Day 10 / Friday, May 4


A much more typical day for New Orleans today. I'd call it mostly cloudy to overcast and very humid, yet breezy. The temperature was 77 when we set out this morning (after we executed the 2018 drill: get up ... get ready ... slather on sunblock ... get Brass Passes, shuttle tickets, camera, hats, and phones and head down to the lobby to grab some coffee to drink on the way to Jazz Fest, where brunch awaited), going up to a high of 84 and then back down to humid 74 tonight. There was, once again, no r@#n in the forecast. The trip to the Fair Grounds was quick, and once again we were at Jazz Fest right on time, meaning plenty of time for food! 

Laurie's brunch was spicy grilled tofu and veggies with peanut sauce from Gambian Foods. Our experience with these folks began on Day 3 all the way back in 2012, when we had their pitas (steak for me, veggie for Laurie). Laurie had the veggie again on Day 10 in 2013. There, you can read about Tejan Jallow and Charlie Mendy of Gambian Foods. Laurie had her first bowl of their tofu grilled with hot pepper flakes and yellow squash served over couscous and warm cabbage and topped with orange peanut sauce on Day 3 in 2014 and continued to enjoy it on Day 8 and Day 11 in 2015, Day 9 in 2016, and Day 3 last year. That could be some kind of record!

Speaking of food records, on the way to the Congo Square food area where Gambian Foods is located, I grabbed a shrimp bread from Panorama Foods. I've had their crawfish bread on Day 4 in 2012, Day 8 in 2014, and Day 4 in 2016 (also their sausage and jalapeno bread on Day 2 in 2013). Laurie's had crawfish bread on Day 2 and Day 11 in 2013, Day 2 in 2014, Day 2 in 2015, Day 10 in 2016, and Day 10 last year (also the shrimp bread on Day 4 in 2012 and Day 8 in 2013).

The shrimp bread was gone before we arrived at the Congo Square food area, so, to keep myself occupied while she ate, I got a miniature sweet potato pie from Marie's Sugar Dumplings. I've had Marie's sweet potato turnover before, on Day 5 in 2012, Day 9 in 2013, and Day 2 in 2015. The pie wasn't as sweet, but it was every bit as good as the turnover. See those places and also tomorrow for some more about Marie's Sugar Dumplings.

My first music of the day was at the Fais Do Do stage. Where else? Check out today's cubes here.

On the Fais Do Do stage was a group of young Cajun musicians called Plaquemine Brûlée, who played their music in a decidedly old-scool manner. They are from Church Point, Louisiana, and named after a bayou in the Mermentau River basin in southwestern Louisiana.

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The members of the band are Samuel Giarrusso on drums and vocals, Jacques Boudreaux on guitar and vocals, Colby Leger on accordion, and Justin Leger on fiddle. Like many new Cajun and zydeco bands, they are all in their 20's but have been playing since they were kids. Their music was not flashy and it was slower than some of the other Cajun bands I've heard. I don't know if that's just their style or typical of that part of Louisiana.

Here is my video of Plaquemine Brûlée from today, and here is almost an hour from the Swamp 'n' Roll show on KDCG-TV. Their page has a link to a real treasure trove of Cajun music (zydeco, too!). 

Brulee for Blog

Laurie stayed for a couple of minutes but headed over to the Gentilly stage to hear some swamp pop from C.C. Adcock and his band, the Lafayette Marquis. 

Charles Clinton Adcock, yet another musician out of Lafayette, is noted for his Cajun, zydeco, electric blues, and swamp pop-influenced sound and for his efforts to preserve and promote swamp pop music. In addition to recordings on his own and with his bands, he's played guitar for Bo Diddley and Buckwheat Zydeco and produced film scores and albums for other artists.

Adcock is known to be sharp-dressed man who favors custom-made suits and fine footwear (usually reptilian). However today, their luggage somehow got left at a club they played at the night before, so they were forced to play in their traveling clothes, much to Adcock's embarassment.

He has been a part of the Louisiana music scene since his early teens. "The greatest thing about living down here is that you can still go and knock on the door and hang out with all your heroes, and you can even start bands and play with them, which is double cool," he says. "It's not like you can go and hang around with Robert Johnson, but comin' up down here I have been able to hang out with cats who played with Howlin' Wolf and Clifton Chenier and lots of first- and second-generation real-deal cats whose blues turned into rock 'n' roll. To me, it's just amazing, in this day and age, to be this close to it all and to still be able to make that connection."

By age 14, Adcock was gigging throughout south Louisiana in a teenage group called Boogie Chillun' and honing his guitar skills. "The drinkin' age wasn't too strictly enforced down here, back then," he recalls. "So afterwards, we'd always go out to a zydeco club or to the Grant Street Dancehall, just in time to catch John Lee Hooker or the Triple Threat with Stevie Ray Vaughan, all in a little nightclub!"

He moved to California for awhile but found that he was getting most of his work because of his Louisiana sound and connections, including backing up the great Bo Diddley. Eventually he toured for over a year with the Buckwheat Zydeco band but his heart was set on recording his own music.

Back in Lafayette, he started recording demos, which a friend took to his father, who happened to be the legendary Denny Cordell who was then at Island Records. He immediately signed Adcock to his label.

"I kinda got shot out of a cannon," Adcock recalls. "I was pretty naive and I thought everybody got to make major label records with cats like the Cordells. Denny Cordell was one of the last of that breed of record men. He was a true A&R man. He'd really give you great direction and help to develop you and make you a better artist. He gave me the great gift of realizing my own sound and style, making music for myself and not just playing someone else's stuff." 

Soon, Adcock hit the road opening shows for Jimmie Vaughan and Melissa Etheridge. Adcock says, "I realized that there's a direct correlation between roots and pop music," says Adcock. "As long as something is infectious and popular, it's all one and the same, and you can definitely bridge that gap and make something that sounds strangely new again out of the roots you grew up listening to, even if it's from a place like Louisiana where the music's really colloquial. You can carry on in the traditions of your home and still be current and modern. You can actually use the traditions to invent new things.

"The big misconception about the art, style and feel of 'the South' is that it's all been inherited. The best things here are invented, but you invent from within the traditions. You apply new ideas to things that are classic, tried, true and tested. All that, what was in my heart and a lil' magic, is what I learned in that period," he says.

During that same time, Adcock brought together the Lil' Band of Gold (here's another), which featured an impressive roster of seasoned vets culled from the local scene: Steve Riley, David Egan, Lil' Buck Sinegal, Dickie Landry, David Greely, Pat Breaux, Dave Ranson (who we see playhing bass with Sonny Landreth), Richard Comeaux, and legendary drummer Warren Storm. They rarely performed outside of Lafayette because of members' commitments to other bands, but when they did they were always a sensation

Adcock says, "Warren is one of the baddest singers on the planet and he played on Slim Harpo records! Working with him and watching him do his thing every night is such a trip. He had another band, with Lil' Buck Senegal. We called it the Cowboy Stew Blues Revue. A cowboy stew is a Creole dish down here with, like, tripe, guts, tongue, all the innards. You make a big stew out of it, and we were kind of a cowboy stew -- a black and white band -– all thrown in together." Adcock also served as producer on a couple of forward-looking albums with what was at the time Cajun music's premier young outfit, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.

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Adcock's music with the Lafayette Marquis today fuses the different styles and influences that have been a part of his life over the past decade. He has a vast knowledge of and appreciation for his hometown and its storied musical heritage.

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"One thing that hasn't changed," says Adcock, talking about Lafayette, "is that on any given night, you can start out in the country with some food, drop in to a Cajun dancehall and watch the old folks gliding around the floor, then put the top down and jump back into town and rock around to the new sounds of some up-and-coming cats. Then, you can cross the tracks and bump at a zydeco disco. At the end of the night you head south to another parish where they stay open all night, and you can boogie 'til daybreak in front of a classic swamp-pop jukebox and still make it home in time for Mass. That's what inspires me."

Very cool. Here's a bit of C.C. Adcock so you can get a feel for what Laurie was seeing, even if they weren't wearing their performance outfits!

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After that, while I was on my way to the Gentilly stage, we were two ships passing in the night as she headed to the Congo Square stage to see some of the New Orleans Hip-Hop Experience. This is an annual affair at Jazz Fest that features some of the up-an-coming local hip-hop acts.

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Today the Experience featured Fiend, 3D Na'tee, DJ Keith Scott, and the Cool Nasty Band. This show and the acts in it receive virtually no publicity, but Laurie really enjoys it. After awhile she joined me back at the Gentilly stage, where the great Cajun singer-songwriter Zachary Richard was making a relatively rare Jazz Fest appearance (at least since we have been going). 

We caught Richard (Ree-shard) on Day 3 in 2014, where you can read a lot more about  him. We really enjoyed his songs and musicianship then, and he was every bit as good today. 

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Richard knows how to entertain a Jazz Fest crowd, too, with songs about gators and crawfish. His roots are firmly planted in Louisiana. Inspired by the various styles of the region, his songs don't really stick to Cajun, although there is always a sense that it is where he's from. All you can say is that his style is uniquely his own, with songs that are rich in emotion.

A native of Scott, in Lafayette Parish, Richard is in addition to a great musician, a poet, documentary film producer, cultural activist, and environmentalist. He has released more than 20 albums, all excellent.

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Between the creation of a bilingual pair of middle-school-targeted textbooks on Acadian history, the production of two documentaries on the topic, and the founding of Action Cadienne, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing and promoting French immersion education programs in Louisiana, his work has been instrumental in the preservation and promotion of Louisiana's French-Acadian heritage and language, and he has received many honors for this work.

Richard was accompanied today by Chris Adkins on guitar, Cruz Fruge on drums, Graham Robinson on bass, and the incredibly versatile David Torkanowsky on keyboards. Here's my video from today and here are fairly recent videos of Laisse le Vent Souffler, Zydeco Jump, and Dans le Grands Cemins.

Zachary for Blog

After a stop at the WWOZ tent, Laurie went back to Congo Square while I went to the Jazz Tent, with stops at the Gospel Tent on the way to and from. 

The first gospel artists were Josh Kagler and the Harmonistic Praise Crusade from New Orleans. 

Ranging in age from 17 to 30, this group was founded in 2004. However, they almost immediately suffered a devastating setback as members were displaced following the flooding caused by the failure of the levees after Hurricane Katrina. They finally got back together in 2008, expanding to include 20 members. 

The entire group is known for its expressive and soulful music, and Kagler, with a seven-octave range, for his innovative music ministry. Check them out in my video from today's performance, and here's a video from last year's Jazz Fest, and here's a great video from 2013. For some more you can hear these excerpts from Jazz Fest 2014 on the Munck Music site.

At the Jazz Tent, I was finally getting to see alto saxophonist Wess "Warmdaddy" Anderson play his unique brand of jazz with David Ellington on keyboards, Mark Rapp on flugelhorn, Wess Anderson III on trombone, Chris Burroughs on drums, and Ed Perkins on vocals. 

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Wessell Anderson grew up in the tough Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York. By the time he was 14 years old, he was deeply involved in the local jazz scene, thanks in part to his father, a drummer, and attending jam sessions at then-active Brooklyn and Queens jazz clubs like the Blue Coronet, Pumpkin's, and the Turbo Village.

Anderson later studied at Harlem's famed Jazzmobile workshops with the likes of Frank Wess, Charles Davis, and Frank Foster. He also met Wynton and Branford Marsalis, who were both playing with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers at the time. At Branford's urging, he soon departed New York to study with famed reedman Alvin Batiste at Southern University in Baton Rouge.

Anderson's first big break was with singer, Bettey Carter. Then, in 1987, Wynton Marsalis asked Anderson to tour with the Wynton Marsalis Septet. As a premiere alto saxophonist, he played hundreds of jazz venues, concerts, and colleges for nearly 25 years. Simultaneously, he was the principal alto saxophonist for Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City for nearly 10 years.

It was during his time with Marsalis' group that Anderson began to develop his own sound: a mix of traditional New Orleans jazz (likely Batiste's influence) and a sweeping blues style similar to that of Cannonball Adderly. His 1994 debut album, "Warmdaddy in the Garden of Swing," featured Anderson playing a set of all original compositions with big-name sidemen like pianist Eric Reed and bassist Ben Wolfe. Anderson truly came into his own, however, with 1998's "Live at the Village Vanguard." 

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Anderson also taught countless students at Juilliard School of Music and Michigan State University's College of Music

All this was interrupted in July 2007, when he suffered a severe stroke. He inched his way back to health with physical therapy and by waiting tables and counting change at the Gumbo and Jazz restaurant in East Lansing, Michigan, which was owned by his wife Desi. He had a second stroke in December 2012 but he was performing again by the following spring. 

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Says Anderson, "My hands started waking up, my mouth started latching on and I said, 'OK, here we go again!' I can’t play as fast as I used to, but I have more time now to take more liberties at a slower pace." I still have all the ideas in my head."

The Andersons now live in New Orleans, where Anderson became a full-time music professor at Loyola University last year. "It's such a joy teaching young people," Anderson says. 

The deceptive simplicity of Anderson's music could only spring from a soul who is deeply in tune with life. "It's about walking at your own pace and observing what's going on. It's nothing fancy," he said. His synthesis of swampy Sidney Bechet, the cool school of Miles Davis, the hard bop of John Coltrane, and even the avant-garde forms a circular and seamless bubble of pure music. "The spirit of music is not how many notes you can play before you explode," Anderson said. "It's how delightful you can make the horn sound."

Here's the scene in the Jazz Tent today, and here's their finale, Going to Chicago. For something more, here's a full set from the Louisiana Music Factory last year. Between yesterday and today, weekend two is off to a great start in the Jazz Tent!

Warmdaddy for Blog

My second quick visit to the Gospel Tent was to see a New Orleans gospel legend, Betty Winn and her group, the One-a-Chord Gospel Singers. 

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This group was organized by Betty and the late Thomas Winn in April 1995, starting as an all female ensemble with modest accompaniment. Over the years they have evolved to include male vocals and a full band with keyboard, guitars, percussion, and brass, generally singing with eight vocalists in close three-part harmony. Their repertoire includes the range of gospel sounds, including spirituals, classic traditional hymns, and the inspirational works heard in modern day Sunday church services.

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Winn studied instrumental and vocal music as extra curricular activities in high school and college, her love of gospel music coming from her roots in the Baptist church in her home town. She was a New Orleans Public School teacher for 21 years, but retired from teaching to devote more time to gospel music.

When Betty Winn sings her composition, Praising in New Orleans, with its extended refrain, "this is how we praise the Lord down in New Orleans," you can feel the entire Gospel Tent becoming a member of the community. Here's my video of Betty Winn and One A Chord today.


From the Gospel Tent, I continued around the track back to the Gentilly stage, where the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was about to play. We've had numerous encounters with these guys over the years, but this was going to be the first time where I've seen just them at Jazz Fest. On Day 5 in 2012 on this stage, we ended our Jazz Fest with their 50th anniversary celebration, where they welcomed numerous guests. We also ended our Jazz Fest with them on Day 11 in 2013, at the Fais Do Do stage with Del McCoury's bluegrass band in an incredible show. They were on this stage with My Morning Jacket on Day 9 in 2016, and we've seen various members with the Preservation Hall Brass Band, with their own groups, or as guests in other groups, especially in Economy Hall, any number of other times. 


We also were thrilled on Day 7 in 2014 to see them perform in Preservation Hall itself, and on Day 2 last year, while we were seeing Jon Batiste and Stay Human in Preservation Hall, they brought out the band to join in. So needless to say we are no strangers to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band!


Today the Preservation Hall band consists of Ben Jaffe on bass and tuba, Charlie Gabriel on saxophone and clarinet, Clint Maedgen on saxophone, and Ronell Johnson on trombone. These four have been with the band since we first started seeing them in New Orleans. More recent additions are Walter Harris on drums, Kyle Roussel on keyboards, and Branden Lewis on trumpet.


The band was brightly attired and energetic. They played a couple of familiar tunes that allowed ample time for Charlie, Clint, Branden, and Ronell to solo. They have certainly emphasized more upbeat and original tunes recently, a long way from the traditional jazz the band played years ago. And I am merely observing that, not complaining about it. 

I stayed for a few tunes but could not find a place to stand that was not surrounded by people who were talking, which is a problem with the New Orleans acts who are on in the last slot or two on the big stages before the headliners appear. Today on this stage it was going to be Sheryl Crow, and I can't imagine what it would have been like to try to hear Aaron Neville, who was going to be on next. Still, a good time.

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I moved on, not just because of the noise but because I was also going to meet Laurie at the Jazz and Heritage stage for some Mardi Gras Indians (nothing's going to distract from them) and some food.

While I was doing all that, Laurie was back at Congo Square to hear a band formed by one of our favorites, drummer Nikki Glaspie. The band is called the Nth Power. Laurie described their music as funk, jazz, and soul all rolled into one great mashup.

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The Nth Power was quickly branded a supergroup when they first emerged in 2012 after a late-night Jazz Fest jam session. The project started as a fun excuse for the Glaspie, at the time Dumpstaphunk's drummer and singer, to play authentic soul and R&B with friends Nick Cassarino and Nate Edgar, but it didn't take long for it to become something more permanent.

Glaspie is among the premier drummers in music today. She was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland, and Raleigh, North Carolina, her parents both ministers. She first hit the skins as a toddler and found her first groove at eight years old, holding down the rhythm in her mother's church choir band. Her mother played the keyboards.

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When she was 15, Nikki's father started introducing her to secular music. His tastes and selections ran the gamut, as she experienced everything from Van Halen, the Gap Band, the O'Jays, Rage Against the Machine, Hall and Oates, and many points between. Her father thought that since Nikki had been drumming since two years old, he would expose her to a new world of music and cultures, and see where she might go from there. Predictably, her mind was blown. However, her paradigm would shift most dramatically after she graduated from high school and relocated to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. There, she expanded her horizons even further, delving deep into the realms of funk, fusion, and jazz.

While Berklee gave Glaspie a firm foundation, traditionally, academically and thematically, Glaspie credits the frequent gigging at the legendary Wally's Jazz Café in Boston as a big factor in her musical education. The scene there on any given weeknight resembled what many of today's jam-band super-jams aspire to. A smattering of young, inspired players would come together in a wide variety of combos and team up with a teacher or two from Berklee or a well known local virtuoso. The result would be staggering, spiritualized sets of music that would propel the careers of many of today's heaviest hitters in the jazz and jam spheres. She knew she had to bring her best drumming and most daring ideas to the jam and, in doing so, she proved to herself that she could hang with the baddest cats in the game.

Glaspie spent these collegiate years geeking out to the styles, patterns and approaches of a melange of accomplished drummers. She studied the likes of Dennis Chambers and Horacio Hernandez, the grooves of early Doobie Powell, the punked-up bombast of Dave Grohl, and the minimalist, snapping hip-hop beats of Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson. She burrowed through seminal records from all arenas of the art, mining influence and perspective from Hezekiah Walker, Fred Hammond, and James "J Dilla" Yancey.

Shortly after finishing school, Glaspie hooked up with another Berklee grad in Sam Kinninger, then-saxophonist of Lettuce and Soulive, who led his own funk-jam band. They teamed with bassist Aaron Bellamy and this mighty band made the festival and club circuit rounds, where she made her first striking impressions on the newly fertile jam-band scene. 

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Eventually she earned a game-changing opportunity in the form of an audition for Beyoncé's brand new, all female touring ensemble. "I wasn't even going to go," she says. "I had just moved to New York 6 months prior. I was trying to establish myself, but I was still going to Boston to play weddings and other gigs just to pay my bills. The audition came up on a Monday. I had a gig in Nantucket, it was a Monday and a Tuesday. I had 50 bucks in my pocket and was like, 'What am I gonna do?' But I ended up going to the audition. I didn't hear anything until Friday. They congratulated me and asked me back, so I auditioned again on Saturday, then at the end they asked me to come back Sunday -- this is after hours and hours of playing and sitting and waiting and playing. Finally, at the end of the day they told us, 'You 10 have been selected to be in the band.'"

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That began a whirlwind few years for Glaspie as a drummer for the collection of femme-fatales on tour with Beyoncé. She had to study and adapt to new styles and a simpler, more restrained role in the band. Playing alongside percussionist Marcie Chapa and set player Kim Thompson, she toured the world with one of the biggest entertainment stars of this generation. Her schedule took her from Saudi Arabia to the White House; she experienced the music business from a perch that few ever get to see. She played every major network morning show and nighttime talk show, recorded a seven-times platinum album, and spent the better part of five years as part of the Beyoncé’s meteoric rise to fame.   

"I definitely had a great school with Beyoncé, because it's a well-oiled machine, a major production. I paid attention to every single little thing that happened around me. You pick up little gems, 'Oh, this is how it's done.'"  

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After that, Glaspie hooked up with a legend of a different kind, no less potent or influential. Ivan Neville welcomed her into the world of New Orleans funk music, and she dove in head first. She joined Neville's rumbling funk syndicate, Dumpstaphunk, and connected muscularly with the band's double bass attack of Nick Daniels and Tony Hall. She took no prisoners from her drum kit, propelling Dumpstaphunk into the top tier of touring funk bands on the festival circuit.   

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Through Dumpstaphunk, Glaspie's reputation as a funk machine began to follow her wherever she laid down a greasy groove. In a serendipitous twist of fate, she was asked to fill in for Adam Deitch, playing two sets with Lettuce at the (now defunct) Bear Creek Festival in Florida in 2012. The celebrated funk festival was also site of another classic Glaspie sit-in, with alt-jazz champions Snarky Puppy. She played frequently at Jazz Fest, both at the Fair Grounds and in the clubs well into the night. She shared the stage with Soulive, Karl Denson, G Love and Special Sauce, Melvin Sparks, Russell Batiste, the North Mississippi All Stars, Big Sam's Funky Nation, George Porter Jr., and countless others. It was a late night Jazz Fest gig at the Maple Leaf in 2012 that would connect her with what has become the Nth Power.

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Glaspie departed Dumpstaphunk in the summer of 2014 to focus on the Nth Power full time. The great response to a 2013 EP told her what she already knew inside; that she was on to something special with this band. The band includes Nate Edgar on bass and Nick Cassarino on guitar and vocals. All believe in music as a higher power. Glaspie's furious gospel chops, her focused hip-hop swagger, her funky stutter steps, and her serene R&B grooves are all on display, front and center, within the Nth Power's mesmerizing gumbo. 

"Just in my short experience living life, traveling around, my eyes have been open to the world and what it actually is and how dark and dirty and messed up it is, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to spread the light," she says. "Never take anyone or anything for granted, for it can be taken away in an instant. Take care of each other. We’re all we got."


Here is a complete Nth Power show for you to enjoy. You'll see what a force Nikki Glaspie is, and why she blew us away from the first time we saw her, with Dumpstaphunk on Day 2 way back in 2012, Day 3 and Day 5 in 2013, and Day 4 in 2014. I also saw her providing the beat for Maceo Parker on Day 4 last year. Laurie loved this show, and ...

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... she stayed around Congo Square to hear some of Jupiter and Okwess, a very hot African band. Jupiter Bokondji, now 53, was born in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congothree years after the country gained its independenceHis father was a Congolese diplomat. It was his grandmother, a traditional healer, who got him started in music as he attended ceremonies and funerals with her to play percussion instruments like drums. 

Later, his father was posted to the embassy in East Berlin, and the family moved to Germany. There, he started a band that combined his native Mongo music style with European rock and American soul music. His father's posting eventually ended, and the family moved back to Kinshasa in the 1980's. Bokondji spent time traveling around the country, listening to music from different tribes and solidifying his own style. 


He formed an orchestra called Bongofolk in 1984 and then Okwess International in 1990. That band toured around Africa for many years. As their popularity grew, a civil war broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some band members fled to Europe to escape violence, but Bokondji stayed in Kinshasa and kept the band going. As the war died down, his popularity grew again, and in 2006 he was featured in the documentary film "Jupiter's Dance," which led to some success in Europe.

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Bokondji's sound is a combination of Congolese rumba, traditional Congolese rhythms, funk, and rock. He calls this distinct sound "Bofenia Rock". His lyrics often carry political or social messages, including criticisms of the Congo government as well as positive encouragement for Africans to better realize their individual talent and potential. The music has a frenetic drive, as everything from vocals to guitar to drums serve a rhythmic purpose. It's an irresistible sound.

Here is a one-hour performance of this band earlier this year at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, and here's a video of the scene at the Congo Square stage today.

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We met at the Jazz and Heritage stage, where the 79'rs Gang of Mardi Gras Indians were performing. This is a group made up of two tribes. Big Chief Jermaine Bossier brings the 7th Ward Creole Hunters and Big Chief Romeo Bougere brings the 9th Ward Hunters. That's how you get 79'rs. I saw them last year on Day 9, and you can read a bit more about them there. Here is my video of this show. The younger Mardi Gras Indian tribes are mixing up the music a lot like the younger brass bands, and we love it!

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When she arrieved at the Jazz and Heritage stage, Laurie was carrying some shrimp and corn macque choux (pronounced mock shoe), which she brought from the Louisiana Folklife Village. It's a traditional South Louisiana dish that brings together the flavors of Acadiana and the Houma Indian Nation. The shrimp and crisp corn are cooked in a trinity-based roux with slightly sweet tomato sauce and served over rice. She had this on Day 8 last year as well, so it must have been good!

The United Houma Nation has been setting up shop in the fairgrounds for 20 years. Their "village" includes arts and crafts, dancing, pow-wows, food demonstrations, and opportunities to talk to members of the tribe, which is based out of Lafourche Parish. Most accounts date the the Nation's South Louisiana roots to 1682. 

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Lora Ann Chaisson is a longtime leader for her tribe. Her cooking has been featured on the Travel Channel and PBS, and she organizes the Houma Nation's food booths at Jazz Fest "It's a challenge," she says. "We're not a restaurant or a caterer; this is all volunteer. So we organize people into shifts and we drive everyone up from Houma and the bayous every day, starting at 6:30 in the morning with vans and cars picking people up. But I'm very proud to be there. The exposure for the tribe is invaluable, and it's amazing how many other native people come to Jazz Fest and seek us out at the booth."

When asked how traditional Houma cooking fits in with overall Louisiana cuisine, she says, "Honestly, I think other groups mostly took parts of ours to add to theirs. We grew up with gumbo, but I had never heard of a gumbo with roux. Our gumbo is based on onions. It wasn't 'First you make a roux,' it was always 'First you brown your onions.' We use sassafras (filé powder) to thicken it. But like everyone else in Louisiana, food is a big part of our culture."


So, Laurie had eaten, but I had not, and I found the line at Galley Seafood's soft-shell crab po'boy stand to be not too long, so I went for that. It's a Jazz Fest food that had stood the test of time, as I have had it on Day 5 in 2012, Day 4 in 2013, Day 11 in 2014, Day 2 and Day 9 in 2015, Day 2 in 2016, and Day 8 last year! You can check out some of those entries to read a bit more about Galley and the sandwich, a perfectly fried soft shell crab served with pickles on a tasty roll. Hot sauce kicks it up if you want it. There are several varieties available on the fixin's table next to the booth.

Right after eating we went to the Cultural Exchange Pavilion for some gypsy-type jazz from Tatiana Eva-Marie and the Avalon Jazz Band.

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Eva-Marie was born in a musical family to film composer Louis Crelier and solo violinist Anca Maria. She grew up surrounded by classical music on one side and jazz and hippie rock music on the other. 

At age 4 she recorded an album with famous children's performer Henri Dès. She performed in professional theater throughout her childhood and was a guest star in her father's band, The Cotton Club Jazz Orchestra. She attended the Theatre Populaire Romand acting school in Switzerland, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and a special high school for young professional artists. She then moved to Paris, where she studied medieval poetry at the Sorbonne University during the day and performed as a gypsy singer at night in cabarets across the city.

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She performed as a singer and actress in some of the most renowned theaters in France, including the Comedie Francaise and the Theatre du Rond Point. She wrote and directed two musical theater plays that had a lot of success at the Avignon Theater Festival.

Eva-Marie now lives in New York City, where she is lead singer of the Avalon Jazz Band and collaborates with many other artists on film, music, and theater projects.

The music of Avalon Jazz Band is inspired by the Parisian jazz scene of the 1930's and 1940's, a sound made popular by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli. This French style of Hot Jazz became what we now know as "Gypsy Jazz" or "Jazz Manouche." They perform the American standards popular in France at that period, but also the songs of French composers influenced by that new sound and made popular by Yves Montand, Jean Sablon, and Charles Trenet, among others. In addition to these classics, Avalon Jazz Band also performs original music, offering their own vision of what contemporary swing can be, blending their francophone culture into their American experience.

This was very cool music, and those in the crowded pavilion were loving it. Here's my video and here are three complete songs: Belle Belle Belle LouisianaMenilmontanta, and Swing. Here's a full 20-minute performance as well.

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After that we stopped at the Jazz and Heritage stage to see some of the New Breed Brass Band. We saw them last year on Day 3, where you can read more about them. They're a young brass band, which means the place was rockin'! Had such a good time I didn't even think to get the camera out. Here they are from a little later this year in Philadelphia.

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Laurie headed off to the WWOZ tent to refresh before the final act of the day at the Acura stage, while I was going to the Jazz Tent before joining her there for awhile. 

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But first, I caught a couple of minutes of the Stars of Heaven at the Gospel Tent. This group originated in Chicago in 1990 under the founding leadership of Sharon Liggins. Inspired to sing by her mother, Liggins formed a quartet of women to minister the gospel in song in the Chicago area. They sing gospel classics but also write and arrange their own songs, record, and perform around the country. Here's some of the scene at the Gospel Tent for this, and here's something from a performance in 2014.

At the Jazz Tent, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Adonis Rose was playing. This is a group of some of the most talented players in the city, and you can read a lot more about the orchestra and its involvement in the community in the entry from Day 9 in 2016, when I saw them on the Congo Square stage.


Today they were joined on vocals by the awesome Nayo Jones, who we have seen a couple of times with Kermit Ruffins and his band at the Armstrong Park concerts (Day 1 in 2016 and Day 1 last year). She has a perfect voice and personality for a big band vocalist, and she nailed the Anthony Newley and Leslie Briocusse tune Feeling Good, as you'll see in my video. I will be spending more time with this awsome collection of musicians in the future. Here is their arrangement of Earth Song from today's show, and here are 1 and 2 (Big Chief!) others from their performance space at the New Orleans Jazz Market.


I met Laurie at our usual location on the fringe of the crowd at the Acura stage after entering from the track side, up front and within view of most of the stage. We were waiting for Beck to start his set. 

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Beck seems to be enjoying a mid-career renaissance. Not that he ever disappeared. He broke through with his 1994 album "Mellow Gold," featuring the self-loathing anthem Loser, and followed with killer album after killer album, whether the inspiration was the hedonistic pursuits of "Odelay"  in 1996, the world-weary heartbreak of "Sea Change" in 2002, or the infectious synth insanity of "Colors" last year. 

Born Bek David Campbell, the son of composer David Campbell (who played on Carole King's classic album "Tapestry" at age 23 before going on to work on hundreds of gold and platinum records), he now approaches the half-century mark with a seemingly refreshed zest for life and boundless energy for live performance.

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He put on a riotous 90-minute concert that left fans dazzled by his eclectic flexibility. He got onto the stage about 10 minutes late but didn't play around, starting into Devil's Haircut with no delay, followed by the funky bassline of Black Tambourine and then Up All Night. Later in the set, Beck describes Go It Alone as a song that "reminds me of the feeling of the streets in New Orleans." His frequent live pairing of Debra with Prince's Raspberry Beret began a series of covers, including Hank Williams' Lovesick Blues, "a song I spent so long playing ... every once in a while, you gotta dig back to the roots." 

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Back to the present, he did Blue Moon, then Girl, and then Where It's At, which he stops abruptly. "We're getting too carried away with ourselves," he says, dryly. "I have to be the voice of reason right now." He introduced his band members one by one, crediting them for a job well done before diving back into the show with that hip-hop anthem of alienation, Loser. Beck certainly proved he could do it all. 

As you can imagine, was a perfect way for Laurie to end her Jazz Fest day. Here is the video I took at the beginning of the show, and here's an entire show from somewhere in Europe this summer and here is a much longer show from The Anthem in Washington, D.C.

I ended my day at the Fais Do Do stage with Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas. I just love the personality of this band and the R&B-jazz spin they put on their zydeco. They are true entertainers and the music, as usual, was nonstop. Nathan is in constant motion, back and forth, up and down, smiling like he loves the music and knows that you do, too. He innocently asks after each song, "Was that all right for you?" Every once in awhile he'll bring his accordion into the crowd, which he did this year, which adds even more excitement to the show.

The band is Dennis Paul Williams, Nathan's brother, on the jazzy guitar, Junius Antoine on the bass, Djuan Francis on the drums, and Clarence Calais on the scrubboard. There is a lot of family connection in this band. Dennis Paul is Nathan's brother, Clarence is his brother-in-law, and Djuan is his godson.


You can read a lot more about Nathan Williams and this great band at Day 11 in 2013, Day 2 in 2014, and Day 3 in 2015, and Day 9 last year. The only reason there's no reference to 2016 is that Nathan and the Cha Chas, like Beck, fell victim to the early closing due to the huge storm on Day 10. Here is my video from today and here is a whole hour show from the Kennedy Center again. 

Nathan and the Cha Chas are another perfect way to end a Jazz Fest day! Alt-rock or classic zydeco, that's Jazz Fest. You could also have picked from Sheryl Crowe, LL Cool J, Ruthie Foster, or Marcus Miller, among others. The variety at this festival always is astounding!

Tonight we had a relatively low-key evening, strolling into the French Quarter to see where we ended up for some food and finding ourselves not wanting to go too far or stay out too late. On a Friday (and Saturday), the traffic on Canal Street is very bad, so even with the efficiency of the shuttles at the Fair Grounds, it takes quite a while to get back to the Sheraton and then walk to the Staybridge and then get the dust of the Fair Grounds off. It was well after 9 before we left the hotel.

We ended up at a local chain that we have been to before, called the New Orleans Hamburger ans Seafood Company, at the corner of Decatur and Toulouse Streets. It's nothing fancy, but serves some pretty good food that does not break the bank. I had their signature thin-cut fried catfish platter with "Mardi Gras slaw" and garlic herb fries. Laurie had BBQ shrimp pasta, which was ziti with grilled shrimp and a New Orleans style BBQ cream sauce. I had an Abita Amber draft and Laurie, who is really getting into the IPA's on this trip, had NOLA's Hopitoulas.

We walked back to the Staybridge on a very humid evening, and the forecast for tomorrow is mentioning r#@n, although nothing biblical. We shall see. It seems like biblical is the only way it has rained around here during Jazz Fest.

© Jeff Mangold 2012