Jazz Fest is Re-Reeling in the Years

This year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell is playing to its base. The festival generally caters first to baby boomers, though in recent years it stretched the “jazz and heritage” concept over Phoenix, The Strokes, Maroon 5, Foo Fighters, and Ed Sheeran as well.This year, Jazz Fest only veers into the pop mainstream for Nick Jonas (really?) and a few Congo Square acts (J. Cole, Jazmine Sullivan, and Flo Rida), and spends a lot of time not just reliving but re-reliving the ’60s and ‘70s.

You Don't Know Janelle Monae

Janelle Monáe is noticeably still. I’m shown into a hotel room to interview her and she is poised in a chair, at rest but composed. She’s in her trademark black and white—black hat on the back of her head behind her pompadour, black leather motorcycle jacket, black pants with white stripes down the side, and black and white heels. In that outfit, the red broken heart on her white T-shirt and pistachio green nail polish on her toes might as well be searchlights. 

Nile Rodgers and Prince Make Plans for Essence

[Updated] In his book Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny, Nile Rodgers tells the story of his ascent from guitarist in the house band at the Apollo to Chic--the biggest self-contained band of the disco era--to a successful career as a producer in the '80s, when he recorded David Bowie's Let's Dance

Prince, Womack, and the Essence of Essence

[Updated] I was sad to learn that soul legend Bobby Womack passed away Friday. I interviewed him for almost an hour before he played Jazz Fest this year. That story is online here, and in it he denies that he was living with Alzheimer's Disease, and contended that a reporter who didn't get a joke started that rumor.

This Week's Soundtrack

1. "Daylight" - Bobby Womack

Life During Bowl Time

The Super Bowl is over, the lights are back on in the Dome, and know we're left with the second week of Carnival starting tomorrow. Here are a few random post-Bowl thoughts:

- It was clear this weekend that hip-hop and urban R&B are the music America parties to. Over the course of the weekend, Lil Wayne, Nelly, Ludacris, Big Boi, Flo Rida and Pitbull performed (that I'm aware of). Add to that Justin Timberlake, Janelle Monae, Santigold, The Roots, Diplo and Solange Knowles (doing a DJ set), and the evidence is hard to argue with.

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