FROM HERB ALPERT TO CORINNE BAILEY RAE, JAZZ FEST BRINGS LOVE LETTERS TO NEW ORLEANS
“What a transition, from the Tijuana Brass to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival,” Alpert said. At 82, the 9-time Grammy winner sounded better than ever as he headlined the Jazz Tent along with his wife, Lani Hall, an accomplished vocalist in her own right. The set started with a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” and just got smoother from there.
The Roots of Music marching band is a great example of that music, and they marched across the track appropriately enough on Students Day, where local students come to the Fest to soak in music and culture. Over at the Gentilly Stage, multi-generational band The Chilluns (With Clements, Malone and Bohren families represented) sang: “And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
And on a multi-cultural note, the Cuban Pavilion once again had the crowd drum-levitating with Conga Los Hoyos and its dancer dressed as a goat who was whipping around the crowd along with a troupe of drummers. In the future, second lines are going to seem a little sparse if they don’t have a goat guy.
More ear ticklers: Erica Campbell belted “If You Don’t Love God, What’s Wrong Witchu?” from the Gospel Tent. Harry Shearer (a/k/a Derek Smalls) crooned “You’ll Get Yours” with Torkestra. The Free Agents Brass Band blasted out “For the Love of Money” from the Jazz & Heritage Stage. And Big Chief Donald Harrison, Jr. and Mardi Gras Indians delivered New Orleans classic “Hey Pocky Way.”
Eddie Cotton & The Mississippi Cotton Club blasted out of the blues tent with chops so strong, they may have helped blow the barricades over. It wasn’t a good day for the straw hat and sundress set, with chilly gusts blowing both around. Thankfully, tomorrow at Jazz Fest is forecast to be sunny with a chance of Wilco.