JazzFest ’17: Let’s Get the Real Party Started

Posted: April 28th, 2017 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Ruminations | No Comments »

One last check in from the periphery. When I finish this I’m off to Day I.

But first I need to forgive.

Some folks, even if wearing garb proving their attendance at previous fests, don’t know what they don’t know.

I was on my way back to the hotel which is at the foot of Iberville from a hook up at the Louisiana Music Factory during the Jazz Vipers set.

LMF’s on Frenchmen Street at the other end of the Quarter. So I stopped at this little courtyard in the French Market by the Gazebo Café to rest my yelping dogs. (To bore you with woes about how my new walking shoes aren’t all they are cracked up to be would be over self indulgent even for a narcissist like myself.)

Anyway, the earnest but not really not very good band of old farts regaling the turistas with New Orleans standards broke into “Southern Nights.” One of my favorite tunes.

The guy sitting next to me on the bench turned to his wife/ GF/ inamorata for the weekend and pontificated too impress, “Wow, they’re playing that old Glen Campbell classic.”

At which point, only years of therapy, advanced age and a hint of previously unrevealed maturity allowed me to remain silent.

In other times, I would have turned to him and vociferously, more than likely with spittle spewing out of the corners of my mouth, and screamed, “It’s an Allen Toussaint tune, you dumbass!!!”

 * * * * * *

At the LMF, it was the Schepp contingent that I hooked up and chatted with for a half an hour or so.

Good folks. In the fourth year of their JazzFest addiction.

The conversation turned to college hoops when I asked this gang from Connecticut what’s going on at UConn, with all the players leaving.

One, a Huskie grad, advised not to expect too much of that Enoch kid transferring to U of L.

I’m inclined to heed his warning. The fellow JF acolyte already proved his hoopaholic expertise. When he heard I was a U of L fan, the first words out of his mouth were “Denny Crum.”

Some people know.

We had a nice long get together, there at the Music Factory, which has become the go to gathering spot for inveterate JazzFesters when they get to town. Free music to listen to. Lots of old school CDs — and an increasing selection of vinyl  — to buy.

Would have hung out longer with the Schepp Krewe . . .

. . .  but it was mid afternoon and they were off to Drago’s for a round or two or three of grilled oysters. Just to hold them until dinner . . . four hours later.

It’s a New Orleans thing. You get really hungry as soon as you hit the parish line.

 * * * * * *

Didn’t we recently have a conversation about busking in the Quarter?

Oh yeah, yesterday.

So there I was taken by the quartet, Nomad Mountain Outlaws, playing at the corner of Royal and Conti. In front of the Louisiana Supreme Court building, the stateliest in the Vieux Carré, which I’m sure you know because it’s been in about every movie filmed in the Crescent City.

They play trumpet, cello, accordion and banjo and sang.

And sang some song about not being able to stay sober.

Old timey. Engaging.

They remained my favorite new band until I got to the next corner.

Where Eight Dice Cloth stole my heart with a version of “My Blue Heaven.”

These guys were real players.

Trumpet. Bone. Stand up bass. Washboard. Banjo. Harmonica. And the apparent leader of the contingent on fiddle/ violin.

Curious about the group’s name, I asked and stand advised that it was an olde English game of chance long since banned. Quick research tells me it made it over to the States in the mid 1800s, and is the forerunner of bunco.

This band, not a swindle. I bought their CD. Ten bucks, cheap.

 * * * * * *

In the category of They’re Everywhere, They’re Everywhere.

A couple stumbled out of an emporium mid afternoon, each with a Big Gulp of some concoction in his/ her hand.

He was garbed in a Big Blue Hat, Big Blue Shirt, and Big Blue Shorts.

She wore matching attire.

In the category of Truth in Advertising: A forlorn looking homeless fella — of which there are hordes in New Orleans, especially along the RiverWalk, with many others simply resting their heads in a store nook in Confederacy of the Dunces territory along the sidewalks of Canal Street — sat on a corner stoop.

The sign in his hand didn’t mince verbiage, told it like it is.

“I Need A Beer.”

 * * * * * *

There are conspicuously competing oyster bars on Iberville between Royal and Bourbon.

Felix’s. And, for whatever reason, the more well known Acme.

In a stunning previously unseen development, I note that last night on my way to dinner at Galatoire’s, still gracious after all these years, there was a line outside Felix’s and none in front of Acme.

It’s literally been the other way around every single other time I’ve ever walked by the joints.

I dined with a group more accurately described as acquaintances than long time friends. Still a wonderful evening.

Good conversation. Much of which, ironically, centered around horse racing. There was a horse vet among us. Coulda been Jeff Ruby’s next Thursday in Derbytown.

Anyhow, enough of this effluvia.

I’m off to Day I of JazzFest ’17.

Reports to follow.

— c d kaplan

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