Jazz Fest: David Byrne, Jon Batiste End the First Weekend on a High Note

[Updated] This first weekend of Jazz Fest will be remembered—to the degree that it will be remembered at all—for its extreme pleasantness. Whether because Festival Productions economized this year because they have their eye on their 50th anniversary in 2019 or because the right big ticket talent simply wasn’t available this year, the headliners were respectable but not spectacular draws. Sunday was the busiest day of the weekend with David Byrne and Jimmy Buffett topping the bill, but the crowds remained manageable throughout. 

Aerosmith, David Byrne, Jack White Top the Jazz Fest Lineup

When the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell returns April 27 to the Fair Grounds, it will be with Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffett and his Acoustic Airmen, Jack White, Beck, Lionel Richie, David Byrne, Anita Baker, Bonnie Raitt, Khalid, Sturgill Simpson, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Common, and Cage the Elephant atop the lineup. Some of those aren’t news.

Jon Batiste, Stay Human Keep it Loose at Jazz Fest

After a soft Friday at Jazz Fest that included Trey Anastasio jamming (not me), Nas not giving The Soul Rebels their due (a show that has sat worse with me as time passes) and Harry Connick Jr. reminding people that he’s an entertainer (who outside of a casino values that? Who wants their musicians to be jacks of all trades?), Saturday made me happy and confirmed that I wasn’t simply grumpy.

Christmas Vacation with Andra Day, Jon Batiste, and Kacey Musgraves

Historically, Christmas records served as a vacation from the artist’s career. Singers stopped building their images and presented themselves as people like you who love Christmas too. Married singers who portrayed themselves as ready for love suddenly sang the joys of domesticity, complete with kids. Rock ’n’ roll complicated that Christmas vacation because pop vocalists in the 1940s and '50s were hitmakers who reached a broad demographic.

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