they played something new, and they said that if we saw them walking around, tell them if we liked the new stuff. So as they walked by I told them I liked the new stuff and they must have been very happy to hear that someone actually paid attention. I got a minute or so to talk to them about New Orleans and  Jazz Fest, and I can tell you they are just as engaging and fun off stage, one-on-several, as they are on stage. A great bunch of guys.

In fact, the Stooges are known for their very entertaining, audience-interactive shows, sometime to the chagrin of the other brass bands on the scene in New Orleans. Just like their namesake, the band is known and adored for clowning during their shows, mugging at the audience, group dancing, and inciting passionate call and responses. 

"From the beginning, we were always acting funny, always cracking jokes,” recalls leader Walter "Whoadie" Ramsey. "Brian (a former member) came up with the name. He said 'We act just like the Stooges.' So from the start, even the name of the band, it was all about the laugh and fun and how can we be better entertainers. We have band members 17 to 33 years old. To have that group together, young and old, the fun is what makes it work."

A former student of John F. Kennedy High School, which before the flood damaged it beyond repair had produced some of New Orleans' finest musicians, Ramsey was always immersed in the culture that would one day evolve into a career path. "My grandfather was one of key people with the Dirty Dozen. He was a fly percussionist. And my dad was the president of social aid and pleasure club called the Scene Boosters, one of the most popular clubs back in the day." Although he cites many well known local jazzmen as his musical inspirations, he credits the Rebirth Brass Band with sealing his fate as a band leader. "Seeing them in elementary school blew me out the water. They were the spark for me. That's when I said 'I want to do that!' From that day forward, I tried to put a brass band together. It didn't happen until I got to high school. I used to trade instruments until I got every one of them. I just didn't have the musicians to play them!"

The band members in those days were also part of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), and they learned every style from jazz to classical. "We were part of that institute that we learned every type of music there is, so we're professionally trained. But at the same time, we took our brass bands, and we went into the streets in the neighborhoods where brass bands come out of. And we learned the soul that came with the music from there. We learned how to engage the people with music because school can only teach you music. They don't teach you performance, so the street taught us how to perform, what people might like, what people might not like, why we should learn. It's both self-taught and school institution taught."

Although he played trombone for many years, the sousaphone is Ramsey's main instrument in the Stooges, another situation that seems equally fated. He recalls, "It was a Friday night. We played at a club and they didn't have the money to pay us. My tuba player got frustrated and quit. I said 'But we got weddings tomorrow!' He just handed me his horn. I had to keep the band going so I got up the next morning, learned about three to four songs so we could do our gigs that day." From that day on, Ramsey studied other tuba players he admired to help build his chops. "I looked at what Phil (Frazier, in the Rebirth Brass Band) gives, the energy, the hype-ness. Also turned to (the Tremé Brass Band’s) Jeffrey Hill for the tone. The way he plays the tuba is how you play bass guitar. Kirk Joseph (from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and others) is so funky. I grabbed funk from him. Then I went to Jackson Square where Tuba Fats was and he had all the elements." He laughs, "I went all around the table when I coulda gone straight to the source!"

Founded in 1996, the Stooges have fostered the growth of many of the city's best known brass band musicians. Alumni members include Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Big Sam Williams, Ellis Joseph of the Free Agents Brass Band, Hot 8 Brass Band snare drummer Sammy Cyrus and bass drummer Dwayne Williams, to name just a few. "About 35 musicians have come through us," says Ramsey. "We’re like Brass Band 101."

Ramsey says the key factor he looks for in a new recruit is always personality. "I've built the Stooges on fun," he says. "I can teach you music if you don't know music or understand music, because I've been taught from the best music schools. I can work with that. That's workable. But you've got to have a good character trait."

"We're not just up there playing song after song and just expect you to stand there and listen or just dance," he said. "When someone first comes and see us, they have no idea that they are going to be part of the entertainment, so it's those types of things that separate us from other bands in New Orleans. I'm not saying they don't entertain, but I think we entertain better. And I go harder. I'm very competitive in that nature. I've always been. I'm very competitive, not to the point where I'm arrogant, but it's more to the point where the people have to experience something with us. The Stooges is an experience. It's not just you're going to a concert. You need to be blown away. You need to have fun. You need to leave there with a sense of enjoyment like, 'Man, I wasn't expecting this. I really had a good time. Oh man, this is awesome.' I look for those, and when I don't have those, then I'm not doing my job. I could do better. I'm my biggest competition."

We had a great time dancing to the Stooges to end our Jazz Fest and, yes, we were blown away. Here's my video so you can see for yourself. I've said several times, the end of Jazz Fest is bittersweet, but it always ends on a high note!

Today, as we walked to the shuttle bus boarding area, we got a bit of bonus music, because Dr. John was still playing at the Gentilly stage. He titled his performance today 'Ske Dat De Dat ... The Spirit of Satch' as an homage to Louis Armstrong. The Doctor was on stage with a big band, 16 musicians. He was dressed to the nines at the bench of a Steinway grand, and from what we heard, he was turning Satchmos's tunes into some funky good stuff. Here's some video of the good doctor from this performance.

As we boarded the bus and rode off into the sunset, traffic was, a seems to be the case on the last day of Jazz Fest, pretty bad. But everyone was in a good mood, and we eventually made our way down Canal Street to the Sheraton one last time.

Back at the Staybridge, we got ourselves de-Fair Grounded (I guess that's a new word!) for the last time and did some posting, organizing, and getting ready for the trip home tomorrow. Our hearty dinners at Jazz Fest meant that there was no need to eat out tonight, but we did take a stroll later on this warm, breezy evening, so typical of New Orleans, and that stroll just happened to include a stop at the Pinkberry for a late dessert. 

We were very happy that we have a later flight tomorrow so we will be able to enjoy a bit more of this wonderful city before heading home.


© Jeff Mangold 2012