the second week-end of the new orleans jazz fest is well underway right now, and dang, we wish we were there . . .they have a ton of great music this weekend, elvis costello, randy newman, toots and the maytals, isaac hayes, north mississippi allstars, the neville bros. . . as usual, there is too much music to see it all. the best thing to do is map out who you really want to see 1st and work your way down. a lot of the time there is more than one act you like playing at the same time, on different stages at opposite ends of the grounds. you just gotta go with the one that sets you up for the other stuff you want to see. it is a scientific thing to be able to pack as much great music as one can in one day. ya gotta know where you are, so you can get there on time. as with any large gathering of people, a meeting place is essential in keepin' yer krewe together. the place at the jazz fest is the flagpole in the center of the grounds. it used to be that only a handful of festers would loiter there, but as the fest has grown, so has the number of people looking for other people. so over the last decade or so the way to keep track is to get yourself near a stage you know has all the good food and music, plant a colorful flag on a tall pole and the rest of the krewe will follow.
i've been going to the jazz fest for quite awhile, in fact, making it to every fest, at least for one day, from 1970 until my last in 2001. these last 4 years have been murder here at this time of year. reno tries to be hip, what with their little jazz fest, but to be honest, it just don't add up. it is damn funny to see these guys wearing beads, eating pseudo cajun food and listening to suburban yankee kids trying to play the blues. . . it just don't add up.
and if missing the music ain't enough to break this po' boy's heart there is all the wonderful food. no matter which way you turn at the fairgrounds food abounds, and not the kind you find anywhere else in the world. crawfish monica, crawfish pie, gumbo (of all sorts), jambalaya, soft-shell crab po boys, muffulettas, boiled crawfish . . . mmmmmm, i can smell it all the way here in reno.
well, we are gonna spend the weekend listening to jazz and blues records real loud, make some po' boys and red beans, then sit out in the yard with our umbrella and flag and wish we were home already!
(speaking of food, go see my friend danno's site, new orleans cuisine, and try some of his recipies for some great jazz fest cookins', he's missing the fest too i am sure!)
here are some tunes by various new orleans artists that usually play the fest but aren't very well known outside of the city . they are too good not to spread the word about:
the subdudes (w/ ivan neville) - straight shot (buy it)
the new orleans nightcrawlers - red cap (buy it)
the rev. chris marsceill - sentinal (buy it)
the iguanas - 9 volt heart (buy it)
the flying neutrinos - st. john's infirmary (buy it)
zachary richard - bon temps rouler (buy it)
kid red - it shoulda been me (buy it)
professor john - i want to go home (buy it)
jon cleary - tipitina live (wmv video) (buy it)
- and here is a cool little video on early jazz history - new orleans jazz