40th Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Like last year, Jazz Fest came and went before I got around to writing any log entries. Luckily I am only a couple days removed from the end of the second weekend of the festival. My memories are reasonably intact and for the moment I have the will to write.

I bought a brass pass again this year and rented two lenses for both weekends. I got the EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 and the famous EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS lens.

On Friday, Dad have me a ride to the fairgrounds. I got there early enough to see the start of the first act of the day. I saw the duration of the Xavier University Jazz Ensemble performance. I generally like strong horn sections so this act was a treat. After the performance I got something to eat, the crawfish sack/beignets and oyster patties combo. I took It to the grandstands and saw the 19th Street Red Blues Band while I ate. I’m not a huge blues fan but it was nice background for my meal.

After lunch I stopped by the WWOZ tent and then on to Economy Hall for Fred Dupin’s New Bumpers Revival Jazz Band. I was not familiar with them but I like to check out international acts when the opportunity presents itself. Their performance was centered around a French jazz composer named Jacques Gauthe with a good portion of their numbers written by him.

The next item today was the Johnny Vidocovich interview by Bruce Raeburn. Vidocovich is the longtime drummer of my favorite local band, Astral Project. He’s a pretty amusing character so I was sure this interview would be a treat. Mr. Raeburn spend most of his time talking with Johnny about growing up in mid city, his start in the music business and his work in the seventies including an extended trip to Europe. Overall it was a very interesting interview and very insightful as I knew very little about Johnny before this.

Following the interview I took the short walk to the gospel tent. In years past and more recently I have heard good things about the Tribute to Mahalia Jackson that takes place there and with no overlapping must-see acts I decided to check it out. It was a fine performance featuring Mavis Staples and Irma Thomas. It was a good show to hear but a hard one to photograph as the security folks were not allowing people to approach the railing.

I left a few minutes early hoping to get a good seat for Tab Benoit but there were a lot of people considerably more dedicated than myself. I ended up with a chair towards the back. I was unfamiliar with Benoit but I heard good things so I decided to check him out. To be frank, I wasn’t especially impressed with his music and I lousy seat did not help in convincing me to stay long. I ended up staying for two or three songs, shooting a handful of pictures and leaving the festival for the day early around six.

Since I did leave early I had no trouble catching a cab home. That evening I spent a good deal of time culling my pictures and getting them on the website.

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