APRIL 22 - MAY 2, 2004

First thing, check out the official web site for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which will feature up-to-the-minute schedules of daytime festival performances as well as evening concerts beginning within a month of Jazzfest 2000.

Now, if you're heading down to Jazzfest and you wanna do it like a pro, read this Insider's Guide to Jazzfest.

Last but not least, if you want to know how a hardcore native New Orleanian does Jazzfest ... here's the complete account of what I did at 1994's Jazzfest. Yes, I know, you're going to say, "Jesus, I can't believe you ate all that food!"



Fest Food:

Creole's stuffed bread
From Creole's Lunch House in Lafayette. One of the very best things at the festival, a little bun filled with meat, sausage, peppers, spices and a little cheese. Fantastic and addictive. You must have one every day.
Strawberry lemonade
Best thing to drink at the Fest, along with iced tea. The beer, unfortunately, is of the Miller Lite grade, although they had Molson Ice this year. There are rumors that Abita will have the beer concession next year. YEAH!!!
Soft-shell crab po-boy
Heaven. Nothing more need be said.
Iced tea, sweetened.
Lots of this helped cause my caffeine withdrawal attack this Tuesday ... "No Chuck, you don't have a brain tumor; just drink some tea."
Creole's stuffed bread
Another one.
Boudin balls
Boudin -- a rice-filled sausage with pork, pork livers, onions, garlic and lots of spices -- removed from the casing, rolled into balls, breaded and fried. Yummy Acadiana fast-food-snack. I did a mean thing to an out-of-towner. Some girl -- probably a Tulane student from the northeast -- came up to the stand and said, "What's boo-dinn balls?", horribly mangling the pronunciation. I had just gotten mine, and said, "Well, they're a local delicacy; might be an acquired taste to someone like yourself. They're the breaded and deep-fried testicles of the wild freshwater boudin ..." Just as her eyes got to the size of dinner plates, I said, "Just kiddin', dawlin' ..."

Dinner at the Crescent City Brewhouse:

Red beer; then some black beer
I forget the varieties; they had several, brewed in-house, and very good.
Smoked shrimp po-boy with fries
The only bad meal I had in New Orleans on this trip. The dish looked great on the menu, but when it came it tasted just like a garden-variety fried-shrimp po-boy, and they were supposed to be smoked and sauteed. The fries were cold and soggy. I tried to send it back, and they said the kitchen was closed. I complained, and they only charged me for the beer. Oh well ...

Fest music:

The White Cloud Hunters
A black Indian tribe from the neighborhoods of New Orleans. I sat with my friends John and Ian from L.A. while we ate our soft-shell crab po-boys
Beau Jocque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers
FANTASTIC grooves from this guy! Very influenced by Boozoo's style, but takes off in a direction influenced by soul, modern and classic R&B and "things I like that I hear on BET."
The New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars
Now I've heard it all! Straight klezmer, then reggae klezmer, then funk klezmer, then traditional jazz klezmer ... plus they're probably the only klezmer band on the planet to have an African-American drummer -- "Mean" Willie Green of the Neville Brothers. This is what I love about New Orleans!
The Band
Great. And they even played "The Weight" for me. I nearly levitated.
Christine Balfa and Balfa Toujours
I wish she hadn't waited until after her daddy died to play and sing like this. These folks are marvelous, playing both old standards, Balfa tunes, and new ones they've written. Monsieur Dewey would be proud. The future of Cajun music is assured.

Late at night:

The Iguanas, at Cafe Brasil.
We only caught the last set, as we had late dinner, and my sister and her significant other wanted to take me out for drinks first. These guys are one of my absolute favorite bands: New Orleans grooves, lots of Tex-Mex, traditional Mexican music, Spanish vocals, that great twin tenor sax sound, Rod's searing guitar, and when they switch to accordion and bajo sexto ... I love these guys! The new album NUEVO BOOGALOO is out on May 24.
Abita Turbodog ale, and LOTS of it.
It's the darkest of a whole slew of beers made by the local microbrewery north of Lake Pontchartrain. DIXIE IS DEAD! They also make a Golden, an Amber, a Bock, various Christmas ales and wheat beers every now and again. Fantastic. It's safe to assume that this went on all each night of late-night carousing.


Fest food:

Creole's stuffed bread
Strawberry lemonade

Cochon-de-lait po-boy
Nirvana. Pit-roasted suckling pig, marvelously seasoned, sliced thin and tender, piled on a po-boy with mynez and gravy. Funny story: In '91 my friend Doron, who's from Israel, came down with me. He took one sniff of my cochon-de-lait po-boy and *HAD* to have one. He ordered, looked, took a deep smell, smiled, opened his mouth, and hesitated. "This is ALL pig?" he asked. "Yup," said I. He said, "Oh well ... my poor mother," and devoured it. Oh well, he didn't really keep kosher anyway ...
Crawfish sacks
Crawfish tails, in a spicy cream sauce, ladled into the center of a crepe; the crepe is tied into a little sack with a green onion top, then deep-fried for a minute to make it stiff, then served in a bed of the sauce. YUM!
Alligator pie

Ground alligator tail meat & spices in a flaky pastry dough
Fried green tomatoes
I had never had these. They were breaded with a well-seasoned coating and fried. Problem is, tomatoes are mostly water, and these things are yangin' hot when they come out of the fryer.
Iced tea, sweetened
And lots of it, baby

Dinner at the Camellia Grill:

Potato, onion and cheese omelette
The omelettes at the Camellia are the best in the world, and this one's my longtime favorite. The Deadly Sin of Gluttony nearly got me, and I nearly ordered a pecan waffle as well, but I held out.

Iced tea

Chocolate pecan pie
Oh. My. GAWD.

Fest music:

Jason Marsalis
I went to the Fest with my uncle Mike, who's almost the same age as me, and we caught up on our lives while listening to jazz and eating stuffed bread
Placide Adams Dixieland Jazz Band
Disappointing; we left Economy Hall after about 15 minutes
Dalton Broussard and the Lawtell Playboys
I was really looking forward to this; Dalton's a great accordionist, bluesy zydeco singer, and his band plays an older rootsy rural style you don't hear much anymore. I was shocked to hear the band announce that Dalton had just died on the previous Wednesday. His son filled in on accordion, and they said that Daddy would have wanted it this way. They were great.)
the subdudes
Great, soulful, New Orleans-grooved acoustic-electric folk-rock band originally from New Orleans, but who now reside in Colorado ... guess dey got sicka dat hot wedda.
Eddie LeJeune and the Morse Playboys
Eddie carries his legendary father Iry's torch beautifully, and will be making beautiful traditional Cajun music for a long time coming.
Wendell Brunious Jazz Band
Of the younger generation of traditional jazz musicians. Fantastic trumpet player, great singer, plus ... he's got Dr. Michael White playing clarinet in his band! My favorite after Willie Humphrey, even more than Pete Fountain.
Banu Gibson and her Hot New Orleans Jazz Band
Terrific, fun and entertaining local singer of jazz and standards, backed by a hot trad jazz combo)

Late at night:

Tribe Nunzio, at Cafe Brasil
Cool local band; dark, throbbing, sensual,jazzy folky rocky thang. They don't play much anymore, so it was good to see them.


Fest food:

Creole's stuffed bread

Strawberry lemonade

Alligator sausage po-boy
Delicious! Spicy, flavorful sausage that tasted much more of alligator than pork, in a spicy Creole gravy with onions and peppers
Crawfish pie

Crawfish beignets with white remoulade sauce
A new entry at the Fest this year. Beignet dough, less sweet then the dessert ones, loaded with crawfish tails and seasonings, deep-fried and smothered in this lovely white remoulade sauce, which really makes the dish.
Plum Street Sno-ball:
Necta cream wit' condensed milk, bra.

Dinner at Ye Olde College Inn

The wait at Franky and Johnny's was 90 minutes; the wait at Mandina's was over an hour. This was Plan C, and it was ... OK. Not bad.

Shrimp gumbo

Fried catfish po-boy

Iced tea

Fest music:

Marcia Ball
Yeah! The lady piano professor in the red dress. Big fun.
Lil' Queenie and the Soulful Satellites
Leigh "Lil' Queenie" Harris, New Orleans grooved rock 'n soul singer, beloved by locals for years. She gathered a HUGE band, 19 pieces, and did a great set. She then recorded a live album that night at the theatre at 333 St. Charles)
D. L. Menard
Still recovering from the fire that destroyed his chair factory, he's as cheerful and entertaining as ever. Besides his own Cajun compositions and standards, there's no one else I'd rather hear do Hank Williams songs than D. L.; it's like Hank entered his soul when he died. He played with yet another group of musicians this year: Corey McCauley on accordion, Terry Huval from Jambalaya on bass, Ken David on fiddle. BTW, D. L.'s wife Louella makes the best crawfish etouffee in the world ... sorry Mom!
At the Gospel Tent:
New Zion Trio +1, The Famous Mighty Imperials (who've got FANTASTIC singers, and they're from a local church!), and a bit of the Mighty Clouds of Joy. CAN I GET A WIT-NESS? AAAAAA-MEN!!
Dr. John
FONKY! Get da fonk out, and shut da fonk up!

Late at night, at the Maple Leaf Bar:

Big Joe and the Dynaflows
Terrific roots band opened; check out their new album)
The Iguanas
Their regular Sunday night gig. We met the most amazing person that night. My sister Melissa and I were way up front the whole time, and right up there was this tiny little 85-year-old lady, who danced all night and sang along with all the songs, especially the Spanish songs. I didn't want to be rude and ask who she was and why she was there, although we did chat a little, and she danced with me a couple of times! Derek Huston, one of their sax players, filled me in later -- her name is Juanita, she's sort-of their collective adopted grandmother, and she goes to ALL of their local gigs whenever she's feeling well, which is most of the time. She's even coined a new Spanish verb, which I think is "iguanallandar", and it means "to go out and see the Iguanas". We loved her! And she stayed until the very end; the Iguanas played from 11:30pm until 3:30am


I slept laaaaaaaaate. Went to the Louisiana Music Factory and dropped over $200 -- I was a very baaaaaad boy. Popped over to Tower and dropped a couple bucks too. Gawd sakes ... so much for the money I was saving to pay the sales tax and registration on the car I just bought ...

Lunch at Liuzza's:

Deep-fried battered dill pickle slices
De rigueur at this joint, one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. And yes, they're GREAT! Believe me. This prompted my friend Lou in San Francisco to say, "Goddamn, you guys will batter and deep-fry any thing that isn't nailed down!"
Sweet potato french fries
Yummy, served with a shaker of cinnamon sugar. I've gotta figure out how to make these, but less greasy
Crawfish and shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
Don't even mention fat content... God, was it good!

Dessert at Angelo Brocato's:

Lemon ice
I really needed something non-fat; Brocato's is the best in the world
A slice of spumoni
For my sister

Dinner at Mandina's:

I always go for the special at Mandina's; it's a sure bet. This time, I saw it and almost jumped for joy. Stuffed trout meuniere -- trout filets stuffed with crabmeat and shrimp dressing in a meuniere sauce. The waiter came, I ordered it, and he said, "Oh, I'm sorry podna, we're all outta dat." I nearly wept. But all was not lost --

Red beans and rice, with paneed veal
The red beans were wonderfully smoky, in a way that was both unusual and very familiar at the same time. It has been years since I've had paneed, or breaded and pan-fried, veal; it was tender and delicious, and was bigger than the sole of my shoe.)

Late at night:

Well, we had intended to go to Treme Music Hall to see ReBirth, but when we got back to my sister's boyfriend's place, we were so stuffed we could hardly breathe. We sat on the sofa, started watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and fell asleep ...


Very relaxed and leisurely day. Slept VERY late, had a "food hangover", as my sister put it. Visited Loyola University, my old stomping grounds, saw my old professor and advisor, Dr. Bill Hammel, and visited my old high school classmate Louis Poché, whom I hadn't seen in 16 years and whom I ran into on the Internet.

Lunch at Domilise's:

Hot sausage po-boy, dressed, with Creole mustard and gravy
My longtime favorite po-boy at Domilise's. Got mildly freaked out when some guy in there recognized me as being the guy that does the "Gumbo" radio show on KCRW, and I hadn't opened my mouth other than to put food in it. I still haven't got used to that kind of thing ...
Two Barq's.
In da bottles.
Zapp's Cajun Craw-tators potato chips.
Yummy! Dial 1-800-HOT-CHIP for your very own supply!

Refreshment break at the actual Plum Street Sno-ball stand:

Large peach sno-ball with condensed milk

Dinner ova by ma mamma's:

Crawfish etouffee

Baked greenbean and artichoke casserole
Almost too good for humans to be allowed to have
Granny's brownies
My grandmother makes the best brownies in the world. Maybe I can get her to put some hash in them one day ... ;-)

Late at night:

C. J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band

Boozoo Chavis and the Majic Sounds

Terrance Simien and the Mallet Playboys, at Tipitina's
The show was absolutely fantastic, and believe it or not, Terrance blew everyone off the stage.
Also had some

Tip's french fries
Very good, and slathered with Tabasco, and
the usual copious amounts of Abita.


Another sleep-late day, thank Gawd.

Lunch with my parents, at Uglesich's:

Mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat and drizzled with olive oil

Crawfish bisque
Thick and spicy, with lots of stuffed heads
Fried freshwater soft-shell crab
A la carte. I loved mine, but Mom complained they were too greasy. I didn't think so, and she always does that anyway; one milliliter of grease and she has heartburn for days.
Also tried some of my Dad's dish:

Crawfish Hugo
Crawfish tails sauteed in butter with onions and lots of shredded carrots, which gave it a wonderful sweet flavor
Went ova to da West Bank -- a BIG stretch for me, bra -- to visit my old friend Dean Leone, now a pediatrics resident at Children's Hospital, and utterer of one of my favorite mottoes: "If it's free ... take two." Floated in the pool, sipped margaritas and talked about food and old times all afternoon.

Dinner at Franky and Johnny's:

Another of my favorite old haunts, and a great neighborhood restaurant uptown on Arabella St. down by da river.

Crawfish pie

Stuffed crab platter with fries, peas and salad

Stuffed artichoke

Late at night:

Taj Mahal

Los Lobos, at the House of Blues
The House of Blues was ... OK, pretty cool, cool as a place can be when it's created rather than having evolved, like Tip's or the Maple Leaf. Heavy folk-art motif in the decor, which I found more appealing than I would have found some Hard Rock Cafe kind of thing (they've got the same co-owner). The guys were great; Los Lobos was as wonderful as ever, and they played three encores. Plus, I ran into a friend of mine that I know through D. L. Menard; when I ordered my chairs from D. L., this guy Walt brought them out to me in California when we took his regular trip to visit his daughter. Turns out he's friends with Los Lobos, got me backstage, where I met the band, and found out that David Hidalgo, Louie Perez and Steve Berlin are "Gumbo" listeners! I levitated!! Of course, they asked, "What happened to you? We don't hear you on the weekend anymore?" I told them they gotta stay up late now ... Anyway, one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me at the Fest, or ever!


Early lunch, with my uncle Mike and his law partner Jack, at The China Blossom on the West Bank:

I had never been here, but apparently it got four out of five beans in the review in the Times-Picayune. Here's why:

Fried soft-shell crab, in a ginger-garlic sauce, smothered with crawfish tails.
Holy bejeebies! One of the best things I've ever had!
Pork fried rice
This was only adequate, garden-variety fried rice, but who cares? The entree was so good it didn't matter.

Iced tea

The family is from Hong Kong, and the chef cooks with lots of local ingredients. And another thing I love about New Orleans: the mother, who was the maitre'd, spoke with a half-Chinese, half-Yat accent and called us "dawlin'", and the kids, who were raised there, could have walked right out of the streets of Beijing but have full-on Yat accents. I love how New Orleans assimilates cultures, adds them to its own, and has the two cultures augment one another so beautifully. It's shined in this aspect with Creole-Italian cuisine and culture, and I'm glad to see it happening with Creole-Chinese as well. I can't wait for Creole-Vietnamese!

Fest food:

Creole's stuffed bread

Strawberry lemonade

Pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo
Dark, smoky and flavorful, from Prejean's Restaurant
Lemon crepes

Creole's stuffed bread
Yes, another one
Plum Street necta cream sno-ball, with condensed milk

And we skipped dinner so that we could get to Cowboy Mouth later at Tip's, but while at Tip's I had some


Tip's french fries

and of course, lots of Abita

Fest music:

Inez Catalon and Marce Lacouture
Unfortunately, I only caught the very end of their set. Miss Inez is an octogenarian Creole house ballad singer, and her style of music has almost completely died out. Marce is a young singer and folklorist, and has for the last several years apprenticed herself to Miss Inez to learn her singing style and all of her songs. It's quite a daunting task.
Sonny Landreth and the Goners
Louisiana's home-grown guitar hero. Fantastic roots, blues and slide player, who put on an amazing set. He's got a new record coming out soon.
George Porter Jr. and the Runnin' Pardners
From the funky Meters, the funkiest bass player on Earth, with his own band. They've got a new live album out, which I'm listening to as I type. Funkify your life!
Canray Fontenot and Bois-Sec Ardoin
They've been playing together for decades, and within the last couple of years both were on the verge of death, from lung cancer and stroke, respectively. Well god damn ... they got better. They played wonderfully, although they looked a bit thin. They're among the last of the old-timey Creole players, pre-zydeco, and they're both national treasures. Canray's smile is in and of itself a national treasure. I guess it's that whiskey Canray drinks every day that kept him going!)
David Doucet
... who played a solo acoustic set at the Music Heritage stage in the Grandstand Tent. The pre-eminent Cajun guitarist and member of Beausoleil, he did songs in English (!) for the first time in a dozen years: we got a Doc Watson tune, "Deep River Blues", and another country tune; plus lots of Cajun songs in decidedly different arrangements.
Currently at the top of the alternative rock thang in New Orleans. Jazzy, funky, loud, with traces of the Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Nels Cline and Fred Frith -- imagine them all fused and having grown up in New Orleans. Basically guitar, bass, drums and sax, with harmonica and trumpet trading going on sometimes. These guys are COOL! Plus, their sax player Ben Ellman is also in the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars)
Caught the last 20 minutes of their set before we left

Late at night:

Cowboy Mouth, at Tipitina's.
Jeez ... I'm trying to hold the expletives in. Each time I see Cowboy Mouth, it replaces the previous Cowboy Mouth show as the best f#@&!ng rock and roll show I've ever seen in my life. They were fantastic. The songs, the singing, the antics, and Fred whipping up the crowd into a frenzy. You're definitely graded for audience participation at a Cowboy Mouth show. And you get publicly humiliated if you misbehave; I'll write that one up in a separate post! (In short, I feel really sorry for the poor, stupid bastard who threw a cup of ice at Freddy during the show ...) If you EVER have the chance to see Cowboy Mouth, just do it. You'll be completely blown away. New Orleans' finest rock band, with three terrific singers, three terrific songwriters, balls-out rock 'n roll with folk touches and lots of country touches, like those three-part harmonies they sing; plus Fred's liable at any time to hang upside down and sing the most beautiful a capella version of Patsy Cline's "Crazy" (or something like that) that you've ever heard, followed by the fastest version of "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)" that y'all've ever heard! THE MOUTH! Set to invade the world, I hope. Get on their mailing list by writing to Cowboy Mouth, 804 Spain, New Orleans, LA 70117, and get the albums WORD OF MOUTH, MOUTHING OFF, IT MEANS ESCAPE and ARE YOU WITH ME; highly recommended.


Fest food:

Creole's stuffed bread
Are you getting the point yet? :-)
Strawberry lemonade
I must have this recipe!
Hot sausage po-boy
From Vaucresson's Sausage Co.; yummy!
Fried potato po-boy
Just a small one, but I had to. That venerable working-class New Orleans lunch, and a true carbohydrate festival. It just has mynez and cochon-de-lait gravy ... yeah you rite!
Oyster and tasso pasta
Very good and very smoky and flavorful; my little $3 serving had three fat ersters in it, too
Key lime tart
I ate like a pig at the Fest, so I went home and had a nap before going out.

Late at night:

Beausoleil, at the Maple Leaf
This is a rarity these days. Beausoleil used to play here all the time back in the old days, but now they're too big, and the bar is too small. Well, needless to say, it was fantastic. They started at 10:30, played until 1:30 without a break -- Mike was fueled on double margaritas and was in fine form -- and then he said, "We're gonna take a little break, and we'll be right back." They started up again at 1:50, and I finally pooped out at about 3:30 ... Besides LOTS of new stuff from the forthcoming album, they played older and traditional stuff, and as usual they pulled out some stuff I've never heard them do before -- like "J'ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard et La Belette" (a Balfas tune adapted from an old French lullaby), then segueing into "Bosco Stomp", then into "Madame Bozo", then back into "J'ai Vu Le Loup" in an almost fifteen-minute extravaganza. And that wasn't even the set-closer. Unforgettable.


Fest food:

Creole's stuffed bread

Strawberry lemonade

Cuban sandwich
One of the better things at the Fest, which I hadn't tried until this year. Sliced barbecued pork and smoked ham, lots of cheese, seasonings and pickles, on French then baked until crusty and melty. Yum!
I took it easy on food today, since I knew where we were going to eat for dinner ...


Jack Dempsey's Restaurant, 738 Poland Avenue, down in da Lowuh Nint' Wawd, in my family's old neighborhood. The neighborhood's a little scary these days, but still has lots of character, as depressed as it's become. I kinda miss it. Anyway, we had to wait an hour for a table, but we didn't care, 'cause I knew what was coming, and I told my out-of-town friends John, Ian and Eric what was coming ...

Stuffed mushrooms with crabmeat, smothered with melted cheese

Stuffed artichoke

Fried catfish and shrimp platter, with fries
Jack's has some of the best fried seafood anywhere, and we ate so much of it I thought we were going to die. And there were STILL tons of leftovers.
Plus, one of those lunatics got shrimp gumbo TOO!
We waddled out ...

Fest music:

A fantastic New Orleans band, for almost 18 years running. I hate the term "fusion", because it's used to describe a lot of bad bands, but this band mixes rock, jazz, even things like complex Balkan folk rhythms. They smoke!! Guitarist Jimmy Robinson and six-string bassist Paul Clement -- the original bassist for Cowboy Mouth -- lead this quartet that's rounded out by piano/synth and drums for some killer rockin' fonky jazzy instrumental music. Check out their latest CD, THE BIG PICTURE.
Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys
Also with a new album out, these guys are also at the forefront of the young generation of traditional Cajun music, and are brilliant
Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder
One of the best things at the Fest ever!)
Randy Newman
A hometown boy makes his first Jazzfest appearance, and was wonderful and funny as ever. He played some songs from his new "Faust" cycle of songs, where he, of course, sings the part of the devil. About 3/4 of the way through his set, it started storming pouring raining. "Aw, that's too bad," he said, and continued with the song. He then played, all in a row, "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today", "I Love L.A." (which I've never heard him play with such gusto ... "Everybody's/VERY HAPPY!/'Cause the SUN IS SHININ' ALL THE TIME!/ Looks like another perfect day/I LOVE L.A.!"), then "Louisiana 1927" ("They're tryin' to wash us away ...") Great show.
David Lindley and Ry Cooder, with Bobby King, Terry Evans and Willie Green on vocals, and Joachin Cooder on percussion
AAIIEEEEEEE!!! This could be the best thing I've ever seen at Jazzfest, and I mean ever. Lindley, with his fiddle and his collection of hollow-necked, koa-wood Weissenborn slide guitars, Cooder and son, and the three-part gospel soul harmonies of King, Evans and Green, doing Lindley songs, Cooder songs, traditional and gospel songs. Absolutely fantastic.

Late at night:

The Radiators, at Tip's
Great Fish-Head Music, as it's been for 16 years!


Fest food:

Creole's stuffed bread
Okay, you must get it by now. Eat this every day at jazzfest, no matter what.
Strawberry lemonade
And drink at least one of these.
Chicken and tasso over Creole rice

Brown, Cajun-style
Mango freeze

Dinner ova by ma mamma's:

Crawfish lasagna
Crawfish tails and artichoke hearts, in a scampi sauce, layered with cheese and lasagna noodles ... hoo-boy! Talk about good!
Stuffed mirlitons
Or, "chayote squash", as they say in California. Stuffed with a ham and shrimp dressing. One of my favorites.
Fresh strawberry shortcake

Fest music:

The Iguanas
Three times in one trip ... what a treat!
Cowboy Mouth
As intense as it is to see them in a small club, it's just as intense when they're outdoors in front of 15,000 people. Plus, Fred has more stuff to climb on! He got up from the drums, grabbed the wireless mike, headed over to the scaffolding holding up the big stage and its covering, and said, "Now this is what I love about Jazzfest, this shit right here!" and climbed to the very top. From up there, he could survey the entire crowd that he was whipping up into a frenzy, "C'MON! EVERYBODY WITH YOUR HANDS UP IN THE AIR AND CLAPPING! YOU'RE TOO DAMN QUIET!" Then, he spotted some guy way back behind me, at least 50 yards from the stage: "OK, you, that guy back there by the soundboard with the silver hair and the red shirt, who's just standing there with his arms folded like he's having the WORST GODDAMN TIME IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE! C'MON, GET WITH IT, GET MOVING, LET'S HEAR YOU, AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!" Indescribable fun!
Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band
Bruce is a great guy, and a leading figure in Cajun music. Hardly anyone composes new songs at the rate he does, and they're starting to enter the tradition and be played by other bands. His new Rounder album PETIT CADEAU, five years coming, is out and is great.
Snooks Eaglin
The wonderful blind New Orleanian guitarist who backed Professor Longhair for years, among others. As the story goes, he was on your in New York with Fess one time, and complained that the sound of the snowflakes falling outside the hotel room window was keeping him awake ... One of the godfathers of the New Orleans R&B guitar sound.
Percy Humphrey and the Crescent City Joymakers
... to close out the 25th annual Jazz and Heritage Festival. Percy and his brother Willie are the two oldest living traditional jazz musicians still playing in New Orleans. Willie, on clarinet, is 93, and his baby brother Percy, on trumpet, is a mere 89. They're still fantastic! Percy is very reserved, but Willie still sings, dances, struts and flirts with pretty young women. Their banjo player Narvin Kimball, himself in his 80s, is one of the most beautiful vocalists anywhere; his rendition of "Georgia On My Mind" brought tears to my eyes, brought the audience to its feet cheering, and prompted my friend Ian to say, "Wow, I think I've just heard the best vocal of the entire Festival." I couldn't think of a better way to end Jazzfest.
Those clowns I was hanging around with actually wanted to get me to go out to the Maple Leaf and see the Iguanas again -- we had given up on getting to see Richard Thompson at the theatre on St. Charles -- but I went ova by ma mamma's for dinner and then crashed. Turns out they didn't make it to the Maple Leaf either. I had to get up at 4:30 the next morning, pack, zoom to the airport where I almost didn't make my plane, then back to ... :-(

So, is this enough, or what? And no, I don't have room to put all y'all up next year ...

Happy Jazzfest! See y'all there on April 28, 1995 for the 26th Fest!!

new orleans page | the official n.o. jazz & heritage fest page
the gumbo pages | search this site

Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)