Jazz Fest Weekend 2 Previews 2011

01:00 May 02, 2011
By: 2Fik
LoVerde Bingo-Voodoo06b
[Courtesy of Gary LoVerde]
New Orleans BINGO Show! play the Genitly Stage May 5 at 2:15.

Thursday, May 5

Kumbuka African Dance and Drum Collective

Thursday, May 5 - 12:35 p.m.

Congo Square Stage

Interview with Ausettua AmorAmenkum of Kumbuka African Dance and Drum Collective

New Orleans is one of the most culturally rich cities in this Nation, and one of the most culturally important performance groups will be returning to this year's Jazz Fest. The Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective will be providing an important experience this year, displaying their skills with authentic dance and drum performance. They have been active since 1983 and will continue to represent African and African-American heritage for years to come. I had the honor of interviewing Ausettua AmorAmenkum, art director for the group. Ausettua is the second queen of the Yellow Pocahontas tribe of Mardi Gras Indians and she is also the Co-Director for the Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women Drama club at St. Gabriel. Her research of African dance, folklore, and that of African-American dance and folklore is extensive and was done in several different cities here in the U.S., Africa and Haiti as well. In addition to these endeavors, she also teaches African dance and hip-hop courses at Tulane University here in New Orleans.

Kumbuka is more than just a performance group. They are an authentic art collective dedicated to the preservation of African and African-American folklore via dance, music, and song. Kumbuka is a Swahili word that means remember… And what the dance collective is remembering is the Creator, the Ancestors, and the greatness of African people! The collective offers many workshops for young students who will learn the similarities in African culture and that of Louisiana culture. I spoke with Ausettua about Kumbuka's performance at this year's festival and what Jazz Fest goers may expect to see from the group.

Speaking with Ausettua has been an eye opening experience. Her knowledge of African and African American culture is vast, and her view of the Jazz Fest relationship with Kumbuka is educational, "I think first of all the presence of Kumbuka is a testimony that the Jazz and Heritage Foundation's commitment to really maintaining the authentic connection to the origins of blues and jazz, which is Congo Square for us. When we first started performing it was called koindu, which meant a place of African exchange. And then after that it transformed into Congo Square. And at a point we started performing on the Louisiana Heritage stage. The fact that they're committed to maintaining the presence of dance; it's all music at the fest. Besides us, the Mardi Gras Indians, but the fact that the Festival has remained committed to dance is important."

African dance has a strong connection with Louisiana that reaches back to the 18th century. All of the dance and music that even the youngest artists in New Orleans are doing today, are tied to the gatherings in Congo Square during this time. So many rhythms and percussive sounds are tied to NOLA music and the collective represents that. In their performance, Kumbuka maintains the tradition and every aspect of the stage show is a true representation of the culture,"Whenever we perform we always want to give the audience a glimpse into traditional rhythms and dance, and also what's coming out of New Orleans. We have a very unique opportunity because we have Congo Square and what happened in the square, that is something that we don't take for granted. The in-state Africans were able to use their drums, and maintain their customs and culture. People always document that Jazz music came from Congo Square, but they never say that the dance came from there. The dance was going on too. If you read old Times Picayune articles, the writers are talking about how they saw these dancers. So, I think that what the Jazz and Heritage Foundation keeps in mind, is that we're the heritage part."

Maintaining the culture is important for our city. It is why New Orleans is unique. Dance is the driving force of Kumbuka's performance. Dance is in part, a representation of the soul and Kumbuka is giving the audience a look into it, "and we always do a traditional dance from West Africa, and always do a dance that started in New Orleans. It is the essence of the people. It is important that we don't just do dance as if we're copying Africans. What we're referring to as African-isms is actually a part of us who are here today. So when we dance, it's important that we not only present African dance, but also African-American dance as well. So we aren't playing Africans, we're bringing the culture alive. We have original drums, traditional rhythms, traditional movement, and traditional costuming, so when we're putting it on stage, it's as authentic as you are gonna get. I call it contemporary because when we perform it on the stage, it changes from what it would be in the bush, or in the village. In the village, it was circular, everybody was doing it, the old, the young, and it went on for hours. Obviously we can't perform for hours at Jazz Fest so we have to change it a bit. I really feel that we do our best to present the essence of the spirit of traditional African dance and its people, and the people of New Orleans."

The soul and spirit of Africa is more of a presence in NOLA than we sometimes realize. Kumbuka is recognizing this fact and they provide that experience to the audience, "We're dubbed the most African city in the United States. We can't get away from that. We eat the same foods, we bury our dead the same way, we build our homes the same way, we relate to each other the same way. People don't really understand us, because they see us dancing and celebrating when some may expect us to be at home, mourning over loss. Instead, we're out in the streets having a good time. That is the essence of life and what it's all about. And that's the commitment to Africa because Africans believe that life is three-dimensional; us walking around right now, us waiting to be born, and then those in transition. And because New Orleans has this love affair with burying the dead on top of the earth, cemeteries all around, there's just this spirit and energy that exists all over the entire city. That's why when people come here to visit, they fall in love and they don't even know why. Most end up actually moving here and they don't even know why. New Orleans is a very spiritual place."

Celebrate the spirit of Africa with Kumbuka on Thursday, May 5th in Congo Square. It's more than just an homage to the ancestry of a people, it's respecting a culture that is responsible for the only original music in this country, the great spirit and strength of people that have been through so much and have given us art and culture that is so strong.After the group's performance I encourage you to meet them and ask for some tips on new dance moves. Personally I'm always looking to enhance my steps, and who better to ask than dancers who teach from the roots of their style. The Kumbuka African dance and drum collective is a must see this festival. We all need to be reminded from time to time; part of what makes this city so amazing, and Kumbuka is the best to do it. -Brian Serpas

New Orleans BINGO! Show

Thursday, May 5 - 2:15 p.m.

Gentilly Stage

An Interview with New Orleans BINGO! Show

By John Valdespino

Within the cultural bastion of Preservation Hall resides a strangely novel and youthful presence. Normally, these walls seek to preserve the Jazz Traditions of generations past, but they also keep Clint Maedgen and Ron Rona of New Orleans Bingo Show. During the day, you might mistake Ron for just another behind the scenes guy for Preservation Hall or Clint for a Jazz Singer, but upon closer inspection they are in fact one in the same as their one stage personas Ronnie Numbers and Clint. Recently they have been getting ready for the Jazz and Heritage Festival

This Jazz Fest marks a lot of important dates for the musical troupe. The first being their first release of an album in quite a few years. The New Orleans Bingo! Show Volume 3: Memory Parade. In betwee, these two releases and their positions at Preservation Hall, I managed to sit them down for an interview.

WYAT:What's been going on recently?

Ron: Too much, too much. We're in the process to release our new. Our first one in more than three years.

Clint: It's been a minute.

Ron: We're looking to drop the bomb on them on Jazz Fest. And we're already rehearsing a giant performance in Jazz Fest.

WYAT:The huge Scope of the Jazz Fest performance, is that a result of the album?

Ron: The Huge Scope the performance is almost a direct result of.

WYAT:What direction has your music taken on for this new album and performance?

Clint: It's feelin' kinda like a Northwest kinda thing, kinda lately. Which is refreshing, because we've really kinda been a South, like directionally headed South kind of band, but this Northwest thing is invigorating. I'm feeling it.Ask me tomorrow, it could south, South by Southeast. Feelin' pretty Northwest today.

WYAT:You know, Nirvana isn't a bad band to be inspired by.

Clint: I don't know, are we going after Nirvana?

Ron: We're too happy bro.

Clint: I kinda see us more as an Air Supply.

Ron: REO Speedwagon.

Clint: Sure, more of a Journey trajectory going on. Probably not. Really. A little bit of country, a little bit of polka.

Ron: But it's definitely not Sage. BINGO! is not sage flavored.

Clint: Any idea of what we are flavored?

Ron: Disdain. It's the new chipotle.

WYAT:What's it like working with a huge ensemble?

Clint: We've done it over the years. It's nice to do it again. It's always my first choice. You know, the added benefit is just we get along so well with everybody, you know we're all friends so it gets elevated to another level. We're dealing with this sonic experience but also this love experience. It's elevating.

WYAT:This is a new stage for you guys as well, isn't it?

Clint: Yeah, We've done lagniappe for a quite a few years now.

Ron:18 years now?

Clint: Yeah, I guess about 18 years. We started in the late 70's. But yeah, Gentilly, we're stoked.

Ron: We are very grateful that Jazz Fest is giving us the opportunity to present this big production. In talking to them, we let them know that we we're headed in a new direction and they let us expand our show this year. Jazz Fest has been supportive. Not that we didn't enjoy the Lagniappe stage, but we're going to get in front of an audience that, ain't ready for this.

WYAT:Are you comfortable leaving Lagniappe and fighting other bands sonically?

Clint:Oh sure man, we'll play on top of this table right now if the setting is right. We've played on the street. We've played on real big stages. We've played in living rooms. We've played on buses. We've played on the subway once in New York. We've played in Warehouses. Big stages are fun. If you can get the right mix, they're preferable.

WYAT:Well, it's around the one year anniversary of the lineup, how have they been holding up?

Clint: Yeah, it's our one year anniversary. Sometimes it feels like 3 ½ years and sometimes it feels like 3 ½ months. I'm looking forward to another 20 or 25 years with this current lineup?

Ron: Yeah the honeymoon period has not gone away yet.

Clint: There's a lot of love in the lineup. Yeah, I'm lovin' this band.

WYAT:Has everyone in the band gotten a division of the larger Jazz Fest ensemble? I'm guessing Trixie would be training the Dance troupes and so on...?

Clint: It takes a village, you know what I mean? Sometimes our Bass Player will run the Dance Rehearsal. Sometimes we'll have our Dancers rehearsing the horns. It just depends on who's available that particular day. We have to look at the Google Calendar to find out. I'm coordinating the overseeing of the dancers rehearsing the strings this week. The Drummer will do publicity sometimes. Our Drummer is also on in your face Karaoke.

WYAT:In your face karaoke?

Clint: Oh yeah, and there's a difference. There's karaoke and then there's in your face karaoke. And there's a certain level of karaoke that Keith brings into people's faces. He does. It's nose to nose. Centerfold, you know what I mean? Do you know that song? Summer of 69. He's not playin' man. It's for serious.You know when we did that Karaoke last time, I looked in his eyes and there was war. Boiling War. And I think that's really what you got to bring when you're trying to be a Karaoke Warrior. Keith Hajjar, our drummer, is most certainly a Karaoke Warrior.

WYAT:I'm guessing he has taken over the New Orleans Karaoke Circuit by now?

Clint: You know what? He started Internationally. They're still talking about him in Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide in particular.

Ron: They know him as K-Jar there. They've erected huge signs with his picture on it. That's his thing. He's kind of reserved here in the states, but you get him across the pond: Boiling War.

Clint: I can promise you that our drummer is going to be bringing boiling war.

WYAT:So you mentioned Australia, I just really got to know what was it really like going with Polyphonic Spree?

Clint: Everybody is excited to be there, everybody has got something in common, everybody is on the same bus, everybody is pulling together to pull off this night of entertainment, but it's been amazing and that is where we met Rick, our Violin player; and, incidentally, Rick also recorded our most recent album. So that whole experience just continues. Like boiling war.

WYAT:So how about the Primus tour?

Clint: That was amazing too, in a completely different way. It really was. They kind of stayed on their own. Gogol Bordello was on one of those dates too, whom we are big fans of. It was a little different, not as interactive, but you know. Thematically, it was brilliant. I think every single person in the group is a primus fan of some sort. And if they aren't, we'd have to kick them out because it's a perquisite. We should have looked closer at the BINGO! applications, but sometimes you can just see it in their eyes just like war. Just like Boiling War.

WYAT:Are there any post Jazz Fest Domination plans?

Clint: Yeah, San Francisco is going to see a lot of us pretty soon. These are exciting times for sure. We're just tightening the show. I'm writing, we're practicing, we're tightening up the show. We want it to become this big sharp knife over this next year and a half.

Ron: For me personally, I'm trying to expand on all the crazy things we want to do. Like do a stage at Voodoo fest and all these crazy productions. Working on our "branding" and all those things. These are really great things, but I know personally for me and co-inciding with Clint and the rest of the group, we're going back to the art house. It was great doing all the leg work and the marketing, but it's time to really think about the art and think about the music

WYAT:Looking towards the future, do you have enough bingo cards?

Clint: We always have enough Bingo Cards.

John Rankin

Thursday, May 5 - 2:55 p.m.

Lagniappe Stage

An Interview with John Rankin

By John Valdespino

WYAT:So tell us about your Jazz Fest Performance.

JOHN RANKIN:I'm playing at Jazz Fest on the Thursday of the Second weekend on May 5th on the Lagniappe stage. It's great for me because it's a quieter stage, it's a destination stage, you don't stumble on it, you have to be going there.

WYAT:And you usually get a good pull there. Who do you usually find in the audience when you play, new faces or random passersby?

JR:I don't tour and travel because of my teaching, I've played mostly in the New Orleans area for the past 30th year. I've played at Jazz Fest for the past 28 years, I started in 1981, so I've built up a lot of friends. Some people call them fans, I think of them as friends and I have a pretty good reputation. Some people think of me as a good guitar player; a fun guy to be around as far as music goes, maybe not as a teacher. So it's word of mouth that gets the fans there, and what I do is keep a gig going. I played a residency at Maple Leaf for 5 years in the 80's, also on Sunday, only on Sunday. It was the only Sunday gig in town. I did Madigan's for seven years, every other Sunday. I was the Sunday Night King. People would call me up, "Hey, I got a Sunday night gig!" And I just figured, "Rankin-Sunday Night." And then I started the Columns in 98. At that Point I had given up playing clubs for a while and decided to try it again. So I keep club gigs going. I played Snug Harbor and better gigs Chicky Wah-Wah with a couple of guitar players. I'm not really into going to Check-Point Charlie's and playing a 3 AM gig anymore, although they have great music there. I'm just not in the place anymore.

WYAT:So what's been your history gigging and playing in New Orleans?

JR:Well, I was raised in New Orleans and I started playing guitar in High School. I was playing on Bourbon Street at 16. I was playing Cosmo's Bar on Burgundy and Governor Nicholl's. I was raised around Preservation Hall and around traditional Jazz and Second Line culture, because my mom worked at the Jazz Archives at Tulane. Radio was also very Roots oriented then, so I was listening to New Orleans R&B and that was all part of it. I left and went to college in Lafayette at USL which is now ULL otherwise known as Ooo-La-La. I studied theory and composition, and took flute because they didn't have guitar. I took some Jazz Guitar lessons and studied theory and learned how to learn and I learned how bad I really was. I had to start over with learning Jazz and Classical. I loved them both and I had to start from scratch to learn how to play them. Through my twenties I toured, played in bands, wrote songs, and taught myself classical guitar. Then, when I was 29 I came back to New Orleans and went to graduate school at Tulane doing Classical Guitar and later adding Business. That's when I got really focused on my Guitar Studies instead of just music. I was writing songs and singing, playing bass guitar, flute and keyboard; but, when I moved back I really started focusing on Solo Guitar and because I was out of the working network of the town, I became a niche marketer. The niche was solo guitar. Piano Players do this all the time, but there's not many guitar players that do this. This just happens to be what I do. It's not the end all and be all, but it's what I do and other people don't do. So that's what I built up as my market and did it by regular gigs in clubs. I worked all the clubs and toured and traveled a lot. Although the reason I came back to school was because I had been in the Boston Area teaching at a school called the Guitar Workshop. I was making 12 bucks an hour. I felt like was stealing when I was making that kind of money back in 1978. I felt like I could get rich off of that and in 1978 it was a lot. So I realized my Dad was a professor at Tulane and I realized that teaching was a gift for me. It was something that I loved. I really enjoyed teaching as much as I did playing. Some days I'd enjoy it more. Some days I'd prefer to play. It goes back and forth. It's kind of like having two relationships and getting away with it. I really love teaching and once I found that out in Boston, then I realized I had to go back to school. Everything fell together really quickly at that point. So, I came back to New Orleans, I finished school, toured and traveled, put out an LP (that was 1984), in 1985 I got offered a lot of different teaching positions at different universities. I began teaching at the College level and kept gigging in town to keep my visibility up. I was trying to do high dollar jobs close to home. So that was my strategy. Keep my name out by playing bars and clubs. I defined success as being able to keep learning and playing music, having the respect of my peers, and being able to make a living. In my late 20's, I'd say that's what was important to me. I wasn't going to be rich and famous, because I don't push myself that way. I'm not out there trying to make it. I'm out there just trying to play music. Once I realized that and was honest with myself, I figured out what my goals were, I went about trying to achieve them.

WYAT:When you step onto the stage do you come on as a Showman, or as a Songwriter or a Guitar Player or do you combine them all?

JR:I started out trying to show off my Guitar Playing. I became a singer-songwriter because I loved it and because business school showed me that's where the money was. I didn't get a lot of support for my singer-songwriter work because I was a bad singer, and my songs didn't have hooks, they weren't focused, they were clever and good but they were too self-pitying or a little too cute. I had a few good songs, but they weren't commercially viable songs. So after that I focused more on what I called performance as opposed to entertaining which was more like, "Here's a fancy fast guitar piece and here's a song I wrote." I tried a lot bang 'n clang. I took a twelve string and played the fastest instrumentals and took the harmonica breaks really fast. It was all whiz bang, but I burnt out on that. Then that's when I took my break When I came back and I did a novelty song randomly in a set and I got people laughing. Then I realized making people have fun was a very incredible feeling. I'm trying to make people enjoy being with each other.

Cyndi Lauper

Thursday, May 5 - 5:25 p.m.

Gentilly Stage


On Thursday, May 5th, artist Cyndi Lauper will be headlining the second weekend at the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival among performers like Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson and Kid Rock. Ever since her first solo album, She's So Unusual, went gold back in 1983, Cyndi Lauper has been a voice full of originality, daring and emotion that has taken its own path regardless of ratings or popularity.

Even in the beginning, critics have recognized Lauper's talent. After severely damaging her vocal cords in the late 70s, Lauper came back strong, showcasing a uniquely wide vocal range (four octaves), perfect pitch and her own, innovative style.

Setting the bar for women in music, Lauper was the first female artist to have four consecutive tracks hit Billboard's Top Five from one album, She's So Unusual. Additionally, she was also featured on the cover of both Time and Newsweek with the title "Women in Rock" and was voted by Ms. Magazine, one of its women of the year.

This past June, Lauper veered from pop and ventured into a drastically different genre with the release of her eleventh album Memphis Blues. Amid mixed reviews, the album debuted on the Billboard Blues Album chart at #1 for 13 consecutive weeks and was also nominated for the 2010 Grammy Awards. For the album, she collaborated on classic blues licks with special guests B.B. King, Ann Peebles, Charlie Musselwhite and New Orleans' own Allen Toussaint. -Kim Ranjibar

Banu Gibson & the All Stars featuring Bob Havens and Randy Reinhart

Thursday, May 5 - 5:45 p.m.

People's Health Economy Hall Tent


Banu Gibson, the "Sweet Songbird of New Orleans" with the flaming red hair and the colorful pantsuits with trademark suspenders, is all over the map these days. From N.O. to N.Y. to L.A. and on to the high seas to do several jazz cruises later this spring. Between performing at the Bombay Club and other local clubs and festivalsto organizing, recruiting and teaching at the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Camp for Adults, Gibson is a very busy gal these days. An avid fan of the old-style jazz composers and singers, Gibson is one of the few vocalists of her generation to maintain exclusive loyalty to songs of the 1920s through the 1940s. Rather than simply mimic singers of the past, she adds her own unique interpretations of Tin Pan Alley standards and jazz classics by Gershwin, Ellington, Berlin, Carmichael, Waller, Porter and other great writers/composers from the Great American Songbook. A powerful presence on stage as well as on her CDs on the Swing Out label, Gibson's enthusiasm and showmanship are always in evidence at her live shows. Her wide range and versatility add to her wide appeal. She has performed everywhere from the Arctic Circle to the Tropic of Capricorn - from Sweden to Australia - and points in between, always representing the best of jazz and the best that New Orleans has to offer, with class and style. After hearing her perform you may want to join her fan club at http://www.banugibson.com/html/bg_register.asp. -- Dean M. Shapiro

Friday, May 6

James Rivers Movement

Friday, May 6 - 12:25 p.m.

WWOZ Jazz Tent


James Rivers is one of New Orleans' hidden treasures. In his early 70s, he doesn't make a lot of headlines but he HAS made a lot of history: a lot of New Orleans musical history, that is. And film history, too, as witnessed by his collaboration with Clint Eastwood on Tightrope, Bird, A Perfect World and The Bridges of Madison County. A multi-talented, multi-layered sax player (tenor, alto and soprano), Rivers was in demand early in his career, being brought in to work with Allen Toussaint, Sugarboy Crawford, Art Neville and others. He was one of the house band saxes at Ric/Ronn Records, which recorded some old Crescent City classics, and he was also heard blaring away with other horns on Al Johnson's "Carnival Time." He also backed Robert Parker on his hit single, "Barefootin'". With his four-piece "Movement," Rivers & Co. had been regulars at the Downtown Riverside Hilton's Sunday Jazz Brunch for sixteen years, a gig that ended sadly for Rivers and his fans in July 2008. In addition to the sax, Rivers also sings and plays harmonica, flute and, most amazingly of all, bagpipes - one of the few serious musicians doing so today. His genres include straight-ahead jazz along with smooth jazz, gospel, blues and some good old rock and roll. Rarely playing for "chump change," as he calls it at the local clubs, Rivers' talents are focused on the better-paying private parties these days. You can also catch him at the Hotel Roosevelt's Blue Room for Sunday Brunch, starting at 11 a.m. - Dean M. Shapiro

The Pinettes Brass Band

Friday, May 6 - 12:35 p.m.

Jazz & Heritage Stage

-Carolyn Heneghan

"People will pass the big window of Maison [on Frenchmen St], see us playing and be like, 'Wait. Is that all girls? Wait. Y'all serious?," says Christie Jourdain, snare drummer and bandleader for the Pinettes Brass Band, currently the only all-female brass band regularly performing in the city—and widely regarded as the only one in the world.

At first glance, an all-female group of any kind may seem something of a spectacle; an all-female brass band takes that spectacle one step further. It should come as no shock that women have the same capacity for musical greatness as men, and many female musicians of the past and present have helped to cement that concept into reality.

But even in 2011, the local music scene, the music industry itself and many cultures of the world still seem hesitant to accept female musicians—especially instrumentalists—as readily as males. Some of these prejudices are more direct and apparent, such as the disparate number of men versus women on show bills throughout the city. Some are more indirect: "You're pretty good… for girls." And still others are built into the "traditional" roles of women in the family unit and household.

But, in the persevering tradition of New Orleanians, these women, and countless other female musicians around the city, have stopped at nothing to have their horns and voices heard. Their stories are a beacon of hope for every musician—male or female—who has learned to make their dreams happen with dedication, discipline and support from their community.

The band formed in 1991, a group of 16 veteran members of the St. Mary's Academy marching band under the direction of Jeffrey Herbert—the school's band teacher and a member of the Pinstripe Brass Band, from whom the Pinettes got their name. Though the line-up of players and even the name of the group have changed over the past 20 years, the group is still performing today, outliving many other brass bands who have formed and split since.

Though the group is still together, the road has been challenging, as it is for a band of any gender mix to start out. But the uniqueness of their all-female status has also opened them up to criticism and skepticism unique to women's struggles.

"They always call us, 'You girls,'" Jourdain says with a laugh. "They'll say, 'We were supposed to book you girls awhile back, and that other band we hired instead never showed up.' We show up on time, or 30 to 45 minutes early, in uniform. We're very professional about everything, communicating contracts and all that, because I know it's hard out there. It's even harder for us."

"We have to go out there and prove ourselves—that we are female musicians, not just breasts and butts," she continues. "We can actually play our instruments, we have to prove that. We're still provin' that."

Resistance has come from all sides of musical exchanges—from cynical passersby to venue owners who won't book female bands or who will drop them from a bill if a group of male musicians comes together only days before the show.

"We have people saying, 'Ya'll can't play that. I've never heard you before.' I'm used to hearing that," Jourdain says. "And we've been doing this for so long. I used to get mad, but now I just say, 'OK, well why don't you go look us up on YouTube, or as a matter of fact, we're about to play a set right now.'"

She continues, "I can't get mad at 'em when they say they've never heard of us, 'cause it's hard. You hear all about Rebirth and New Birth and Pinstripe, the bands we look up to, and they're been around for so long too. But they're men. For some reason, it's easier for people to accept that."

However, all is not tough love for this talented group of women—in fact, other women especially have been some of their quickest and most enthusiastic fans.

"We get a little respect now, don't get me wrong. We've got a lot of people who respect what we're doing and appreciate it," says Jourdain. "If the audience is loving it, then I love it, 'cause I'm doing my job. A lot of them are tourists, and they appreciate it so much."

Also integral to their growth in development technically, musically and logistically have been other successful, local male musicians, from Jeffery Herbert of Pinstripe to Phil Frazier of Rebirth to Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews. Jourdain recalled one Jazz Fest memory in which she was pulled onstage for a set dedicated to Tuba Fats in which she quickly—and nervously—realized she was the only snare drummer in the group.

"They said, 'I gotta do it to ya, you got to be broken in.' And [Trombone Shorty] made the whole band cut off when I played, it was such an experience for me!" she says. "I don't know what came over me; my hands wouldn't stop. I was so nervous, but when I did it, I was so proud of myself. And I looked at Troy and he said, 'That's how you get it, you gotta keep practicing.' They believe in us even when we don't believe in ourselves."

Besides the support from musicians such as these, the Pinettes have also found a unique support system and even solace in the personal relationships they have formed as a band.

"We have a business relationship, but we have a very personal relationship too," says Jourdain. "We could get in a big argument in practice and then go out and get a drink or give each other rides home. Leave it on the field, leave it in the practice room. That's one thing I can say about my band: they're loyal to me, and I'm loyal to them."

Loyalty is an important quality among those who actually manage to fit the Pinettes' practice and gig schedule into their own hectic lives. Retaining band members has been an issue while the group still works to establish themselves as regular, nightly players in the male-dominated New Orleans music scene.

"It's so hard to even find musicians," says Jourdain. "Girls will say, 'I had to get a full-time job because we're not making enough money doing gigs.' It started as St. Mary's students, now it's half St. Mary's and half wherever you're from. I don't care about your race, ethnicity, or what you wanna do with your life. I'm gonna love ya, just come play music with us."

She continues, "A lot of these guys could get a phone call right now and they could leave to go play somewhere for a whole month. Women can't normally do that. Some can if they're single with no kids or what have you, but we all have other jobs and most of us have kids. You gotta find out if it's possible to take off work and have somebody take care of the kids. The men who have gigs every night don't have to worry about that as much."

Despite the direct, indirect and societal struggles added to the already-difficult music business, Jourdain and her crew of female talent remain endearingly positive, and are very excited about what the future holds and the piece of local heritage they will leave behind.

"I don't want to be this to be the end of the legacy, I want there to be more girls," says Jourdain. "Our band ranges from 19 to 36, so everybody's got their own thing going on. And others might ask, 'what do a 19-year-old and a 36-year-old having in common? Well, music is a universal language, it's our getaway. We're always so happy to be playing together."

Following a solid run of performances at French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, Bayou Boogaloo, Lacombe Fest, and other venue gigs in between, the Pinettes will take their act overseas for a week and a half through Istanbul, Turkey. The agent setting up the gigs abroad said to Jourdain, "They [the crowd and venues] asked for something different, so let's try all females this time. It should have a good, positive outcome."

Whether they're causing double-takes through the venue windows of Frenchmen St, taking their rightful place on the Jazz Fest stage, or touring to spread the New Orleans music as far as Eastern Europe, the Pinettes Brass Band has always strived for—and usually gotten—that good, positive outcome. A breath of fresh air for the local scene and music industry as a whole, these ladies represent the spirit, dynamism and dedication to the tradition and culture of New Orleans present in our most historically well-known and celebrated musicians.

If you find yourself on a midday Fairgrounds roam on Friday, May 6th, looking for something fresh and funky, catch the Pinettes Brass Band on the Jazz & Heritage Stage.



Gregg Allman Blues Band

Friday, May 6 - 5:40 p.m.

Blues Tent


Gregg and Duane Allman decided to start their band in 1969 and no one could have predicted that the group would have gotten as popular as they did, and equally, that they would have paved the way for southern rock 'n' roll and jam band music alike. But they did, and because of that band so much great music was inspired by it.Gregg was the main songwriter for the band and at this years' Jazz Fest he will be playing some of his best songs with his current project, The Gregg Allman Blues Band. The band will be performing songs from Gregg's new album Low Country Blues, a well-received record that reminds fans of why they still listen to him, his unmistakable blues-country croon, accompanied by his sweet piano playing. The songs on the record sound like a collection of folk songs with some tricky, yet easy to follow music. There will also be some good old boogie sounding blues heard from the stage. The majority of the songs are old blues standards that Gregg covers from some of his favorite southern blues men; Sleepy John Estes, Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, and BB King, just to name a few. The one original song on his record Gregg is accompanied by old band mate Warren Haynes and the song fit in the vein of some low country blues. The album is named for the region of Georgia where Gregg lives, and the songs are inspired by some of the founding fathers of the genre. The Gregg Allman Blues Band is a great set of musicians that will be a perfect fit for Jazz Fest. Make sure and see their set this year, the music is a perfect fit for any fan of blues. -Brian Serpas

Lupe Fiasco

Friday, May 6 - 5:45 p.m.

Congo Square Stage


Thanks to his relentless fans and the speed and connectivity of the Internet, Lupe Fiasco was finally able to release his third studio album, LASERS this past March. Fans of the Chicago rapper rallied together online to circulate a petition to his label to set a release date for the disk and even protested outside of Atlantic Records in October 2010, unleashing "Fiasco Friday." The label not only responded with a release date for the highly anticipated follow-up to Fiasco's Grammy-nominated album, The Cool, but a new single, "The Show Goes On" was released a couple weeks after "Fiasco Friday." Now, New Orleanians can enjoy the new tracks from LASERS on Friday, May 6 at this year's Jazz Fest. Known for his raw portrayal of life, loss and struggle, Lupe Fiasco brings the message, "Love Always Shines, Everytime Remember 2 Smile," as what LASERS represents; a future with clarity and without negativity. Although some negative feelings remain about the process associated with the record label and what it took to complete the album that Fiasco doesn't necessarily approve of, he ultimately stands behind his fans calling this album theirs, since they fought so hard for what they believed Fiasco and his music deserved-- a right to be heard. -Briana Prevost

Saturday, May 7

Baritone Bliss

Saturday, May 7 - 1:20 p.m.

WWOZ Jazz Tent

An Interview with Roger Lewis of Baritone Bliss

By John Valdespino

WYAT:What is Baritone Bliss?

Roger Lewis:Baritone Bliss is 5 Baritone Saxophones. Something probably never done in New Orleans. I don't recall hearing 5 baritones in concert. This is a historical event. You know we're doing this at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, May 7th 2011. The show starts at 1:20 pm and ends around 2:05

WYAT:So how did your own history with the Baritone Sax begin?

RL:I actually used to play tenor. I was a tenor player for years, started out with a group called Deacon John and the Ivories back in 1957. So as the years went by and that group broke up in the Sixties, I joined a famous piano player by the name of Eddie Bo who had "Check Mr. Popeye, Hook & Sling, Every Dog has his Day," I was playing Tenor again, so one day the baritone player that played with Deacon John, I had his Baritone. Eddie, told me that I sounded good on Baritone. So then I introduced a friend of mine, Frederick Kemp, to Eddie Bo and he wound up playing Tenor and I played Baritone.That went on for a few years. I left Eddie Bo and I played with the Irma Thomas Band. Same thing, she brought in a Tenor player and I got a Baritone. I left the Irma Thomas, I played with Fats Domino Band. I was supposed to be playing Baritone but I didn't have one. I just played the parts on the lower part of the tenor. One day Fats looks down and asks, "Boy doesn't have no Baritone? Where's his Baritone at?" So I bought a Baritone, and there I was playing Baritone all over again.

WYAT: When Did you get to work with Fats Domino?

RL:That was in 1971. Matter of fact, that was my first international experience. We were going all over the world. Before then, I played with a lot of different people in the city. During my generation, I played with people like Ernie Cato, Lee Dawson, Wilson Pickett. Matter of fact, when I was with Deacon John we backed up Marvin Gaye when he had his first hit, "Hitchhike." That was back in the 50's. I've played in a lot of back up bands and backed up a lot of people. When I went on the road with Fat, when i went on the road with Bo, a famous singer by the name of Faye Adams. I've been involved with a lot of Chitlin Circuit bands. The Chitlin circuit was mostly black nightclubs. Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Texas. Back in my generation, we were still dealing with segregation. We played bourbon street clubs, in fact there used to be more clubs on Bourbon street then than they have now. Uptown they had a lot of Black Night Clubs, Juke Joints, Bars. Each part of the city had its own thing happening. You go uptown , you had the Dew Drop Café, which was a club I played at.When I was 17 years old, we'd play a booster dance at an auditorium at the corner of Claiborne and Washington. We had played just about every Sunday. We played at booster dances. All the high school kids would come to this dance every Sunday, but they would also hire outside artists. Then we would be the opening act for them, which was a mistake for a lot of artists, because we were young and had plenty energy and we knew everybody's material. We were clean too. We had some pretty good uniforms. We once opened up for Bobby Blue Bland and we were mischievous. We knew the man's whole repertoire before he came out. He wasn't mad though, in fact he came over to the Dew Drop to sit in with the Band. In fact, he's playing at Jazz Fest this year too.

WYAT:So where did you come up with the idea for a Baritone Quintet?

RL:Well you know, I play Baritone saxophone and always wanted to know what 5 Baritones would sound like in concert. Just 5 Baritones playing music. I've had an obsession with Baritone Saxophones. So, I contacted a good friend of mine, Tony DeGradi, which is a tenor player that's playing Baritone. I bought him a Baritone when we had a group back in the late 70's, early 80's called the New Orleans Saxophone Quartet. So, I called Tony. Another good friend of mine, also aTenor Player playing Bartione, is Tim Green. And the Baritone player that plays with Trombone shorty, Dan Oestreicher. I like the way. He's a Baritone Player. And Calvin Johnson who played with the original Royal Players Brass Band and the Little Stooges, he had a Baritone and I liked these guys. That's important. You gotta have people who get along together. The chemistry has to be right. Special Guest Marie Watanabi, who is my wife by the way and a Piano Player. So I let her play on a couple of tunes. We have one of the best drummers New Orleans has ever produced Herlin Riley. March the 20th, we're going to play at Snug Harbor. That'll be the first performance, just to test the water.I want to one day put together one hundred Baritone Saxophones. I'm an extremist. I heard a hundred saxophones of all sorts in concert before when I was living in California. I went to San Jose State and they had a hundred Saxophones and if you went in their blindfolded, you would not have known it was all saxophones. You couldn't tell. It was one of the most wonderful experiences that I've ever had in music, hearing and seeing this in concert. It was unreal. The rows of sopranos, altos, tenors and baritones. The only Saxophone they didn't have was Bass or Contrabass. It was incredible. It was a beautiful presentation. I've always wanted to play with all Saxophones. Now I'm playing with baritones and that idea has been in my head for a while. I just wondered what five of us would sound like playing different parts, like what the Trumpet would play. Of course you can play the range of a trumpet with the Baritone sax using altissimo fingerings. That's actually Tony's specialty. This instrument really has not been completely explored in that manner. When I start practicing overtones at home too, my Wife and my Daughter try and kick me out. However, now that I have the opportunity to explore the Baritone Saxophone.

A good friend of mine Greggory Davis, who books for the New Orleans Jazz Tent he needed some different ideas for the lineup. I pitched him the idea of a five Baritone Saxophones and he really seemed to like the idea. He presented it to thecommittee and they approved it, so now we're going to do it. Like I said, it's going to be a historical moment because no one has ever done it before. We're doing it first. So I'm looking forward to that.We intend to keep it going. I don't like to start nothin' and make it a onetime thing. I want to make it a part of my musical life.

The Strokes

Saturday, May 7 - 5:20 p.m.

Gentilly Stage


With a combination of feisty rock, a bit of new wave pop, and general quirkiness - set to the seriously seductive voice of Julian Casablancas - The Strokes have an inimitable style. And music fans must really like it. After more than a decade of collecting awards and selling millions of albums, it's safe to say that the band is an international success. Casablancas collaborates with Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond, Jr. on guitar, Nikolai Fraiture on bass, and Fabrizio Moretti on drums, to create a unique sound that sets them apart from other indie rock bands on the music scene.

The group formed in 1998 in New York City but made their mainstream debut with their critically acclaimed album, Is This It. "Hard to Explain" and "Last Night" quickly became hits, helping the band amass a huge batch of new fans. Following an international tour and appearances on popular late night shows, The Strokes released their second album, Room On Fire. The stellar album includes such songs as "What Ever Happened" and "Automatic Stop," where Casablancas sings about love and sadness, while contrasting the lyrics to a fervent beat. The Stroke's third album, First Impressions of Earth, contains the anthem "You Only Live Once" and the poignant "On The Other Side," candidly sung by Casablancas.

Though the band was quiet for a few years, they are back with the release of their new album, Angles. Their first release, "Under the Cover of Darkness" has the same infectious sound of Is This It - the band's highly-praised debut album. The Strokes also announced a string of appearances for 2011, without signs of stopping anytime soon. As their music continues to evolve, while staying true to their trademark style, Stroke fans can rest assured that there is more to come. -Suzanne Pfefferle

Ms. Lauryn Hill

Saturday, May 7 - 5:25 p.m.

Congo Square Stage


After a long seclusion from the media and the music industry, Lauryn Hill, appears to be back on the scene touring regularly since late 2010 making a stop at this years Jazz and Heritage Festival on May 7. For those unfamiliar with the newly titled, "Ms. Lauryn Hill," she first landed on the music scene as one-third of the hip-hop outfit, the Fugees in the early 1990s. Hill, Pras and rapper-turned-politician, Wyclef Jean, ruled the hip-hop charts in 1996 with their heavily sampled cover album,The Score. Hits like, "Killing Me Softly" and "Ready or Not," put the Fugees on the map as a rap trio to be reckoned with. However, when their fame was at its peak, personal tensions in the group (which is said to be sparked by Hill) led to the three going their separate ways and recording solo albums of their own. Thus, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was born, released in 1998 by Hill, and becoming, what it said by many artists (Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys) and music magazines of today (Rolling Stone, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly) as one of the most influential records of all time. The soulful, contemporary R&B album garnered Hill over 8 million records sold in the United States alone, as well as 10 Grammy nominations in the same year. The album, which brazenly explored heavy topics such as abortion, relationships and family ties, won five Grammy's in one night, marking Hill as the first female solo artist to do so. But just as Hill's cloud was riding high, the music industry's new "it girl," at the time, inexplicably left the public eye completely, believing to be receiving guidance from a spiritual advisor. Emerging here and there in the 2000s to stir up controversy at the Vatican, release songs for several movie soundtracks, be featured on John Legend's and Joss Stone's albums and taking part in an unsuccessful Fugee reunion, the mother of five has finally hinted in new interviews that a second studio album may soon be in the works. -Briana Prevost

Jimmy Buffett

Saturday, May 7 - 5:25 p.m.

Acura Stage


What's there to say about the world famous, Parrothead idolized, Saint Barts channeling, beach bum turned influential and self-described, "nation tickler" that he hasn't said about himself? In many ways Jimmy Buffett is a titan in musical history with a career spanning from 1968 and beyond that encompasses iconic songs such as "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise"; the former of which is considered one of the most influential songs of the last century. But in other ways Jimmy stands as a stark contrast to his prolific status, whether it be his sometimes controversial behavior, his many charitable efforts, or the fact that his great successes hasn't lifted him from his often coming off as that that old guy at the beach you'd throw a few beers at in exchange for randy tales about the good old days. You know, when men were men, women were women, drugs were cheap and simple, bathing suits were considered formal wear, and the worst you'd have to worry about while living fast and dying young was a bad case of sunburn.

Although not a New Orleans native, being born in Mobile, Alabama in 1946; Buffett can be considered as much a part of New Orleans as any other musician to walk these aptly alcohol christened streets. This year's Fest revelers can enjoy a look back to Jimmy's "Quarter Rat" busking history as featured on the poster created by New Orleans media fixture Garland Robinette. Robinette's painting features a 1967 era Buffett posing on a French Quarter corner, guitar in hand, blonde hair, flowing, manly mustache unleashed; an image decidedly not far from what surely was.

After flunking out of college (he went on to graduate in 1969) Buffett found his way into the French Quarter, living for peanuts and cutting his teeth in the local scene as a street musician while working on Bourbon Street. From there he headed to Key West to find sun, sand, and his laid back sensibilities. It's here that he founded the "Gulf and Western" style of island infused folk music that only he and his band, "The Coral Reefer Band" play so well.

Jimmy coming back to New Orleans is certainly a treat. Known far and wide for his epic, yet laid back sets featuring an engorged repertoire of songs (sometimes twenty or thirty, not to mention encores) Buffett never leaves the audience unsatisfied. Parrotheads and new fans alike are sure to gather from near and far to descend upon Jazz Fest to make the world's "Northernmost Caribbean City", just that much more in tune with the Margaritaville state of mind. So on May 7, be sure to gather round, grab your bathing suits and sunglasses, feel the vibe, put some salt around your rims, and get to wastin' away. -Craig Magraff


Saturday, May 7 - 5:30 p.m.

WWOZ Jazz Tent


Fourplay may sound like a cute little play on words but it actually describes the group. It is Bob James' supergroup, founded in 1991 and celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. As a pianist/composer/arranger, James was already a long-established jazz luminary when he gathered up a group of other well-established musicians to help him record his Grand Piano Canyon album in 1990. Among those who took part in that session were drummer Harvey Mason, who recorded with Herbie Hancock and Barbra Streisand; bassist/vocalist Nathan East, who played behind Barry White, Eric Clapton and Phil Collins; and Lee Ritenour, a veteran guitarist with Sergio Mendes. Following this session, James, Mason, East and Ritenour began recording together as Fourplay, while each of them continued to pursue their own solo careers. Described as "a blend of jazz, R&B and pop," Fourplay quickly gained popularity and became a staple on smooth jazz stations. Ritenour left the group after three albums in 1997 and was replaced by Larry Carlton, a smooth jazz star in his own right, who had a hit single with his cover version of Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk," and performed with the Crusaders. He stayed with Fourplay until 2010 and was replaced with Chuck Loeb. With twelve albums to their credit, the most recent of which is Let's Touch the Sky (see the review in this issue), Fourplay has seen six of them climb to the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album charts. Their first three CDs went gold with over a million copies sold. Appealing to a broad mainstream audience, the group's mellow, low-key style has stayed remarkably consistent over two decades. - Dean M. Shapiro

Bobby "Blue" Bland

Saturday, May 7 - 5:55 p.m.

Blues Tent


When it comes to good old-time, shrieky, shouty gospel-style blues, no one ever did it better than Bobby "Blue" Bland. Anyone who has ever heard "Turn on Your Love Light" or "Yield Not to Temptation," will "testify" to that. But if that was all he was known for, he would be considered just another "blues shouter," of which there were many. Refusing to be pigeonholed as one-dimensional, he varied his repertoire with more mellow, more melancholy, more "bluesy," if you will, "St. James Infirmary," "Cry Cry Cry," "Stormy Monday Blues," "Two Steps from the Blues" and many more. Celebrating the milestone of 80 last year, Bland is one of the last survivors of the great generation that made the transition from "church music" to blues, R&B and ultimately Rock & Roll in the mid to late '50s. He hung around Beale Street and was part of the gang that helped transform Memphis into a major music and recording center for blues artists. He was also one of the stars of Don Robey's Houston-based Duke/Peacock Records family and he recorded his biggest hits on Duke in the early '60s. His songs have been covered by countless artists, and he has collaborated and sung with many others - including a great admirer named Van Morrison. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Another longtime admirer, New Orleans vocalist Luther Kent, cut a tribute album to Bland in 2008. Just one of many worthy honors for a great legend! - Dean M. Shapiro

Sunday, May 8

Sunday, May 8 - 12:25 p.m.

Congo Square Stage


By Craig Magraff

Contributing Writer

WY: We have Dee-1 here, the one man army himself. What's going on with you D?

D1: I'm good bruh, I'm blessed. I got a lot of stuff going on actually right now. I just dropped the new Mixtape, "I Hope They Hear Me: Volume 2".

WY: Alright, cool. Tell me a little bit about what's going with you the last few months, man. I know they've been really big for you.

D1: Yeah man. It's been a lot going on. I feel like my life has started to change in the last few months. I put out, "I Hope They Hear Me" volume one and 1.5, got good responses with that. I dropped the "Jay, 50, and Weezy" video. And you know that, I was nervous about putting it out. I talked to you about that the day before it dropped. I put the video out, and the video kinda took off. It got real popular. On You Tube it had hundreds of thousands of views in a couple of months and MTV called for it and started running it. It just took my career to whole 'nother level. And now MTV's running my second video, "One Man Army", and it all led up to me dropping, "I Hope They Hear Me: Volume 2", on March 1. I got a lot of people talking to me man, people I've been trying to get at for years in the industry. I have a couple of labels hollering at me too.

WY: That's what's up man. You're shaping up to be the next big thing out of New Orleans, man. What can you attribute to that success?

D1: Well first and foremost, I thank God, you know? Because this is entertainment; it don't matter how talented you are, or how hard you work. There's a certain level of divine ordination that you need, you know what I mean? There no formula to making it. You can do all the right things and still not make it. So I thank God for opening these doors for me. And I have a real committed team around me that helps assist me in what I'm doing. So I always thank my team. And third of all, shoot, I just grind, dog. I grind, grind, grind. Anybody who knows me knows that. So I attribute my success to the grind.

WY: I know a little while back you stopped your day job as a teacher to pursue music full time, how does life feel as a full-fledged professional emcee?

D1: It has its up and downs. When it's the up, it's the best feeling in the world. Because you're your own boss and you feel empowered. I don't have to answer to anybody but myself. And the down is when things kinda get slow and you don't have anybody to complain about. You know when you work for people you always have excuses, somebody to blame. You can say, "Man my career isn't taking off because I'm at this job all day. If I only had more time I can be straight." At this point, I don't have anything to complain about, 'cause I don't have that excuse anymore. It really put me face to face with reality. And financially too, you don't get a salary for being a full time dream chaser. You know every couple of weeks they don't say, "Here's your dream chaser money," you know? You have to really get out here and get it out the mud.

WY: Right, right. So tell me about 1.5 and the new mixtape, Volume Two.

D1: Well I met up with this DJ called Hella Yella, I met him in Baton Rouge. He's a big DJ based out of Austin, Texas. We got real cool, and he ended up linking up with me. He liked Volume One, and he was like, "When you putting volume two out?" So I told him I'd try to put out in the top of the next year but I didn't know exactly when. So he asked me, "Well how about we do a 1.5 while people are waiting on Volume Two?" I thought that was a good idea. It's nothing for me to go to the studio and knock some joints off. So we went to the studio. I recorded some new songs, and gave them to him. He did some mixing and scratching, and we got "I Hope They Hear Me: 1.5" dropped on Christmas Eve.

WY: So what should people expect, growth-wise?

D1: Volume two man, that's the best CD I've ever put out, hands down. So growth-wise just expect the most mature Dee-1 you've ever heard. It's really an album, cause it's all original production and everything. Conceptually it's real thought out, we're just giving it away for free. You can expect collabs on there; we got Mannie Fresh, which huge. I got Mac on that thing, from No Limit, who's locked up for a crime he didn't commit. Those are two dreams come true for me. I got Murs on there from the West Coast, and I got Mickey Facts on there out of New York.

WY: So what's it like to be meeting and working with these established industry cats? Going from being a fan to a collaborator, a co-worker…

D1: It's different. I'm used to being the dude who's always trying to get in there; approach these people and give them my CD and sell myself. I'm used to that, but this is different you know. Being in the studio with Fresh; just chilling watching him make a beat I'm supposed to write to. It's a long way from handing him my mixtape outside of AutoZone when I first met him. It's different, I still got to get used to it.

WY: Tell me a little bit about Jazz Fest and your performance coming up.

D1: I'm performing May 8, on the Congo Square Stage. I'm performing with my live band, this will be the first big show in New Orleans that I've had in a while because I've been doing a lot of shows out of state, you know what I mean? It's insane bruh, I'm ready.

WY: Tell me about the hometown love you've been getting. Grabbing support from Wild Wayne, getting your song played on regular radio rotation. How does it feel?

D1: It feels great man. If you don't have love from home it always feels like there's a hole in your heart. So it's great. I try to hold New Orleans down the right way; be an ambassador. I try to represent the right way everywhere I go. I try to show how influenced I am by New Orleans, the passion and love I have for the city so it's good to always get that love back. It does feel good.

WY: So for people who are going to check you out at Jazz Fest, what's up with the future? Where and when can they see or hear you again?

D1: Right now it's all about pushing that mixtape, "I Hope They Hear Me: Volume 2". It's available for download at DJbooth.net, and dee1music.com. I just dropped a new video for, "It's My Turn", it's my third new video I'm pushing on You Tube; the You Tube game is heavy. That's what it's about right now, I'm about to go on tour in April, about twenty something shows.

WY: That's what's up man. You sound real blessed and happy about everything.

D1: Yeah.

WY: You know there's a lot of up and coming rappers in New Orleans, some people say New Orleans is a rapping town. For people trying to mirror the success you have going on right now, what can you tell these up and coming dudes?

D1: It's all about finding your musical voice. You know, I think I found my musical voice. I found out what I'm comfortable rapping about, and what I sound good rapping about. And that's just being me. I found my formula for success. I think everyone has to do that man. Just cause you're a tight rapper doesn't mean you're going to make it. You have to find something you're comfortable doing, and get out and work. You can't look for handouts, you got really get out here and grind for this. Everybody's trying to rap nowadays, so you have to really show the world and the fans that you really want it.

WY: Alright man. Sounds good. That pretty much does it for the interview. Do you have anything else you want to add?

D1: Nah man I think that's good. I just really want make sure they know where to get the mixtape at. And I really just wanted to add this: I really need all my fans and all my supporters to really spread the word about this movement we got going on. The One Man and One Woman Army movement, I really need my fans to spread the word. 'Cause that's what this is, a movement of the people. I need the people to help spread the word. I just need people to listen, cause once they hear me, the music is going to speak for itself. People will connect with the good energy I got going on. Tell a friend about it, put them on to it. Don't keep it for yourself.

WY: Definitely man. Well that's the interview. I really appreciate you getting back to me.

D1: No problem man, you already know.

Sonny Landreth

Sunday, May 8, 2011 - 3:30 p.m.

Blues Tent


Slide-guitar master Sonny Landreth takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to Where Y'at about his upcoming album, his days as a trumpet player, and what doesn't make him nervous about playing Jazz Fest...

WYAT:What can you tell me about your upcoming album?

Sonny Landreth:It's going to be my first all-instrumental album. I've never [done that]. I've always included instrumental songs on all the projects I've ever done, [but] not the entire body of work.

WYAT:What sparked your decision to go all-instrumental for this new album?

SL:Well, I mean, it's something I've always wanted to do and it felt like the right time. I'm obviously a big fan of the guitar geek albums. Also, it's kind of a throwback for me because one of my earliest [musical] influences was a band called The Ventures. They were all-instrumental, they made instrumental albums for many years back in the '60s. So, that's part of my reason too.

WYAT:Are you still in the process of writing songs right now for your new album, or are you nearing completion with the recordings?

SL:Actually, it's more the writing than the recording. The music has always come really quick for me, but lyrics take me a long time. So, I thought that this [album] would probably happen a lot quicker, but it's more of a floodgate of ideas instrumentally and I just really turned that on. I think I've kind of created my own monster and I'm just trying to tame it. [laughs]But it's really fun. I'm really enjoying it, I'm using recorded guitar tracks right now as a part of the writing process. I've done that in the past, but [even] more so this time. I'm getting ready to start cutting tracks for [my backing] band in March and I hope to get it out for the Fall of this year, but at the rate I'm going it may be next year before I get it out. And part of that has been because we've been on the road so much. It's kind of a double-edged sword to pull both of those off, recording an album and touring at the same time.

WYAT:I know that last year [in additional to your regular shows] that you toured with Jimmy Buffet and played at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. Sounds like you had a busy year in 2010!

SL:It was. The funny thing was, we thought we had left a few holes in the itinerary so I could be home to write more but other things kept coming up-which I'm glad [because of it].

WYAT:Do you feel like traveling this last year inspired your new album in any way?

SL:Oh sure. You should always have the antennas off and take it all in. There's something about that momentum of traveling and you're out and doing a lot of shows every year. I think that it starts... I definitely keep getting ideas—or what I'm doing with it on this end of it, when I finally got home. I started listening back to all these ideas was recording everyday just to get bits and pieces to get ideas for songs. I think that's a part of the journey too.Sometimes I'll write in a way I call "writing from the inside out." It could be maybe a chord, and then I'll write the chorus and then I write the song outward from that chorus. It works, and I get it started and it seems to me to take its own path and I like that. I think there is an element of allowing that to happen. You don't want to take too much because then [it] will block that creative process—but it sure keeps it interesting.

WYAT:Can you tell me how you've worked to develop that [skill] over the years?

SL:On the one hand you have to have the faith that it's going to work, and on the other hand you've got have that process to determine what's good and not so good—what's mundane and what's exceptional. I just think that I've doing it for quite a long while. I think that's it really important to let those forces fit and to let that happen. It's pretty special. You have to be focused at the same time to allow the spontaneity to let [the music] be what it can... It makes a difference in the music, and it makes a difference in the content—lyrically and the song itself.Really, it's coming up with an idea that stands the test of time. I mean, I could come up with ideas all day long, but it's different with something that you're really going to want to listen to a week later, a month later, a year later. With my songwriting heroes [having that quality] impresses me the most.

WYAT:I read online that you played trumpet growing up. I was wondering if you're going to play any trumpet on your new album?

SL:No, my trumpet days are long behind. I wish that weren't so but that's the way it is. It's interesting because when I was growing up guitar was always my main instrument, but I began playing trumpet first. I started playing trumpet when I was 10-years-old in school and I played through my years in college. I didn't begin playing guitar until I was 13. ...I started listening to Chet Atkins, that was a big step for me because it got me into fingerpicking, and [with] my later songs it was getting into Delta Blues and I first heard Robert Johnson.

WYAT: I know you're playing Jazz Fest this year, and it's obviously not your first playing [at the Fest]. Do you ever get nervous when you play on stage?

SL:You know, I really don't because I've built a home [there]. I would be nervous if I wasn't playing to be honest. [laughs] It's always been such a great experience. There's tons of people from all over the world who go to and I think...we take with us throughout the year and [when the band and I] travel in other places.

WYAT:For your show at Jazz Fest this year will you be debuting any of your material from you upcoming album?

SL:Well, I certainly hope we will.

Hidden Treasures of Jazz Fest-Frankie Beverly & Maze

Sunday, May 8 - 5 p.m.

Congo Square Stage


Returning Once again to close out the Congo Stage is Frankie Beverly and Maze, one of the tightest performances you will see in New Orleans. For years, they've played this show and when you see Frankie Beverly at the age of 64, dance, jive and sing like a 24 year old, you'll notice the polish. Years past this show has been a perfect blend of songs, crowd banter about band history, and this year is sure to be no different lest God come down himself dictate otherwise.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Frankie Beverly and Maze, or Maze and Frankie Beverly has been one of the best kept secrets of R&B. Formed in 1976, the band has always had a liver performance to brag about. In the 80's, they released their most prolific albums Golden Time of Day, Inspiration, and Joy and Pain. In 1986, they actually cut a live album to give the listeners at home what they were missing with Live in New Orleans. Despite the lack of industry recognition, they continue to sell out shows and their stage at Congo has always been packed in anticipation of their headlining performance Sunday Night.

Crowds are sure to go crazy and pack themselves in as they dance to such hits as "Joy & Pain" and "Workin' Together." Still, the most electric moment of the entire concert resides in the finale (not to be confused with the encore, which will happen as well) as the band lets out the most me memorable six chord hits of 1981. Feel yourself against your will beginning to groove as a lone voice calls out, "Woah, woah," and you dance and sing for the next five minutes to "Before I Let Go." Be sure to see the performances this year, and you won't regret it. - John Valdespino

Sonny Rollins

Sunday, May 8 - 5:40 p.m.

WWOZ Jazz Tent


What can be said or written about Theodore Walter "Sonny" Rollins that hasn't already been said or written? The grizzled veteran tenor sax man is one of the last greats still standing and breathing from the Bebop ("straight-ahead jazz") era that gave us Monk, Diz, Trane, Miles, Bird and so many other jazz immortals. Whoever they were, there's a good chance Rollins might have played with them. He recorded with them all! With a career stretching back to the late 1940s, Rollins eclipsed some of his earliest mentors, en route to establishing his own unique, unmistakable style that would only get better and more fine-tuned as he progressed as a musical stylist and innovator. One of his two classic albums released on the Prestige label in 1956, Saxophone Colossus, was such a great milestone it also gave Rollins one of his nicknames. (It also became the title of a 1986 documentary on him.) One of the tracks, "St. Thomas," is an all-time jazz standard that was one of the first to incorporate a calypso syncopation. The other 1956 Prestige release was Tenor Madness, the title track of which was the only song Rollins and John Coltrane ever recorded together. In the process of evolving from standard jazz to more modern incarnations, Rollins popularized the adaptation of well-known show tunes into jazzed-up numbers with plenty of elbow room for improvisation. Still touring and performing, well into his eighth decade, Sonny Rollins is the very definition of a jazz legend.When he goes, the book on the greatest era of jazz will be closed. But, while he's still here, let's enjoy and appreciate what we have. They just don't make 'em like that anymore! - Dean M. Shapiro

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