The festival starts Friday. Where should you be?

Photo of Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell starts Friday, so it's time to start making plans and contemplating the hard decisions. For me, the single hardest choice in the first weekend comes Saturday in the noon hour when John Michael Rouchell debuts his new band on the Acura Stage while Herbert Hardesty - the saxophone great who played on so many of Fats Domino's classics - performs in the Blues Tent, while Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole plays their smart, marvelously crafted music that explores Creole music from South Louisiana to Africa on the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage. Toward the end of those sets, Native Canadian DJ trio A Tribe Called Red will be on the Gentilly Stage while The Voice alumnus Alexis Marceaux's charming indie band Alexis & the Samurai are on the Lagniappe Stage. 

Musically, one of the questions of the weekend is what Dr. John's new band, the Nite Trippers, will sound like (Friday, 3:50 p.m., Acura Stage). The "Did you see ...?" set that people will be talking about after the festival will likely be the James Brown-influenced soul man Charles Bradley (Saturday, 5:40 p.m., Blues Tent).

Here's where we think we'll be - or hope to be - this weekend at Jazz Fest. Our lists aren't comprehensive, but they're artists we want to put on your radar, either because we want to make sure you know about them, or because we're looking forward to them. We'll be back with the second weekend's picks next week.

Friday, April 26
Alex
The Breton Sound - Lagniappe Stage, 11:40 a.m.
Mark McGrain & Plunge - Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent, 12:15 p.m.
Jamal Batiste presents JAM-ALL - Congo Square Stage, 12:20 p.m.
The Soul Rebels - Gentilly Stage, 1:25 p.m.
Tommy Sancton & the New Orleans Legacy Band - Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent, 1:45 p.m.
Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band - Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, 2:40 p.m.
Los Po-Boy-Citos - Jazz & Heritage Stage, 2:55 p.m.
Dr. John and the Nite Trippers - Acura Stage, 3:50 p.m.
Campbell Brothers - Blues Tent, 5:45 p.m.

Cherie
Flow Tribe - Gentilly Stage, 11:10 a.m.
The Breton Sound - Lagniappe Stage, 11:40 a.m.
Young Pinstripe Brass Band - Jazz & Heritage Stage, 12:20 p.m.
Wayne Toups & ZyDeCajun - Acura Stage, 2:20 p.m.
Dr. John and The Nite Trippers - Acura Stage, 3:50 p.m.
Gary Clark Jr. - Gentilly Stage, 4 p.m.
John Mayer - Acura Stage, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 27
Alex
Classie Ballou & the Family Band - Blues Tent, 11:15 a.m.
Alex McMurray - Gentilly Stage, 11:25 a.m.
John Michael Rouchell - Acura Stage, 12:15 p.m.
Herbert Hardesty & the Dukes - Blues Tent, 12:20 p.m.
A Tribe Called Red - Gentilly Stage, 12:50 p.m.
Alexis & the Samurai - Lagniappe Stage, 12:55 p.m.
Lil' Buck Sinegal's Blues Band - Blues Tent, 1:30 p.m.
Lost Bayou Ramblers - Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, 2:25 p.m.
Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra - Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent, 4:05 p.m.
Andrew Bird - Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, 5:40 p.m.
Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaires - Blues Tent, 5:40 p.m.

Cherie
Loyola University Jazz Band - Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent, 11:15 a.m.
Alexis & the Samurai - Lagniappe Stage, 12:55 p.m.
Bonerama - Gentilly Stage, 2:05 p.m.
Lost Bayou Ramblers - Sheraton New Orleans Fais-Do-Do Stage, 2:35 p.m.
Mississippi Rail Co. - Lagniappe Stage, 3:55 p.m.
The Kid Carsons - Lagniappe Stage, 5:25 p.m.
Andrew Bird - Sheraton New Orleans Fais-Do-Do Stage, 5:40 p.m.
Billy Joel - Acura Stage, 5:15 p.m.

Sunday, April 28
Alex
Hurray for the Riff Raff - Acura Stage, 11:15 a.m.
Tuba Skinny - Lagniappe Stage, 12:50 p.m.
Martha Redbone Roots Project - Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, 1:30 p.m.
Don Vappie & the Creole Serenaders - Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent, 2:55 p.m.
Calexico - Gentilly Stage, 3:25 p.m.
A Tribe Called Red interview - Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, 4:15 p.m.
Andrew Duhon - Lagniappe Stage, 5:25 p.m.

Cherie
Hurray for the Riff Raff - Acura Stage, 11:15 a.m.
Natalie Mae & Her Unturned Tricks - Lagniappe Stage, 11:30 a.m.
Better Than Ezra - Acura Stage, 1:40 p.m.
Big Sam’s Funky Nation - Congo Square Stage, 1:50 p.m.
The Nevilles - Acura Stage, 3:10 p.m.
Kristin Diable & the City - Lagniappe Stage, 3:55 p.m.
B.B. King - Blues Tent, 6 p.m.

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