Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Allman Brothers, Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket, Elvis Costello, Jeff Beck, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, B.B. King Among Headliners at Jazz Fest

Let the FOMS (fear of missing something) begin.

The lineup for this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was announced early this morning, just after midnight. And the mix of major national pop/rock acts, New Orleans and regional Louisiana acts, and top-shelf jazz and world-music performers is as impressive as ever.

The upshot: Jazz Fest fans, and first-timers, are going to have a tough time deciding which weekend to attend - April 23-25 or April 29-May 2. It's a good problem for the fest to have.

As a likely first-weekender, thanks to the Allman Brothers, I'm particularly excited to see a couple of acts that I had hoped/"predicted" would make it - Levon Helm, the Black Crowes - plus tons more.

Also among those I'm most excited to see first weekend:
Jazz (from New Orleans and elsewhere): Joe Lovano Us Five, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra,, the Guitar Woodshed Featuring Steve Masakowski, Todd Duke, and Jake Eckert
African: King Sunny Ade, Baaba Maal
Reggae: Steel Pulse
Gospel: Blind Boys of Alabama
Funk: George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic
Modern rock: My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses
New Orleans/Louisiana regional: Dr. John, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Papa Grows Funk, Terrance Simien, Bonerama, Theresa Andersson, Big Sam, Davell Crawford and One Foot in the Blues With Dr. John and Jon Cleary, Funky Meters, Voice of the Wetlands, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Davell Crawford, Irma Thomas' Tribute to Mahalia Jackson.
Not to mention the act TBA: Great if Paul McCartney or Tom Petty, big so-what (IMHO) if Buffett.

Second weekend's notables:
Jazz (from New Orleans and elsewhere): Wayne Shorter Quartet, Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, Stanley Clarke Band, Astral Project, Ellis Marsalis, Henry Butler, Marcus Miller, Shannon Powell's Organ Combo Featuring David Torkanowsky and Charlie Gabriel, Gil Scott Heron, Take Six
Classic rock/modern rock: Pearl Jam, Jeff Beck, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes
Jamband: Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler
Blues: Derek Truck & Susan Tedeschi, B.B. King, Sonny Landreth, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bernard Allison
World music: Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, Kora Konnection Featuring Morikeba Kouyate of Senegal and Theirno Doubate of Guinea
New Orleans and Louisiana regional: Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint,Galactic, the Radiators, Trombone Shorty, Kermit Ruffins, Beausoleil, Beausoleil, the Iguanas, Russell Batiste, Kirk Joseph, Paul Sanchez, Rebirth Brass Band, Anders Osborne, Cyril Neville, Aaron Neville, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk
Other: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Richie Havens

One quibble: "Jazz" is part of the festival's first name, so to speak. And despite the number of great jazz acts from New Orleans, the list of world-class jazzers from elsewhere is shorter than in previous years.

For the full lineup for each weekend, go to the Jazz Fest site. The "cubes" - day-by-day, hour-by-hour schedule - are due in January or February.

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