Jazz Fest: Shorty Honors the Nevilles

Trombone Shorty’s fest-closing set deserves to be the ritual that the Neville Brothers’ set used to be. The shows have been impressive, funky, and a lot of fun as he worked to justify occupying the slot, and each one has shown meaningful growth. He concluded this year’s Jazz Fest by using his songs as starting points for more expansive musical experiences.

Jazz Fest: Terence Blanchard's "Breathless" Started at Home

Today, Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective play the Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent at 5:50 p.m. at Jazz Fest. When the group's album, Breathless, came out almost a year ago, Blanchard and I talked about the album's roots in the moment, but also events that affected his family specifically. Here's an encore presentation of that story.

Last Night: PJ Morton Could Use Some Identity

Friday night, PJ Morton started his summer tour at The Howlin’ Wolf, and the show made clear why he works with Maroon 5 and Terence Blanchard, who was in the back of the room. His set was musically very satisfying. He’s a strong, appealing R&B singer, and his songs take interesting melodic routes that never seemed forced or arbitrary. His songs are musically sophisticated without being showily so.

Dr. John's Spirit is Lacking

Dr. John’s Locked Down reasserted the potency of the Dr. John persona, a hipster freak shaman whose music is sly and subversively funky in any physical, social or spiritual realm. The album presented a vocally animated and engaged Dr. John, snaking around cross-cultural grooves, and some of the live performances he gave since then suggested that this return to his roots produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach might mark a new direction.

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