Jazz Fest Revisited 2014

17:00 November 13, 2014
By: Staff
[Courtesy of Gus Escanelle]

The Meter Men with Page McConnell

Friday, April 25, The Republic

This year's Meter Men included three original members of The Meters -0guitarist Leo Nocentelli, drummer Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste and bassist George Porter Jr., plus Phish keyboardist Page McConnell,. Since Art Neville, founding keyboardist and front man of The Meters, was not able to participate, McConnell was a great addition to the bill.

The Meter Men show with Page McConnell played on Friday 4/25 and Saturday, April 27, both shows part of the 3rd Annual Nolafunk Jazz Fest Series.

From the start of "Fire on the Bayou," it was clear that the Meter Men were ready to stage an old school New Orleans funk fest. If you're a Meters fan it is normal to see the group in different combinations, The Funky Meters, Porter-Batiste-Stoltz, or the original quartet. The four musicians have a cool magnetism playing together. Each member governs their prized instrument to produce a heavy funk sound.

Overall Page and the Meter Men is a another great Phish side project. While Page McConnell brought his own game, Art Neville's B3 was sorely missed. Phish also made their return with their first Jazz Fest show since 1996. The first set started with "The Moma Dance, then "Rift" and "Wolfman's Brother" before Page McConnell sang "Lawn Boy." Trey Anastasio dedicated the song to the people of Jazz Fest. -Warren Goetzel

Robert Plant, Saturday, April 26, Acura Stage

The 1970's rock god has retained his status throughout the decades. Once the vocalist for Led Zeppelin, Plant is been the voice behind such solo hits such as "In the Mood," one of the songs that he graced the packed audience with in his signature high-pitched, easy-going voice. Plant also performed a few of the more laid-back Zepp songs, however did not hit those soaring high notes as often as he used to. It was totally forgivable as he cast his calming spell over us. Between songs, he told a few stories including one about seeking out true blues musicians in the Mississippi Delta town of Clarksdale, home to the Juke Joint Festival. His inclusion of different types of music did not stop there as he brought out drums from across the globe to add to the percussion of his worldly jams. Robert Plant will be rocking audiences for years to come. -Emily Hingle

Robin Thicke, Saturday, April 26, Congo Square Stage

Clear sunny skies laced with a soft breeze set the perfect mood for Robin Thicke's closeout performance on the 1st Saturday of Jazz Fest 2014. With my to-go plate of Crawfish Monica and Rum Punch daiquiri in hand, I stood with my friends in a crowd full of swooning women singing along to Thicke's chart-topping songs. One of the hottest award winning singer-songwriters in the industry, Robin Thicke sang his heart out to New Orleans giving his fans an unforgettable performance. He is a natural entertainer filling the stage with dance moves and sexy lyrics till the very last note. The energy of the packed Congo Square Stage crowd was happy and peaceful, the perfect way to end a successful Jazz Fest Day. Robin Thicke's smooth vibes made fest goers anticipate more, so impressed with Saturday's lineup, I found myself securing tickets from the rest of the festival. -Telle Ink

WWOZ 26th Annual Piano Night Review, Saturday, April 26

House of Blues New Orleans

Although not a Jazz Fest night, this show illustrates the fact that the music doesn't stop when the gates of the Fairgrounds close. WWOZ's 26th Annual Piano Night was a huge success. Pianist from all over the world entertained a full house in 3 unique rooms jazzing out the entire House of Blues. The night's headliner, Ellis Marsalis, blessed the main stage with a historic performance of fan favorites alongside his ensemble creating the most beautiful jazz sounds to enjoy. A crowd favorite, Mr. Marsalis had us singing along and "two-stepping" from beginning to end. It was a rare experience. Musicians and anyone who loves music should experience this level of genius once in their lifetime, thus supporting local organizations like WWOZ who do so much to highlight our homegrown talent. Mr. Davell Crawford also stole the show not only with his fabulously blinged-out shoes but this man captivated the emotions of every person during both his intimate set in "Club 88" A/K/A the Foundation Room and his grand room performance on the main stage. He knows how to entertain taking us from a slow meaningful ballad to upbeat classics that had the whole room moving and shaking. Crawford's voice is a perfect compliment to his full-bodied soulful sound with the ability to take his audience on an emotional roller coaster speaking the universal language of song to every heart in the room. Piano Night was a perfect afterhours event to add to your yearly Jazz Fest tradition list. Whether you listen to Future or Frank Sinatra, WWOZ's Annual Piano Night is a music experience that will impress, excite, and inspire the music lover inside of all of us for years to come. -Telle Ink

New Orleans Hip-Hop Experience, Saturday, May 3, Congo Stage

The New Orleans Hip Hop Experience was all types of mon$y. With Cube's Wild Wayne on the ones and twos, my mind was blown from the very beginning when I had the pleasure of hearing the "caw-caw" that has thus far only manifested in my dreams and Matthew McConaughey's cameo in Wolf of Wall Street. And I wasn't the only one impressed. The audience was Turnt, toe up, keepin' 100, and we can all agree on enjoying the crowd-based selfie by 3D Na'Tee. Ideas about Legos, radio waves, shakin' it fast, and NOLA archeology set the bar high for what a performance by local artists should look like. There were several moments when I had the pleasure of getting to back my ass up, but after that I was In My Own Lane - that's when it occurred to me that while there may be some construction going on, the blueprint has never been more clear. What can a #1 Stunna say about NOLA hip-hop? It's obviously Still Fly (cuz I love it more than anything, boy it's $$$$$ over everything). -Lauren Adam

Bruce Springsteen, Saturday, May 3, Acura Stage

Starting the show with a rocking version of "High Hopes," Bruce had the crowd on its feet from the start. He showed no signs of slowing down as he played hit after hit. Too many highlights to name, perhaps one of the most exciting was when John Fogerty joined Bruce on stage for "Green River" and "Proud Mary." From start to finish, it seems that Bruce took us everywhere from The River to the "Promised Land" and somewhere in the mix, we were all "Dancing in the Dark." When it came to the "Saints Go Marching In," the hairs on my neck did actually stand up a little bit, but it was probably more haunting to hear Rage's Tom Morello on the "Ghost of Tom Joad." The night ended on a climatic ride down "Thunder Road," and I don't think anyone regretted setting up camp and sticking a flag in the ground for Springsteen. -Lauren Adam

Doreen's Jazz New Orleans, Saturday, May 3

People's Health Economy Hall Tent

Doreen's Jazz New Orleans is a traditional jazz band that always draws a crowd. When not packing them into the Economy Hall Tent the second Saturday of Jazz Fest, they're captivating the masses as street performers on the corner of Royal and St. Peter Streets in the Quarter. The band boasts a roster of talented jazz musicians, but at its core, it's a family affair. There's Dad on trombone, tuba and piano, nine-year-old daughter Dorian on drums, and the band's matriarch and namesake, leading lady Doreen Ketchens on clarinet and vocals. Doreen Ketchens makes that clarinet sing with as much soul as her own voice, which at Jazz Fest, was heard belting out the lyrics to such tunes as "House of the Rising Sun" and "Bill Bailey." The energized music roused the audience into an impromptu second line around the tent. Though they have played all over the world, the band is most at home on that prime corner of the Quarter. Check them out. -Kathy Bradshaw

Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band, Saturday, May 3

Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage

At 1:30 p.m., Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band took the Fais Do-Do Stage. Their music was zydeco meets rock and blues, heavy on the rock and blues. More Beale Street than bayou. It was definitely not your traditional Cajun two-steppin' music I had expected to see on this stage. Though many of the traditional elements where there, washboard, accordion, harmonica, they were dominated by an authoritative electric guitar. And where was the fiddle? At one point, Ledet shouted into the microphone, "Let me hear some noise if you like the blues!", which was answered by the roar of a blues-loving crowd. But I had just left the Blues Tent to wander over to the Fais Do-Do stage in search of good ol' fashioned Louisiana Zydeco. What I found instead was a modernized version of an old classic, better suited under the newly-coined term, "Zydesoul." But once I altered my outlook, I could sit back and enjoy the show. -Kathy Bradshaw

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