JazzFest ’17: The Day Before My 30th

Posted: April 27th, 2017 | Filed under: Culture, Music | 1 Comment »

God, how I love this place.

New Orleans is, as New Orleans has always been, it’s own kind of spirit force.

May it never change.

The Professor — my pal not Longhair — who attended many Fests with his bride, will be happy to know that the Quarter, bless its historic nature and sybaritic presence, remains fetid.

Especially early in the morning when it’s waking up, and the guys are out in front of the titty bars along Bourbon, hosing away the excess of the night before.

When the baristas in their long skirts are speeding along on their one speed bikes to work.

When the school buses are lined up on Royal near the Esplanade end, unloading kids at school.

When turistas like me, most in much better shape, are jogging away last evening’s gustatory or alcohol overload, wearing their school colors. Sparty. Roll Tide. I’m in Cardinal gear.

It’s an odd affectation, running the Vieux Carré during these transitional early AM moments, but’s it what I love to do, confirming another year, another JazzFest, my 30th, on the morrow.

Of course, I also enjoy jogging Audubon Park, which I do in those years when I’ve stayed with my old college pal, who introduced me to this incredible sensory potpurri that is JazzFest, incredible food and too much — OK I’ll bring in the ever overused cliché — bon temps roulez.

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Speaking of Marc and his bride Jill — a Louisville gal by the by — we had dinner last night at G W Fins, where I hadn’t supped since the year it opened in ’01.

There’s a reason this extraordinary seafood restaurant is jammed to the gills. It’s apparently an internet favorite. For good reason.

The food. The service. Immaculate.

Soft shell crab with brown butter cashew sauce. Parmesan encrusted Sheepshead.

Too, too, too, too good.

Plus I was regaled by my hosts with the latest shenanigans in this town, a place that knows a thing or two about a thing or two of political or social or cultural imbroglio.

Seems my pal is on the periphery of the controversy regarding the removal of several Confederate monuments in town.

You think there was tension and engagement over the removal of the monument by U of L? That’s nothing. While New Orleans is an international city, it’s still Deep South.

So worried were the city’s fathers and mothers about what might happen, there were police snipers posed atop building surrounding it, when the first of the statues was removed the other day.

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Jackson Square remains a busker’s paradise. There are other places in the Quarter too.

Musical shleppers don’t cut it in this town.

Yesterday there was a duo of violinists mesmerizing a crowd in front of the Cabildo. Their bucket for donations was as full as any I’ve seen down here.

Because they rocked.

My favorite of such street musical ensembles has been traditional N O jazzists Tuba Skinny, which usually holds court on a corner along Royal. But so good have they become, led by marvelous Shay Cohn on coronet, they’re playing the fest, and clubs.

Fortunately they’re gigging at Maison this afternoon. Sweet.

And it’s right down Frenchmen Street from the Louisiana Music Factory, America’s greatest music shoppe, where I’m supposed to hook up with some pal whom I met there several years back who are flying in today from Connecticut with some newbies ready to experience their first fest.

 * * * * * *

So, yeah, I’ve been doing this so long it feels like home away from home.

One of bell hops at my hotel remembers me, he and I have been at it for so many years.

 * * * * * *

I realize now that this screed is very c d centric. Sorry.

What I’m sharing today might be of little interest to anybody but myself.

So if I mention that I can’t wait for dinner tonight at Galatoire’s with a different mix of old and new friends, you might yawn.

Well, stayed tuned.

The world’s greatest music festival in the world’s premier music town starts tomorrow.

I don’t know what you’ll be doing at 11:30 Friday morning — a work day for most — but I’ll be drinking a frozen café au lait — and figuring out if I want to hear Johnny Sansone in the Blues tent, Batiste Fathers & Sons on the big stage, The Revealers at Congo Square some zyedeco at the Fais Do Do or one of several other groups playing that opening time slot that catches my ear?

It’s a tough task, but somebody’s gotta do it.

I’ll do my best and report back.

— c d kaplan

One Comment on “JazzFest ’17: The Day Before My 30th”

  1. 1 Jim McGovern said at 2:19 pm on April 27th, 2017:

    Thank you for doing this…two years in a row I have missed…but your scripts keep me in the spirit.

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