Hello, friends! Rob here.
Well, that’s another New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in the bag, and it was another one for the ages. Three full shows in two days, plus a litany of side shows, sit-ins, late nights, early calls, dashing from one thing to the next, eating and sleeping sparingly and as permitted by schedule… By now the whole routine is quite familiar, but that doesn’t make Jazzfest any less exciting. So many people come to visit, so many musicians cross boundaries, there’s an atmosphere in the town that keeps you going long after the coffee and the alcohol and the adrenaline have worn off.
I always thought it was a cruel joke for Tulane to schedule finals on the same week.
With so many memorable events this year, it’s both hard and easy for me to pick a personal favorite. I got to kick off my entire weekend at Fiya Fest by performing “Masquerade” with a beefed-up sit-in horn section featuring Khris Royal, Carly Meyers and Jen Hartswick. The last note I played all weekend must have been sometime around 5:30 in the morning on Sunday, when I dropped in on The Mike Dillon Band’s raucous late-late-late-night Saturday set at the Howlin’ Wolf (also alongside Carly Meyers, I am just realizing). In between those bookends we had both a stellar set at the ‘Fest itself and a late-night (as opposed to late-late-late night) show at the newly-ish reopened Joy Theater, the latter of which featured sit-ins from members of The Motet, a juggling duel (yes, that is correct) between Zack and their trumpetist, Gabe Mervine, and a surprise (even to us, I confess) guest appearance by Warren Haynes. Dave played an awesome riverboat superjam on Friday, Ed got to trade licks with Sonny Landreth at the Gov’t Mule show before jetting off to his own gig Friday night, and probably other cool things happened that I either lost in the shuffle or missed entirely.
So that’s why it’s hard to pick a single greatest moment from our Jazzfest weekend. But here’s why it’s actually easy:
That’s David onstage at Jazzfest singing “Happy Birthday” to his biggest fan: his ninety-year-old grandmother, Betty. What you can’t see in the picture is a crowd of several thousand people singing along.
It doesn’t get much better than that.