Sunday of Jazz Fest’s first weekend was Uncommon Music’s last day at the festival. Today we thought about the overall experience and realized how certain themes and certain musicians seem to flavor the whole festival.
For one, we noted that if you don’t see Dr. John, Marcia Ball or George Porter Jr. at least twice each, then you haven’t really been to Jazz Fest (although we were down with the idea that we could keep coming back until we got it right). Jazz Fest also brought with it a dependency on certain foods. This reporter’s favorite treats were Frozen Café au Lait, Spinach Artichoke Casserole and Crawfish Monica. My sincere recommendation is to sample these foods before someone goes and makes them illegal. In particular we found that Jazz Fest’s iconic treat, Mango Freeze, has medicinal qualities as it will usually cure whatever ailment could befall one at the festival, although your mileage may vary.
Sunday’s musical offerings were a day of strong surprises – the Cajun master Glen David Andrews, the heartthrob Spanish vocalist Alejandro Sanz, the spacey jazz of Astral Project, and the NOLA faves Deacon John and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band among many others. One particularly strong discovery was the amazing blues guitarist, Anders Osborne, who knocked out the audience in the cavernous Blues Tent with his performance of “Summertime in New Orleans.” Ending the day, however, the finale of Jazz Fest’s first weekend presented what was arguably the single greatest hour of music anywhere on the planet that day. Or, without argument, we can say the hour offered at least one major act that appealed to every musical taste.
Headlining that day’s concerts were John Mellencamp, Arlo Guthrie, Kenny G., a traditional Jazz Tribute to Mahalia Jackson, John Legend with the Roots, Tom Jones, and the Decemberists. It was during this last performance that we discovered that Colin Meloy of the Decemberists doesn’t much care for photographers (for proof, see the photos). As we left the festival grounds for the last time this year, we were left with our strong memories of an overwhelming fun event and a strong desire to return.
Photos by Steve Hopson