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Category Archives: JazzFest

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Jazz Fest 2011 - Jimmy Buffett by Gordon Robinette

So, this week the came the official and announcement of the 2011 Jazz Fest poster. The poster is a highly sought after commodity for many music consessieurs and collectors. Both the subjects and the artists vary through the years since the poster advertising the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1975. The great Louis Prima was immortalized by the great Tony Bennett last year — a true collectors’ item on several levels.

Louis Prima 2010 - Tony Bennett

Probably the most identifiable and beloved Jazz Fest posters were done by James Michalopoulos. He uses the splendid French Quarter architecture as a backdrop for several New Orleans legends who have been mainstays of Jazz Fest and of New Orleans music. The series of Dr. John, Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint all convey exactly what Jazz Fest is about and the greats that have made IT great.

Dr. John, Louis "Satchemo" Armstrong, Fats Domino, Allen Touissaint

And then there’s the great Cajun artist, George Rodrigue, of Blue Dog fame — and recent savior of the Youngsville Heritage Oak. Rodrigue combines his iconical dark oak tree and ever-popular blue dog to immortalize Louis Armstrong (once again), Pete Fountain and the great Al Hirt.

Satchemo, Pete Fountain & Al Hirt

Again, these images capture the essence of these great talents and their impact on Jazz music and making New Orleans its “Mecca”.

So, imagine my surprise at this year’s poster. First, the artist is Gordon Robinette. Robinette IS well known in New Orleans, but not as an artist. He is best known as a talking head/talk show host at WJBO radio station. I must say that as an artist, he is quite accomplished. I do like how he borrowed from the much beloved concept of Michalopoulos’ use of French Quarter architecture and I am impressed that he includes a future Jimmy Buffett looking over his shoulder at the young, broke street performer behind a Falcon, no less. (Which reminds me…I have a long, lost story about a Falcon. But I digress…that’s for another day.)

However, I am perplexed at just why Jimmy Buffett is featured on a JAZZ FEST poster? Now, don’t get me wrong. My Jimmy love is strong. See here, here & here. But this choice seems a bit indulgent. Is it a payback for Jimmy’s fantastic support during last year’s oil spill crisis and his wonderful free concert that many homies considered his “homecoming” to the Gulf Coast?

Or, perhaps it was meant to bolster Jimmy’s spirits after his recent dive off the stage in Australia? A pat on the back for investing in the coast by expanding his Magaritaville franchise in Pensacola, FL and Biloxi, MS? Dunno. But one thing I DO know is that Jimmy Buffett is not the impactful son of the South that the other icons that graced Jazz Fest posters before him.

I DO love Jimmy…but I’m conflicted. He is from Mobile, AL…where I live. He has played here ZERO times since he graduated from McGill Institute back in 1966 (He was a cheerleader, for Christ’s sake). His concert at the Gulf was the first time he’s played there in forever, even though his sister, Lulu, has a VERY popular bar/restaurant on the Intercoastal Canal in Gulf Shores. Jimmy is more a child of Key West and the Carribean. A few years ago, he started playing Jazz Fest, but he has NEVER been a staple there. While Robinette’s portrait refers to Jimmy’s street performing in the late ’60s, the fact is that Jimmy Buffett spent a relatively short period of time on the gummy, stinky streets of the French Quarter before heading out to Californina and ultimately, grounding himself in South Florida.

So, to wrap this all up…I am pumped up about the Jimmy poster because of the awesomeness that is Jimmy Buffett and all he stands for. But in true Libra fashion, I am disappointed that something that has generally been pure and true to its’ core concerning subjects chosen to promote one of the most fantastic musical experiences on Earth has chosen a subject that is, well, not exactly true to itself.

And, just to quench that burning question of MY favorite Jazz Fest poster EVAH?

Because, IT’S IRMA, baby!!

 

Jazz Fest, Part Deux

So, this weekend is the final weekend of JazzFest in New Orleans. As I related in last week’s post, the schedule is jam-packed with talent. On Thursday, we missed Tower of Power, Betty LaVette, Ruby Wilson, and Widespread Panic, not to mention Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys…and I imagine the hit of the night was Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927.

Friday’s star-studded line-up includes: Brett Dennen, the incomparable John Prine, family favorite Theryl “The Houseman” deClouet and the great Little Stevie Wonder.

Livin’ for the City

On Saturday, the A T & T Blue Room will be broadcasting live from Jazz Fest. I watched it last year and it was a blast. If you’re looking for a little virtual entertainment this weekend, tune into The Blue Room. You might catch the Marcia Ball, Diana Krall, MM favorite Geno Delafose, Aaron Neville in the Gospel Tent, and the piece de resistance….the one, the only….Jimmy Buffett. Naturally, there will be thousands of Parrotheads rockin’ and a reelin’ to the consummate Gulf Coast Boy.

Margaritaville

Jazz Fest winds up on Sunday with Sonny Landreth, The Radiators, The Raconteurs, Keb Mo, and closes out with the Derek Trucks Band and the hometown reunion of The Neville Brothers.

Big Chief

I’m off to Philadelphia, MS for a little R&R, so have a great weekend and catch the The Blue Room broadcast, if you can.

Peace out.

 

Jazz Fest Opens Today!

The 39th Annual Jazz Fest opens today to gorgeous skies and springtime excitement in New Orleans. If you ever get the chance to attend one of the weekends of Jazz Fest, do it. There’s no better time in New Orleans. It’s generally a time of joie de vivre, but this year seems particularly special as many New Orleans residents, like Aaron Neville, are finally home and the debacle of Katrina is ebbing some. The Spring continues to bring new growth in flora and fauna, as well as re-built homes and lives with more people and businesses popping up all over the place.

Here’s a sampling of today’s performers….

Gone, Gone, Gone — Robert Plant & Allison Krause

featuring T-Bone Burnett

Earlier Bagdad

Drunken Angel, Susan Cowsill Band

Kim Carson

Angel from Montgomery, Theresa Andersson Group

and the star attraction for tonight’s set, Sheryl Crow (with a nice little NOLA homage):

Love is Free

and on the other stages, a few MM favorites….

The Iguanas

The Zydepunks

Doyle Bramhall, featuring C.C. Adcock (a Lafayette boy):

C. C. Adcock

Ellis Marsalis

Buckwheat Zydeco

Bruce Daigrepont (a great profile that gives you the essence of a Cajun)

Tab Benoit

Terrence Simien (another great Cajun example)

Of course, there is always great Gospel, as well:

Paul Porter & The Christianaires

Should be a great weekend for sun and fun in The Big Easy. Next weekend, AT&T will carry portions of Jazz Fest Live at The Blue Room, so check it out.

 
 
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