A Guide to Jazz Fest 2018: Day 1

Jazz Fest: Day 1, Friday April 27

Dis or Dat . . . A plan for when you just can’t decide...

Grab your gear, hop on your bike and its off for the first day of the 2018 Jazzfest.  This year, thanks to a load of requests for me to repeat my daily “fest foray” I’m happy to oblige.

For those of you who just need a loose plan. Use this to get you going in the right direction. As we all know the music moves you, the crowd takes you and it’s inevitable that you’ll run into friends old and new that will guide you along to a memory making day full of unforgettable Jazzfest fun.

So do some of dis. Eat some of dat. And get out there and dance your ass off ‘cause the Fest is counting on you!

Skip this if you are a fest fanatic . . .

So, this is your first fest. Be prepared for extremes or at least look at the daily forecast. You’ll want to be cute, chic, practical, memorable, portable, and comfortable. Yeah. It’s that serious.

Sunglasses. Check. Sunscreen. Check.

Backpack with lightweight rain gear, sealable plastic bags for your cellphone, wallet, keys, money. Phone charger and extra charge bank. And, rain boots. ‘cause if it pours rain overnight the fairgrounds turn into a sloppy mess and the boots are a must. And, while you are at it, through in an extra pair of socks.

Not much shuts down jazzfest (high wind and lightening, that’s it) So it can be so watery that Lake New Orleans forms in the infield and it’s c’est la vie and lasses les bon temps rouler. So you can rouler the day away pack your fanny pack full, tighten down your backpack and grab your favorite sunhat and get on down to the Fairgrounds – it’s festival season.

Dis and Dat Day...

So in keeping with the theme “Dis of Dat” we compiled a day of choices. It was difficult because there isn’t one musician, one stage that we couldn’t open our lawn chair, plant our flag, toss the blanket and stay for the day. But we know some of the best days are spent moving from stage to stage. And, that’s good for a little bit of dis and a whole lot of dat....

And, were off...


Michael Skinkus & Moyumba , Jazz & Heritage Stage @11:20a-12:15p

The first time I saw master percussionist Michael Skinkus was 20 years or so ago on Frenchman Street at Café Brasil on a Sunday evening. Even my untrained ear knew what he was doing as a musician was special.This project is a fusion conducted by Skinkus bringing jazz aesthetics to ancient Yoruba ceremonial rhythm in the form of original compositions. Pair that with the line up of singers that usually included one of my favorite female vocalists Margie Perez and you’ll start your Jazzfest right with some music that will vibrate your soul.

Mykia JovanCongo Square Stage @11:25-12:20

Its NOCCA alum and native New Orleanian Mykia’s Jazzfest debut. Mykia delivers an affectation on Jazz standards sitting back on her deliveries until she pulls the big gun of her range out of her back pocket and reels you in. Is it jazz? Is it the blues? Is it 2018 or 1940? Naw. It’s just Mykia doing her thang. And, who cares about all that anyway . .. maybe you’ll just be in the presence of future greatness, style and a new breed of New Orleans’ female musical talent rising up from Frenchman Street hangouts and on to a national audience? Be there to cheer her on and maybe in 30 years you’ll say, I was there the first time!

Eric Lindell, Gentilly Stage @12:30-1:30

Lindell is not a native son, but he adopted New Orleans as his home base around 1999 about the time his career took off. He headlines and he “backlines” with the likes of the who’s who of NOLA’s musical gentry collaborating with his peers is not unusual. Lindell’s genre is somewhere between “America Blues” and “Blue Eyed Soul” you know like Hall and Oates. But don’t let that color your opinion just yet. Lindell is his own captain. He can teeter between delivering a bona fide country tome as in his song “In The Country” but he’ll  turn that upside down with songs like “Lay Back Down” and “See Me Through”. Lindell walks the line perfectly.

Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns, Blues Tent @12:30-1:20

The first time I heard Meschiya Lake sing I was in awe. It was a fall evening in a pop up speak easy in the Marigny and she stood on the makeshift stage and sang “jolene.” Just her and her guitar. It was magic. And, that’s what I’ve come to expect when Lake and her posse the Big Horns roll on stage. She is studied, poised, relaxed and leads like a boss. A lady boss that is. The collaboration of The Big Horns began in 2009 and if time is magic then let’s let time march on with all of us in town soaking up Lake’s style and The Big Horns . . .well big delivery. It’s almost a not to be missed set.

Alexey MartiWWOZ Jazz Tent @1:30-2:25

It’s Cuba. It’s New Orleans.  It’s so mesmerizing. And, it can only be one musician, Alexey Marti. Marti brings the cool to conga. You can sense he is a traditionalist. But, Marti will surprise you with his intensity and passion as he lovingly coaxes the rhythms and cadences that move one to dance, sway and receive the music as an emotion as well as a sound.  Alexey is the real deal. And, if you want to get real hang out for Marti’s set.

Davell Crawford, Acura Stage @2:15-3:15

Davell Crawford on the big stage. I don’t know if I can take it! One things for sure, if you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing and seeing Mr. Crawford I suggest you stake your claim at the Acura stage so you can experience a real entertainer, a real piano player and a real fashion icon. First of all Crawford is just a delight. He always looks like he loves what he is doing. His vocals make you want to sing along but dare not because you are going to miss what you came for – he is a master. I don’t care if he plays oldies, his own compositions or runs through gospel like an Easter Sunday preacher. Crawford is a master. And, you will be blown away.

Dirty Dozen Brass BandCongo Square @3:35-4:45

I just have to . . .it’s Jazzfest in New Orleans and you must see a real brass band. And, the Dirty Dozen is sure to keep it real. The original line up came together back in the late 70’s. The DDBB’s influence lies in their being the first brass band to meld in funk and be bop to their repertoire. So the next time you run into a brass band on the corner and they are sampling and filling in you know where it came from. So DDBB are innovators on the scene and although the lineup has changed through the years the sensibility, talent,  fun and excitement hold true. Besides, it’s the sound of New Orleans. And it doesn’t get better than this.

Samantha FishBlues Tent @4:15-5:20

This lady is a phenom. She is killing it on the blues guitar and if that weren’t enough her vocals are just stunning. If and when Bonnie Raitt feels like passing the torch, she better find Ms. Fish and hand it over to her directly because this lady is knocking it down. If you are a blues fan whatsoever, you have to be here.   

What not to miss...

Palm Court Jazz Band at Economy Hall
Dancing Grounds Youth at the Kid’s Tent
Alexis and The Samurai at the Lagnaippe Stage
Bobby Rush interviewed by Scott Billington
Luther Kent interview with Marc Stone
Back to Back on the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage

Dis is Where all the Dats Will Be...

StingAcura Stage @5:35pm-7pm

Sting, because if you never have...you should see them at least once. Right? What else could I empart here. It’s all been said. All been written. So , I was wondering what I could help out with here. And, it’s the set list. And, this is what I discovered . . . its a little bit of old, a little bit of new and a few cool surprises. Or not because I’m going to spoil it if you read on – jus’ sayin. If all holds true, Sting should start off with a set list that should include favorite Police tomes like Synchronicity and Spirits in the Material World to the epimonyous Every Little Things She Does in Magic.

Of course Fields of Gold, Shape of my Heart, So Lonely, Walking on the Moon, a David Bowie cover – Ashes to Ashes  along with others will fill in the set like the glue that holds us to Sting and reminds us when we first fell in love with the Police or when we discovered that he was strong enough to stand alone in all his musicianship.

And expect the set to end with Roxanne, the song that really started it all. Sting does plan for two encores – Next  to You in all its reggae inspired glory in the first and if you can coax him back and you should, he’ll reward us with  . . . Every Breath You Take . . . this set should Leave us all breathless for the 80’s and yet satisfied that Sting will remain the real, real.

Heartthrob to Heart and Soul, Icon of the Rock World, Sturgill SimpsonGentilly Stage @5:30p-7pm

Singer songwriter and winner of the 2015 Best Americana Album at the Grammy’s are just one of his many accolades. He is an activist and outspoken on many issues that are of relevance in todays’ landscape, gun control and gay rights and other relevant issues. If you are into discovering something new(ish) in the music world you might want to forego the main stage and setup right here for an eye opening, mind altering set compliments of John Sturgill.