Today festival producer and director Quint Davis presided over the unveiling of the schedule and the posters. Here's a first look.
"The look-forward-to-it-ness is more than I can ever remember," Quint Davis announced today at the press conference to unveil the poster and schedule for the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band opened and closed the event in the paddock of the Fair Grounds, where media, fans, and members of the Festival Productions and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation staffs came to find out who would play where when. This year's toughest choice comes Saturday, May 4, when Fleetwood Mac, Phoenix, Frank Ocean and Los Lobos all close their respective stages.
"Today is when the festival is defined," said Davis, Jazz Fest's producer and director. He pointed to the balance between local and international talent, particularly on the Acura, Gentilly and Congo Square stages. "For every national act, there is a New Orleans match," he said. On Friday, April 26, Dr. John and The Nite Trippers will precede John Mayer on the Acura Stage, while Band of Horses and Gary Clark Jr. top a bill on the Gentilly Stage that also includes Bonerama, The Soul Rebels, Jamal Batiste and Flow Tribe. On Sunday, May 5, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will follow The Black Keys and move to the slot that The Neville Brothers have occupied for years, while Aaron Neville will follow Hall and Oates and finish the festival on the Gentilly Stage.
One of the biggest changes this year will be the increased Native American presence. The open space between the flagpole and the Food 2 food booths will become an expanded Native American village and will include a stage for performances by Native American artists including Jazz Fest mainstay Martha Redbone, A Tribe Called Red, and Bill Miller.
This year's Jazz Fest will also be broadcast in part on AXS-TV and streamed via TuneIn. AXS will include live footage in its nightly programming, and will have continuous live festival coverage from Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5.
Friday, April 26
- What will Dr. John's new band sound like? (Acura Stage, 3:50 p.m.)
- Guitar fans: The Blues Tent will be hot with Bryan Lee, John Mooney, Sonny Landreth and the sacred steel of The Campbell Brothers rolling back to back to back to back.
- It seems like every year we lose somebody from the New Orleans R&B Revue (Acura Stage, 12:40 p.m.), which this year features The Dixie Cups, Jean Knight, Wanda Rouzan and the Brian Quezergue Band. See it while you can.
- I'm looking forward to The Breton Sound (Lagniappe Stage, 11:40 p.m.), Mark McGrain and Plunge (Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent, 12:15 p.m.), Jamal Batiste presents JAM-ALL (Gentilly Stage, 12:20 p.m.), and The Mashup featuring Terence Higgins, Ike Stubblefield, Grant Green and guest Ron Holloway (Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent).
Saturday, April 27
- John Michael Rouchell has put down MyNameIsJohnMichael and will perform under his own name with a new group at 12:15 p.m. on the Acura Stage.
- A Tribe Called Red is DJ-centric Native American music, and very cool. (Gentilly Stage, 12:50 p.m.).
- Long-time J&M Studios sax man Herbert Hardesty will lead a band in the Blues Tent at 12:20 p.m.
- I'm looking forward to Alex McMurray (Gentilly, 11:25 a.m.), Alexis and the Samurai (Lagniappe, 12:55 p.m.), Lost Bayou Ramblers (Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, 2:35 p.m.), and the first real schedule conflict for me, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires (Blues Tent, 5:40 p.m.) and Andrew Bird (Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, 5:40 p.m.). And what's up with asking Alex McMurray to play before noon?
Sunday, April 28
- Hurray for the Riff Raff are great right now, and Alynda Lee Segarra's songwriting and singing voices are only getting stronger. (Acura, 11:15 a.m.).
- The reconfigured Nevilles (minus Aaron) will play today at 3:10 on the Acura Stage.
- I'm looking forward to Tuba Skinny (Lagniappe, 12:50 p.m.), Tom Morgan's interview with John McCusker and Lucien Barbarin on Kid Ory (Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, 1:15 p.m.), and Calexico (Gentilly, 3:25 p.m.).
Thursday, May 2
- The Mercy Brothers is The Bluerunners' Mark Meaux's rousing spiritual string band, and I heard great things from those who saw them at SXSW (Gentilly Stage, 11:15 a.m.).
- During the press conference, Davis drew attention to the pairing of Theresa Andersson and Patti Smith back to back on the Gentilly Stage. I look forward to seeing both, but is there an artistic connection he was highlighting, or are they back to back because they're women?
- I'm looking forward to Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns (Gentilly, 1:25 p.m.), Aurora Nealand and The Royal Roses (Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent, 1:45 p.m.), and Pokey LaFarge (Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, 4:15 p.m.).
Friday, May 3
- Country day at Jazz Fest, with the Gentilly Stage dominated by country, Jerry Douglas being interviewed by Tom Piazza (Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, 1 p.m.), and Laura Bell Bundy on Acura at 2:05 p.m.
- After Nicholas Payton has been vocal in his advocacy of having his music and jazz referred to as Black American Music, it will be interesting to see if he uses his time in the Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent at 4:10 p.m. to continue the discussion.
- Name of the festival: Brushy One-String (Blues Tent, 2:55 p.m.).
- I'm looking forward to Royal Teeth (Acura, 11:15 a.m.), Maggie Koerner (Lagniappe, 11:40 a.m.), Coco Robicheaux Tribute (Blues Tent, 1:35 p.m.) and Malē Debalē of Bahia Brazil (Congo Square Stage, 2:20 p.m.).
Saturday, May 4
- This is likely to be the most crowded day of Jazz Fest with Fleetwood Mac and Phoenix bringing different and substantial audiences.
- The question: Frank Ocean's music strikes me as distinctly nocturnal. How will the atmosphere he conjures on Channel Orange survive the punishing late afternoon sun on the Congo Square Stage?
- I'm looking forward to Sharde Thomas and the Fife and Drum Band (Blues Tent, 11:20 a.m.), The NO Hip-Hop Experience (Congo Square Stage, 12:45 p.m.), Luke Winslow-King (Lagniappe, 1:10 p.m.), Yvette Landry (Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, 1:30 p.m.), Fleur Debris Superband (Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent, 2:05 p.m.), and Kevin Gordon (Lagniappe, 5:15 p.m.).
Sunday, May 5
- More classic New Orleans R&B with Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Frankie Ford, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and Robert Parker (Gentilly, 12:30 p.m.).
- The changing of the guard is official. Up until two years ago, The Neville Brothers closed Jazz Fest on the Acura Stage and The Radiators closed the Gentilly Stage. This year, Aaron's on his own on Gentilly and Trombone Shorty - who's been preparing for this moment since his appearance following the release of Backatown - is one of the two New Orleanians to headline Acura and Gentilly.
- I'm on the bill this day. I'll interview songwriter Jim McCormick at 12:30 p.m. at the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage. Last year, Jim wrote back to back country hits for Brantley Gilbert and Jason Aldean. He and I will talk about songwriting on Nashville's Music Row among other things.
- Bobby Lounge has added gospel to his eccentric repertoire, and this year he'll return to the Lagniappe Stage at 4:15 p.m. to perform with The Reclinders and Sister RuthAnn Kerr.
- I'm looking forward to Tucka and the Groove City Express (Congo Square Stage, 1:40 p.m.), Del McCoury and Ben Jaffe interviewed by Jason Berry (Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, 3:30 p.m.), The Black Keys (Acura, 3:35 p.m.), Daryl Hall and John Oates (Gentilly, 4 p.m.), and TBC Brass Band (Jazz & Heritage Stage, 4:10 p.m.).