Courtesy of Jason Hall

Jazz Fest Weekend 2 Previews 2014

00:00 April 27, 2014
By: Staff
[Courtesy of Jason Hall]
The Revivalists

Thursday, May 1

Truth Universal

11:15 a.m. - noon; Congo Square Stage

Truth Universal is a local hip-hop icon who continues to lead the movement of intelligent hip-hop lyrics that deliver a message and serve a purpose beyond their original intent. Like other musicians in the melting pot that is New Orleans, he occasionally brings influences from his early childhood in Diego Martin, Trinidad, into his music to give it a diverse, layered sound. He also injects his sound with the hip-hop traditions that are true to the New Orleans scene he grew up in since he moved to the city at the age of four. Throughout his career, he has released a number of recordings over the years, including Decolonization (2006), Self Determination (2008), Guerilla Business EP (2010), Resistance, Vol. 2: Polygraph (2011) and Invent the Future (2013). Some of these albums were inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the strain of race relations became fodder for Truth Universal's music. His return performance at Jazz Fest is likely to contain a little bit of all of these career-long successes and will be another pinnacle performance in his live repertoire of shows. -Carolyn Heneghan

A Tribe Called Red

1:55 - 2:50 p.m.; Jazz and Heritage Stage

Particularly frenetic dance music is often described as "tribal." Never has that tag held truer than it does with A Tribe Called Red. Members DJ Shub, DJ NDN and Bear Witness serve as a shot in the arm to the overly complacent EDM scene, mixing moombahton and dubstep hallmarks with music from the First Nations to create something truly unique, a genre they call "powwow-step." And the outside world is starting to take notice. They've already dropped two well-received albums (Nation II Nation and their self-titled debut) and - on top of being short-listed for a Polaris Prize - were recently tagged to produce a track on Angel Haze's debut album Dirty Gold. You should expect to hear more of these Ottawans in the coming year and catch them at Jazz Fest before they're headlining on the main stage at ULTRA or Electric Daisy Carnival. -Alex Galbraith

Friday, May 2

Hurray for the Riff Raff

2:05 - 3:05 p.m.; Samsung Galaxy Stage

Hurray for the Riff Raff have been all over New Orleans and the news of late. The band's been covered by local and national syndicates alike, with their new album coming out to rave reviews. Staying true to their local roots, many of the band's songs touch on New Orleans, none more apparent than in the track "St. Roch Blues," which singer Alynda Lee Segarra and bandmate Same Doores wrote in order to honor the neighborhood, as well as for some friends who died in the city. The music video was shot in New Orleans, including in the St. Roch Cemetery, and includes footage of the Hot 8 Brass band. Hurray for the Riff Raff's new album has them touring all over the United States, but seeing them play the songs in the city that inspired them, will be more powerful than watching them play it anywhere else. This is a set that no one will want to miss. With close friends Alabama Shakes playing later that same day, we can also surmise some fun 'sit-ins' throughout both sets. -Chris Romaguera

The Dixie Cups

4:10 - 5:25 p.m.; Blues Tent

Plain and simple, it just wouldn't be Jazz Fest without the Dixie Cups. The classic New Orleans' R&B group behind hits and favorites like "Chapel of Love" and "Iko Iko" has been performing since members Rosa Hawkins, Athelgra Neville and Barbara Hawkins were teenagers, and the trio has yet to disappoint. The Louisiana Music Hall Of Famers help bring the "Heritage" to the Jazz and Heritage Fest, representing the heyday and New Orleans R&B and soul with their string of tracks from seminal girl-group label Red Bird Records. The Dixie Cups will return to the festival yet again as part of a "Classic R&B Diva" showcase that includes "Sweetheart Of New Orleans" Wanda Rouzan and "Mr. Big Stuff" singer Jean Knight. -Alex Galbraith

DJ Soul Sister

5:10 - 5:45 p.m.; Congo Square Stage

Native New Orleanian DJ Soul Sister will take the stage at Jazz Fest once again this year, performing on the second Friday of Jazz Fest, May 2nd. Soul Sister has been hosting her weekly "Hustle Saturdays" residency at Hi-Ho Lounge, and still hosts her "Soul Power" show on WWOZ on the same night. The "Queen of Rare Groove" is the first person to ever win the "Best of the Beat" Best DJ award for New Orleans. She has been a smash hit in local venues such as One Eyed Jacks and Hi-Ho Lounge, as well as the festival circuit, including our very own Essence Festival and New Orleans Jazz Fest. Her vinyl-only funk/hip-hop/everything-you'd-ever-want-to-hear sets may be the most popular DJ performance in the city. So come enjoy some New Orleans groove as DJ Soul Sister sets the mood for your second weekend.

-Chris Romaguera

Chaka Khan

5:30 - 7 p.m.; Congo Square Stage

Celebrating her 42nd professional year in the music business with style, the original "Queen of Funk" promenades onto the Jazz Fest scene as one of the second weekend's acclaimed headliners. Born Yvette Marie Stevens, she was given the name Chaka by an African priest while in high school and went from singing with her sisters in the rough and tumble neighborhood of Southside Chicago to fronting the funk band Rufus in 1972. Marrying her on-again, off-again boyfriend Hassan Khan completed her distinctive stage name and, after contributing to their breakthrough hit "Tell Me Something Good," she began her solo career in 1978 with hits such as "I'm Every Woman." Separating with Rufus for good in 1983, one of her biggest albums, I Feel for You, was released soon after in 1984 and Chaka's stars were finally aligned. The eponymous, hip hop-laced title track and the soulful ballad, "Through the Fire," helped propel the album to platinum status and Khan into international superstardom. Since her breakthrough in the 1980's Khan has toured the world several times, won a total of ten Grammy awards, and has found a strong fan base in the United Kingdom. She's also been jointly nominated to the Rock & Roll Hall of fame with Rufus and garnered Broadway success in 2008's The Color Purple alongside Fantasia Barrino. Fans are currently awaiting her latest release, The IKhan Project due to be released sometime this year. -Craig Magraff

Christina Aguilera

5:45 - 7 p.m.; Acura Stage

Garnering success from a young age and in many varied fields, there are few artists as accomplished as Christina Aguilera. Her career started when she was just thirteen on "The Mickey Mouse Club," a variety show starring many young performers, several of whom went on to become very successful. Aguilera garnered worldwide fame as a female pop star with her first album in 1999. Determined not to be pigeonholed, her third album, Stripped (2002), shed her bubblegum image and dabbled in many genres including hip-hop, rock and soul. Christina Aguilera is one of the most successful dual language artists, with Grammy's for both her English and Spanish records. Since first becoming famous, Aguilera has put out seven albums, appeared in several films, been nominated for a Golden Globe, won 4 Grammy's, and toured tirelessly. She is a household name around the world and is recognized as one of the best voices performing today. Christina Aguilera was a coach on the incredibly successful television show "The Voice," where she mentored young hopefuls before taking a season off for her wedding and pregnancy. She has had countless popular singles, most recently she partnered with A Great Big World for the song "Say Something" which has gone triple platinum. She remains a performer in a league of her own, conquering many different genres and fields and reaching unique success in each. -Julie Mitchell

Saturday, May 3

Allen Toussaint

12:45 - 1:55 p.m.; Acura Stage

For the first ten years of Jazz Fest, Professor Longhair sat royally at the piano as an ambassador for New Orleans music. At seventy-six years old, Allen Toussaint now maintains that sonic helm. The Gert Town native has produced, written, and recorded music for several decades, helping other New Orleans musicians like Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, and Art and Ivan Neville produce hits early in their careers. Toussaint himself has kept busy, despite age, and last year released two albums, including the Grammy-nominated Songbook and performed on the Acura Stage at Jazz Fest in one of the festival's better performances. Few, if any, local musicians are held in higher esteem or regality than Toussaint who gracefully weaves funk and rock into his rhythm and blues while his fluid piano style sustains the rumba-boogie finger work of his mentor The Fess. Toussaint has toured the world and influenced many musicians, but he always returns home to entertain. Toussaint will have many musical friends in town, so audiences can expect to see some company on stage for his performance. -Sam Nelson

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

4:15 - 7 p.m.; Acura Stage

Since delivering an epic set at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz Fest, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have been performing all over the world - from Australia to South Africa. Finally heading back home to the states, Springsteen's first announced show of his 2014 U.S. tour was this year's Jazz Fest date. In January, Springsteen released High Hopes, a collection of new material, cover songs, and old set favorites that are finally getting a proper recording. Standouts include the title track and a newly recorded version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Morello has been touring as part of the new E Street Band since 2008. Springsteen's live shows are legendary and after seeing Bruce live in 2012, I can assure you will not want to miss this show (I cried during "If I Should Fall Behind"). Expect material from High Hopes, classic hits, deep album cuts, and even fan requests from signs out in the crowd. -Lauren Adam

Foster the People

5:30 - 7 p.m.; Samsung Galaxy Stage

Foster the People is a trio out of L.A. founded by front man Mark Foster, joined by Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius. These guys came riding in on the coat tails of new wave music. They'd only been together less than two years when their first hit, "Pumped Up Kicks," exploded on not only the radio, but the Billboard charts as well. The song has a dark subject matter about a school shooting, but it's hard to listen to the lyrics when enveloped in the up tempo, catchy beat. When the song was put on the internet by the band, it went viral. And that was enough to catch the attention of record executives. It was after signing with Columbia Records that the group continued to grow. Their first album, Torches, came out in 2011, with their second album, Supermodel, coming out in March. Foster the People is on the road March-August doing a tour to promote the upcoming release. Even though the band has hit a desired level of fame, they haven't lost sight of the bigger picture. Prior to arriving at Jazz Fest on their current tour, they have covered SXSW in Austin, Texas, and Coachella in Inido, California. It's not rare that when a group gets big, they forget about the festival circuit. There's something so refreshing about the group, but even listening to their music repeatedly, it's hard to place exactly what that something is. Sometimes it's just easier to accept the art than to try and break it down to make sense. -Lee Pointer

Trey Songz

5:30 - 7 p.m.; Congo Square Stage

With the tag "It's Mr. Steal Yo Girl," it's hard to imagine Trey Songz as a shy boy from Virginia who moved around a lot, but that's exactly what he was. It's even harder to imagine that he didn't pursue singing so much as he was pushed into it. But five albums, four tours and a couple movies later, it hardly matters. Trey Songz has only been recording since 2003 and has made quite the name for himself in that short period of time. With his first recordings gaining moderate success but not breaking into the mainstream, Songz hit it big with "Can't Help But Wait" from his 2007 album, Trey Day. Since then he has done many successful solo projects and collaborations including projects with Gucci Mane, R. Kelly, Soulja Boy, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Fabolous and Drake. Trey Songz has been nominated and won numerous Grammy awards, most notably for Best Male R&B Artist in 2010. He has worked on many movies as both an actor and composer; most recently, he played the lead in Texas Chainsaw 3D, the most reboot in the popular horror franchise. Songz is also known for his generosity. He has many philanthropic endeavors including a charity he started called "Angels with Heart," which focuses the energies of his fans towards good will in their communities rather than gifts for him on tour, and the "Songz for Peace Foundation," a campaign devoted to ending youth violence through education. Much of the proceeds from his most recent EP, Inevitable, also went to charity. -Julie Mitchell

Sunday, May 4

Chick Corea and The Vigil

4:10 - 5:40 p.m.; Zatarains/WWOZ Jazz Tent

Chick Corea has not only played through several periods in jazz, but he's been at the forefront of jazz history for decades now. Corea got his first gig playing with Cab Calloway and later played piano for Miles Davis in seminal albums like Bitches Brew and On the Corner, helping pave the way for fusion jazz. Corea would soon blaze his own trail, using fusion to bring electronic keyboards to an almost exclusively acoustic genre of music. For decades, Corea has been prolific and profound in his productions, collaborating with jazz legends while forging his own identity and compositional genius on the keys. In recent years, he has worked with Bela Fleck and also reunited with several players from his past, including his Return to Forever band, as well as Dave Holland, Stanley Clarke, and Wayne Shorter. Last year he recruited a younger group of musicians to form The Vigil, and their work together on the album The Vigil pulled from the many sounds and influences in Corea's own career, integrating electronic and acoustic instrumentation, Latin rhythms, post-bop avant-garde and fusion to provide another testament of Corea's ongoing legacy. -Sam Nelson

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