New Orleans Jazz Fest

Dear friends and fans,

Many of you know that I spent most of last week in New Orleans for JazzFest. For our performance last Thursday, I was fortunate to have some of New Orleans’ finest in my band — Raymond Weber (drums), Chris Severin (bass), and Vasti Jackson (guitar).

Every time I play JazzFest, it is heartening to hear the thousands of people in front of me – cheering us on, appreciating our music, and showing enthusiasm for being at one of the great festivals on the planet. While I was there, I met some artists that I’ve admired for many years, heard some excellent bands during the non-festival hours, and I sat in at a couple of places.

I’ve also noticed that the non-festival environment is changing quite a bit. There are a few places that featured New Orleans bands while I was in the city, but most of what I heard came from the jam band circuit. While some of that music was quite good, I am generally drawn to the raw stuff. When I heard Cedric Burnside at D.B.A. my ears perked up, my blood started to flow a little faster, and I started to move to the rhythm — it was fun.

Last Friday, I went to Tipitina’s and heard The Funky Meters: Russell Batiste on drums, George Porter on bass, Art Neville on organ, and Brian Shultz on guitar. When I hear any of the Meters’ groups performing, or George Porter and the Running Partners, its hard for me to deny the attraction that I have for New Orleans.

I’m curious to know what your favorite after-hours JazzFest spots are. Did you hear any particularly good NOLA music at the clubs while you were down there?

H.B.