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Jazz Fest 2016 post-fest guide

The Word

The Word

With Jazz Fest rapidly approaching, you may find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed by the almost unfathomable amount of live music options presented over the next two weeks.  While some of the toughest decisions will be made at the Fairgrounds (Paul Simon or My Morning Jacket? Stevie Wonder or Beck?), there are still tons of choices to make after the main event shuts down at 7:00.  

We scoured the exhaustive Jazz Fest Grids to hunt down those extraordinary shows, the ones you won’t see any other time of year and may never see again.  \Whether it’s a tribute set or an all-star jam, these are the shows you won’t want to miss this Jazz Fest and will be telling your friends about for years to come.  

Co-Written by Shane Colman (SC) and Wesley Hodges (WH)


Thursday, 4/21: Helen Gillet, Nikki Glaspie, Brian Haas & Skerik (Gasa Gasa, 10:00 PM, $15)

The night show scene at Jazz Fest has long been known for exciting, one-off collaborations between artists from disparate musical backgrounds in the ‘superjam’ tradition. Therefore it would be fitting to kick things off with this quartet in the intimate confines of Gasa Gasa on Freret Street. When eclectic Belgian cellist Helen Gillet (a longtime NOLA resident), pioneering Seattle saxophone madman Skerik, powerhouse funk-rock drummer Nikki Glaspie and ivory extraordinaire Brian Haas get together on Thursday night, there’s almost no telling what kinds of sounds they will explore during what promises to be one of the most interesting jam sessions of the entire run. (WH)

Friday 4/22: The Greyboy Allstars + Vulfpeck + The Pimps of Joytime (The Joy Theatre, 9:00 PM, $35)

The Joy Theatre kicks off their excellent run of late-night offerings with this triple bill featuring three of the best modern funk bands in the world.  The Greyboy Allstars are no strangers to the Jazz Fest circuit, touching down in the Crescent City every year to deliver memorable shows that always offer something unique (last year they tackled Jimi Hendrix’s epic album Axis: Bold as Love in its entirety).  Over the past year, Vulfpeck has become the hottest new funk band in the country thanks to their eclectic sound and the irresistibly upbeat songs on their latest album, Thrill of the Arts.  Rounding out the bill are the hard-touring The Pimps Of Joytime, who will set up shop in town for two weekends filled with blistering sets of their powerhouse funk. (SC)

Saturday 4/23: Marco Benevento (Blue Nile, 10:30 PM, $20)

One of the best parts of Jazz Fest season is seeing some incredibly talented musicians let loose on stage and have a great time right along with the audience.  Keyboard virtuoso Marco Benevento embodies this freewheeling spirit with his party-starting electronic rock and penchant for left-field covers.  Benevento will pop up around town in a number of groups throughout the week (including a James Booker tribute), but this show at Blue Nile offers the chance to hear Benevento’s original songs with his road-tested trio.  Stick around after the show for an epic late-night set with the best young funk band in the city right now, Naughty Professor. (SC)

Marco Benevento

Marco Benevento

Sunday 4/24: The Word + Dirty Dozen Brass Band (The Joy Theater, 8:00 PM, $30)

The Word play a revved-up version of the blues with a heavy dose of gospel, serving as the perfect soundtrack for a Sunday night after the first weekend of festin’.  The band has held down the Sunday slot at The Joy for the past few years and usually makes the list of fans’ favorite shows of the entire week.  The band features the unlikely combination of blues revivalists North Mississippi Allstars, pedal steel king Robert Randolph, and mjazz keyboardist John Medeski (last year the band was joined by locals Big Sam Williams and Roosevelt Collier as well).  This band never disappoints, and with the always reliable Dirty Dozen opening the show, you can count on this one to ease you back into the work week until Round 2. (SC)

Monday 4/25: Instruments A Comin’ (Tipitina’s, 10:00 PM, $50)

The Tipitina’s Foundation’s annual fundraiser is always a hot ticket, featuring a stacked lineup including Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Galactic, Anders Osborne and many more of the best bands in town.  Proceeds from the event go toward providing instruments to school band programs at Louisiana schools; over the past 15 years the Foundation has provided over $3.15 million in musical instruments across 101 schools.  In addition to the indoor show, the event also features a free outdoor festival, silent auction, and battle of the bands.  Great music + a great cause = perfect Monday between Fest weekends. (SC)

Instruments A Comin' 2015 (Photo Credit: Tipitina's Foundation)

Instruments A Comin’ 2015 (Photo Credit: Tipitina’s Foundation)

Tuesday 4/26: NOLA Crawfish Fest (NOLA Brewing, 4:00 PM, $35)

This year marks the first edition of the NOLA Crawfish Fest, a joint collaboration between the fine folks at NOLA Brewing and crawfish king Chris “Shaggy” Davis.  The festival runs from Monday through Wednesday and every ticket includes 2 pounds of crawfish and 1 craft beer straight from the brewery.  Tuesday’s musical offerings may be the strongest of the stellar lineup, including Maple Leaf favorites John “Papa” Gros Band and George Porter Jr. Trio with June Yamigishi.  These shows are the perfect chance to get over to NOLA and check out their expanded taproom that opened last year. (SC)

Wednesday 4/27: Lost Bayou Ramblers with Luther Dickinson and Alvin Youngblood Hart (Chickie Wah Wah, 8:00 PM)

Lost Bayou Ramblers have a busy Jazz Fest, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the band tear through their modern interpretations of Cajun music on stages across Louisiana.  This intimate show at Chickie Wah Wah will add a heavy dose of the blues with guitarists Luther Dickinson and Alvin Youngblood Hart joining the band for a full-on Southern gumbo.  Make sure to get there early to snag a prime spot up front. (SC)

George Porter Jr. and Cyril Neville

George Porter Jr. and Cyril Neville

Thursday 4/28: Sonny Landreth, George Porter Jr., Jonny Vidacovich (Maple Leaf Bar, 10:00 PM, $20)

Amidst an incredible week of shows at The Maple Leaf sits a night of three separate shows featuring house drummer Jonny Vidacovich and elder statesmen Walter “Wolfman” Washington.  An early show at 7:00 will feature Jonny V and Luther Dickinson facing off as a duo and the late night slot belongs to Wolfman and his Roadmasters.  But the highlight of the evening will undoubtedly be the trio of Louisiana slide-guitar master Sonny Landreth with Meters bassist George Porter Jr. and Jonny V.  The jams at the Leaf always lead to unexpected places and the combination of these three masters will surely lead to some of the best improvisations of the week. (SC)

Friday 4/29: Kamasi Washington (One Eyed Jack’s, 8:00 PM and 1:00 AM,  $35)

Kamasi Washington burst onto the modern jazz scene last year with his contributions to Kendrick Lamar’s magnum opus, To Pimp a Butterfly, and his own double album of free-jazz explorations, appropriately titled The Epic.  Washington takes over One Eyed Jack’s for the second weekend of Jazz Fest, playing early and late shows on both Friday and Saturday.  Washington’s transcendent shows have pushed the boundaries of jazz music with full string sections and dual-drummer breakdowns, proving to the world that jazz is very much alive and kicking in 2016. (SC)

Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington

Saturday 4/30: Galactic + JJ Grey and Mofro (The Orpheum Theatre, 8:00 PM, $38)

The gorgeously renovated Orpheum Theatre hosts its first season of Jazz Fest shows with some top-notch talent, including The Meters, Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr., and The Revivalists.  Galactic takes the stage on the second Friday to lay down its trademark brand of New Orleans funk and test the limits of the theatre’s state of the art sound system.  Florida soulman JJ Grey will perform with his band Mofro and likely join Galactic for a few tunes (he collaborated with the band on the song “Higher and Higher” from their 2015 album Into the Deep).  Brooklyn “cave music” band Moon Hooch opens the show. (SC)

The Roots

Soul’d Out Productions Presents Soul Slaughter: In Memory of Clarence Slaughter Featuring The Roots plus Special Guests (Orpheum Theater, 11:00 PM, $93.50 – $193.50)

The Roots make a rare stop in New Orleans to make a special, raucous and sure-to-be heartfelt tribute to former sax player (of Trombone Shorty’s Hot 8 Brass Band) Clarence ‘Trixzey’ Slaughter who recently passed away at the young age of 26. Having served as the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon since 2014 and on Late Night since 2009, The Roots have become about as much of a household name as any group could ever wish to become. Long before appearing in the nightly limelight at 30 Rock, the Philly-based neo-soul/hip hop group gained millions of fans on the heels of highly influential records and became a staple on the American festival circuit with the reputation as one of the best live bands in the business. While the ticket price may be up with some of the pricier night show affairs (Midnight Preserves and Last Waltz shows also come with a triple-digit price tag), this evening with the Roots Crew and one of NOLA’s hottest modern brass bands promises to be quite a party and righteous tribute to Clarence Slaughter. (WH)

Sunday 5/1, Stanton Moore Trio + Ike Stubblefield Trio (d.b.a., 7:00 PM, $20)

You made it to the end of Jazz Fest!  If you are one of the lucky few who escaped third-degree sunburn, hangovers of epic proportions, and mild-to-moderate exhaustion, head down to d.b.a. for one last hurrah before reality hits on Monday.  Ike Stubblefield kicks off a night of stellar music with his B3 organ trio, followed by two groups anchored by Galactic drummer Stanton Moore.  Expect some surprise guests and plenty of joyous jams stretching into the night as some of the best musicians in town say so long to another year of Jazz Fest. (SC)

Ike Stubblefield Trio

Ike Stubblefield Trio


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