Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sazerwrap Part 2: The Music

The Sazerwrap has been the @RockBodyElec way of rounding up all the amazing things that happen down at our annual trip to Jazzfest in New Orleans.  We will breaking the review up into two parts, Food and Music, today is the Music.  Only 11 Months until next years festival!

It has been a few years, but RtBE is bringing back the Sazerwrap for the 50th Anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. This is our 11th straight year of catching the fest and needless to say each year is magic. The trips keep evolving as does the festival and city which hosts it. Today we will chat about the tunes we heard and shows we saw.

One day was spent at the fairgrounds this year, but even without the Rolling Stones Thursday May 2nd was an amazing day of music. We will get to that, but arriving in town Wednesday saw some good tunes as well. 

It started at one of he best record shops in the country, the Louisiana Music Factory where Basin Street Records was having a showcase of their artists on Wednesday the 1st. We moseyed over there after a filling breakfast and caught the jazz styling's of Dr. Michael White and crew who were kicking it way old school.

Sticking around on Frenchman in the early afternoon the sticky weather was off set by the cold beer and sweet tunes of a stripped down version of the Eight Dice Cloth Jazz Band at Bamboula's. Here is an older video of more of the band playing the Quarter:

Thursday was Fest day and it was gorgeous, both rhythmically and visually as Big Chief Charles and the White Cloud Hunters kicked off things for our crew with shaking tambourines, call and responses and some amazing outfits on the Jazz and Heritage Stage. Below are a few pics:  

Caught a few songs from Andy J Forest in the Blues tent as the mix of bayou/Texas blues was perfect for the sticky air (more on them later) before strolling over to catch the Crocdile Gumboot Dancers of South Africa in the Cultural Exchange Tent. The beauty about this day was strolling around and catching some songs from a multitude of artists like Zena Morris who ended her set with a keyboard lead cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" for the opening set of the Congo Square stage. as children hopped for joy on stage and in the crowd   
After that there was a stroll over to the Fais Do-Do stage to catch out the upbeat Cajun folk/rock of the Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band. The outfit was a good mix of stomping Zydeco to kick up some dust to as they played the title track to their newest album "Bienvenue Dans le Sud de la Louisiane". Bruce mentioned that this is 39th year playing the festival...unreal.
Speaking of getting old, it was time to hit the literal AARP tent and check out some of the six string styling of The New Orleans Guitar Masters: Jimmy Robinson,John Rankin, and Cranston Clements for a few songs. Here they are from a few years ago:

Only caught a song or two before cruising over to the catch the wrapping up of Pocket Ace's Brass Band for their set closing "In The City": 
Strolling over to the Jazz tent brought the first full on surprise of the day as Kyle Roussel History and Future of New Orleans Piano was just dynamite
We entered the tent right when Roussel went into a solo instrumental version of "Eleanor Rigby" which he blended into a full band version of Allan Toussaint's "Southern Nights" magically. I believe Keenan Turner was on bass and Peter Bonneville on drums and I missed the name of the sax player (feel free to comment below and I will update the players).  They closed with some fire Longhair covers and were simply put great and need to be explored more. Speaking of which...

We finally made it over to the main stage and were simply blown the fuck away by Samantha Fish and her band. RtBE had showcased her in our Dylan series to prep for the Fest, but everything we had heard from her were mostly blues based rock with a splash of soul. Her set on the main stage was utterly dynamic and more reminiscent of one of RtBE's favorites Jack White. Her set was noisy, fiery, soulful, magnetic and exhilarating. A combo of White, Bonnie Raitt, and Christina Aguilera, Fish is an artist who must be followed, while her last few studio albums are fine, nothing compares to her live set on this day...she is a must catch again for RtBE.

The highlights to these ears were her cigar box slide playing and her amazing singing/plying/soloing combo on "Don't Say You Love Me" which was mega. "Somebody's Always Trying" was another monster as she incorporated her soul laden horns with her ripping licks...Here is a bit of her cigar box slide playing and electric stomping country blues:

Walking over to catch the opening tune at the blues tent allowed us to catch our favorite Glen David Andrews song "I Can Do Bad For Myself" as the nine piece on the stage was funky, soulful and singing to the heavens, getting the crowd up and rocking. Not long for that tent though it was time for Dumpsatphunk back on the main stage.

Ivan Neville and crew threw down the way they always do, delivering a powerful set of their tunes just like we caught a few weeks ago at Brooklyn Bowl. There was one special difference though as they brought out Brandon Taz Niederauer and Karl Denson to do an approx cover of "Can't You Hear Me Knocking". It was a killer and hopefully video will surface of it soon. Oh wait...

Or Fest ended after heading over to Congo Square to close out our day with Big Sam's Funky Nation as Sam knows how to throw a party. He was a ball of energy leading dances, singing and playing from the stage. "Coffee Pot" was a highlight as all the players on stage got into the act, we strolled out of the fairgrounds still shaking to his playing on tunes like "Apple Pie" and "Freak". What a beautiful day of music.

The weekend was filled with more music but some highlights worth mentioning were catching more of Andy J Forest at The Spotted Cat where his harmonica playing was a highlight, even though his vocals were hard to hear through his vintage mic.
More jazz was consumed on Frenchman Street and the one late night show this year turned out to be Little Freddie King down at BJ's in the Bywater. Freddie is a New Orleans legend who at 78 is still killing it. He played a set of swampy John Lee Hooker styled raw blues singing about crack heads and pimps to a packed house. Thanks to Ryan Scully for cluing us in to this set as it was a proper way to wrap up our live tunes this trip...until the 12th Jazzfest in a row next year. 



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