Sunday, April 29, 2007

Jazz Fest quick hits

Last year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was a miracle, while this year's Jazz Fest is back to business as usual -- its own kind of miracle.

That's the general consensus of organizers and festgoers during this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

"It feels like the festivals of old," festival producer/director Quint Davis said during a press conference on Saturday. Four hundred bands will play on 11 stages during the course of the fest, which will have an estimated economic impact of about $300 million.

Jazz Fest will be around for a long to come, thanks to the support of Shell Oil Co. The company has pledged to continue its sponsorship through 2010.

The festival's success is a driver in the state of Louisiana's "cultural economy," Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said during a Friday morning press breakfast. "It's a part of economic development. It's a part of jobs," said Landrieu, noting that 14% of all jobs in Louisiana come from tourism or the arts.

Good stuff on Friday: Saxophonist Rob Wagner's trio with Astral Project bassist James Singleton; Astral Project, turning in intensely interactive modern jazz, including "Cannonball" and the title of the band's Voodoo Bop CD; James Carter, absolutely dynamic on soprano, tenor and bari in a trio with B-3 organist Troy Gibbs and drummer Leonard King. Van Morrison was a bit of a snore, but I enjoyed hearing the redesigned Soulive, with new singer Toussaint.

Good stuff on Saturday: The Zulu Gospel Ensemble, an 18-voice gospel choir affiliated with the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, with such pieces as "Down by the Riverside" and "Something Got a Hold of Me"; Jon Cleary's tight, tight, New Orleans R&B and blues band, with Professor Longhair's "Tipitina," "People Say" and other tunes in that vein; Mose Allison's trio, with Astral Project drummer Johnny Vidacovich, groove-deep and swinging on "Fool's Paradise," "Ever Since the World Ended," "Your Mind is On Vacation" and others; and impressive sets by Calexico and Norah Jones.

More details and pix to come later.

Off to Sunday's fest!


A.T. said...

Hey Philip. This is A. Triff (violinist), for some reason I lost your email. I just finished my third CD and wanted to get it to you.

A.T. said...