Stevie Wonder

Dad dropped me at the fairgrounds one his way to work again this morning. I got there not long after 10 this morning. After a drink at Liuzza’s I headed in at about ten to 11. I walked to the Gentilly stage where Tulane University Jazz Ensemble was scheduled to start at 11:35. To be frank, they were the worst act I saw at Jazz Fest last year but I read a recommendation recently and they were moved to a bigger stage so I decided to satisfy my curiosity and try seeing them again. They were significantly larger in number this year, although there were a couple familiar faces. Most of the numbers I saw were original compositions that I had not heard before. They did sound a hell of a lot better today, although groups like this are best heard without amplification.I left the Gentilly stage early to get at decent seat at Economy Hall to see the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble. They play traditional jazz music from the early 20th century. They go to a lot of trouble to make it sound the same as it did back in the twenties, including the use of period instruments.I left there a bit early to see the last few minutes of Lyle Henderson and Emmanuel at the gospel tent. I saw him last year and it was a pretty decent, although he had a smaller group behind him this year if memory serves.After leaving there and wandering briefly I went to get something to eat. I decided on the pheasant, quail & andouille gumbo as well as the crawfish enchiladas. I had the enchiladas last year but the gumbo was new to me. Both were quite good and I was especially impressed with the gumbo. I usually have low expectations for such things that are cooked in large quantities. I took my food to the blues tent where Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone’s Harmonica Revue. It was hot and crowded there so it wasn’t the most pleasant place to eat, but the music was interesting.I left the blues tent as soon as I finished eating, much to the relief of my pores. I made my way to Economy Hall to get a seat for the New Orleans Jazz Vipers with Miss Sophie Lee. I’ve seen the Jazz Vipers play the Spotted Cat on Frenchman Street and they put on a great show in the cramped venue. They handed the tent just fine too and gave a great show to a packed house. The vocalist they had as a guest was pretty decent too. Unlike the earlier stuff today I saw the duration of this show.After the Vipers finished I walked down toward the Acura stage to see Stevie Wonder this evening. Art Neville was just finishing when I picked out a spot about 20 paces from the barricade. As could be expected, it was quite crowded near the stage, and pretty far back from it too. Stevie started just a couple minutes at about 5:20. I didn’t really recognize the first few songs he played, the familiar crowd pleasers came later. It was cloudy all day but it finally started raining during the set. It would pour for a minute or two and then subside. This happened at least four times. His performance was quite entertaining. Another harmonica player whose name I didn’t catch did a number with Stevie and Irma Thomas came out for a few songs too. Overall it was a lot of fun, in spite of the rain.After Stevie Wonder finished at about seven I made my out of the fairgrounds. I walked to the cab stand at Mystery Street but there looked to be an hour wait so I went to Luizza’s for a drink. While I was there I talked to a Theresa and Amy, mostly about our cameras. On my way out I knocked over a lady’s drink and graciously bought a replacement. I finally got a cab home shortly before nine. Later that evening I watched Battlestar Galactica and yesterday’s O’Reily Factor which I worked on this entry before finally turning in for the night.

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