Day 12 / Monday, May 2


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Unfortunately, every other year, the last day, our 12th day in New Orleans is an abbreviated one, because I have to be at work at 4:45 a.m. the next day because it's Election Day for incorporated towns in Virginia, of which we have five in Loudoun County. It is our preference to take a late afternoon flight so we can spend some time on Monday roaming the streets and unwinding after the final four days of Jazz Fest, but that flight doesn't get in until around 9 p.m. Eastern time and that just doesn't fit the schedule too well. 

So ... there was no morning drill today, or no leisurely start to the day. We were up early enough to scrounge some food at the Staybridge spread to eat along with any leftovers in the refrigerator. But mostly we were packing and getting ready to go. Once again, we enjoyed our stay at the Staybridge. The location, the value, the kitchen, the laundry, the good coffee always available, that thing of ice-cold lemon-infused water that Laurie likes so much, and the really friendly staff make the difference for us. It's not the Ritz, but we like it just fine.

We checked out and all too soon, around 10 a.m., we were on the Airport Shuttle. As usual, there was the tour around the Central Business District while we picked up more passengers. We arrived at the Louis Armstrong International Airport, breezed through security, and were at the gate in plenty of time for our 12:35 flight back to Dulles International Airport on United

I got a smoked turkey club from Copelands in the United terminal for lunch on the plane; I don't have a record of what Laurie ate.

We landed right on time, around 4 p.m. Eastern time and deplaned onto the tarmac. Definitely old school on that one! Alyssa picked us up, and there you have it, we were home. It was another easy travel day.

Now it's time for some final thoughts. It was certainly a different sort of trip, starting out alone due to Passover and in recovery mode from an awful flu bug, then the news of the sudden passing of Prince on the day before the festival started, added to the sense of loss already being felt at Jazz Fest as they remembered Allen Toussaint especially but also B.B. King, who passed in the year since the last Jazz Fest. Then, after Laurie arrived, the incredible weather on the last Saturday and Sunday. 

That said, the music we heard at Jazz Fest and everywhere else was simply outstanding. That Donald Harrison concert at the Orpheum Theater will go down as one of the best concerts we've ever attended. To be honest, we didn't do that much outside of Jazz Fest, but what we did was very good and very comfortable, meaning we didn't take on anything new or out of our comfort zone. 

Speaking of comfort, we are most definitely comfortable in New Orleans after so many years. It really feels like a home away from home, and we like that a lot. Our only complaint lies with the people in charge of the weather.

At Jazz Fest, all of the changes that were made were for the better. The crowding that we experienced on the Saturdays last year was fixed, as was the squeezing of the standing areas in front of the stages. Can't really suggest anything for improvement ... except maybe some better drainage!

The memory of the weather will fade, but the memory of the great music will remain strong. I mentioned yesterday how lucky I was to hear so many legendary and quality young jazz performers but didn't list them. Check this out: Geri Allen and the Errol Garner Jazz Project; Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, and Matthew Garrison; Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter; the Herlin Riley Quintet; Donald Harrison Jr.; Nicholas Payton and the Afro-Caribbean Mixtape; Joe Lovano and Us Five; Ike Stubblefield's Mashup; and finally Gary Bartz, Larry Willis, Al Foster, and Buster Williams. Wow!

And if you've read this whole report, you know that there were many, many other musical highlights, and food highlights as well. In short, we had a great time in spite of Mother Nature's little fit the second weekend.

So the usual thing here is to mention who we missed seeing. I'll list some people that we have seen before because, well, we like them and want to keep them in mind for the next time. We're also lucky to have a couple of good local venues that bring in a lot of New Orleans artists so that we don't have to wait a year to try to cram all of the locals in! The list below does not include people who were rained out on the second Saturday.

At the Acura stage, Steely Dan, Nigel Hall, Galactic, the New Orleans Suspects, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, Colin Lake, George Porter Jr. and the Runnin' Pardners, Sonny Landreth, Gary Clark Jr., Wayne Toups, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Soul Rebels, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Zigaboo Modeliste's Funk Review, and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.

At the Gentilly stage, Grace Potter, Gov't. Mule, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Van Morrison, Mia Borders, Bonerama, the Revivalists, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Davell Crawford, Aaron Neville, the Tribute to Allen Toussaint, and Bonnie Raitt.

At the Congo Square stage, the New Birth Brass Band, Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs, the Brass-a-Holics, Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Roadmasters, and the Isely Bothers.

At the Jazz Tent, Jason Marsalis, Christian Scott, Brian Quezergue, Leah Chase, Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective, the Stephanie Jordan Big Band, Astral Project, the Jesse McBride Big Band, the Nayo Jones Experience, and Ellis Marsalis.

At the Blues Tent, Walter Trout, Johnny Sansone, James Andrews, Jarekus Singleton, John Hammond, Little Freddie King, Glen David Andrews, Rhiannon Giddens, John Mayall, Spencer Bohren and the Whippersnappers, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, the Bernard Allison Group, Jonothan "Boogie" Long, Luther Kent and Trickbag, Henry Gray, Lil' Buck Sinegal, Cyril Neville's Royal Southern Brotherhood, and Mavis Staples.

At Economy Hall, a venue that admittedly gets overlooked a bit, Doreen's Jazz New Orleans, Orange Kellin's New Orleans Deluxe Orchestra, Tim Laughlin, Leroy Jones, Dr. Michael White, Don Vappie and the Creole Jazz Seranaders, Mark Braud's New Orleans Jazz Giants, Tuba Skinny, the Paulin Brothers Brass Band, the Pfister Sisters, the Preservation Hall Brass, the Tremé Brass Band, the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra, and George French and the New Orleans Storyville Jazz Band.

At the Fais Do Do stage, which unfortunately fell off the radar during the bad weather the last two days, Chubby Carrier, The Black Lillies, Dwayne Dopsie, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble, BeauSoleil, Taj Mahal, the Savoy Family Cajun Band, Lil' Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers, the Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, the Pine Leaf Boys, the Honey Island Swamp Band, C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Yvette Landry, Kristin Diable, the Band Courtboullion, Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars, and Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.

On the Jazz and Heritage Stage, which had the same weather induced fate as the Fais Do Do stage, the New Wave, Real Untouchable, Young Pinstripe, New Breed, Free Agents, Pinstripe, and TBC Brass Bands; Semolian Warriors Mardi Gras Indians, The Caesar Brothers Funkbox, Alexy Marti and Urban Minds, Cha Wa featuring Papa Mali, the Revealers, the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Big Chief Juan and Jockimo's Groove, and Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr. and the Wild Magnolias.

In the Gospel Tent, Glen David Andrews and the Treme Choir, the Electrifying Crown Seekers, the Mississippi Mass Choir, Irma Thomas' Gospel Soul, and almost anyone else singing there. 

On the little Lagniappe stage, a really eclectic spot for music ... and oysters, Motel Radio, Cameron Dupuy and the Cajun Troubadours, Ed Volker's Quintet Narcosis, T'Monde, Tom McDermott and Friends, Cary Hudson and the Piney Woods Players, Luke Winslow King, Kim Carson, and the Tin Men.  

I continually miss the interviews at the Allison Miner stage in the Grandstand. What better place could there be to spend time on a rainy day? Never enters my mind, tucked way over on the far right of the cubes! Anyway, some of the highlights would have been Darrell Borque interviewing Goldman Thibodeaux, Scott Billington interviewing Irma Thomas, Ben Sandmel interviewing a whole bunch of people about thier friend Allen Toussaint, Rick Coleman interviewing Tony Hall, Jim Hobbs interviewing the members of T'Monde, and Herman Fusellier interviewing C.J. Chenier. One of the best things that I have heard about this stage is that most of the artists bring their instruments so you get a mini-concert as well as insights into their music.

Artists who were rained out that we woulda, coulda, maybe even shoulda seen were Stevie Wonder, Dr. John, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Beck, Rebirth Brass Band, Snoop Dogg, Arturo Sandoval, Buddy Guy, the Lone Bellow, Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots, and Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas.

As far as food is concerned I can't remember what we have eaten and not eaten over the years anymore, so I suggest you go to the Jazz Fest Food page and have a look at everything, and if that doesn't get you to Jazz Fest, well, I don't know what will. I remember when Laurie and I decided to go, it was all based on the headlining musicians. Then we discovered Louisiana music and got excited. Then we looked at the food offerings and asked ourselves why we haven't been going to this thing for years!

There will be more opportunity to have these treats next year (and hopefully beyond), and we'll certainly try to make up some of the missed music in 2017, either in New Orleans or elsewhere. You know we'll be back! 

So, as I always say, that's a wrap, and as D.L. Menard always says, "If the hog don't eat me up, I'll see you next year!" And remember, Live Music Is Better ...!


© Jeff Mangold 2012