Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Jazz Fest Day 7 Brings A Return Of Neil Young And Crazy Horse, A Tribute To Kenny Fatman Hunter And Much More

The Jazz & Heritage Fest in New Orleans started out its third day of weekend two with a surprise early opening of the gates. While the clouds provided some cover from the sun, the temperatures still reached into the high eighties. The festival-goers made their way to their chosen cube concerts and the shows began.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

We started our day early by seeing Maggie Koerner on the Gentilly Stage. The 25-year-old wore a simple baby pink silk dress while singing and playing acoustic guitar to her indie-folk-rock songs. She definitely did not disappoint with her powerhouse vocals. Maggie said that she always felt like Jazz Fest is like her wedding every year and this year she dressed the part.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Leo Nocentelli, the lead guitarist behind the funk band the Meters gave a wonderful show to the crowd on Saturday. Nocentelli largely stuck to his classic Meters material, starting off his set with “The World Is a Little Bit Under the Weather” and “Fire on the Bayou.” He even made it a point to play his original funk classics “Cissy Strut” and “Hey Pocky A-Way.”

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The Rumble ft. Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. took to the Congo Square Stage. For only being created three years ago, this band has already won a GRAMMY for their debut album from which they performed “Trouble.” The Chief wore an impressive blue and orange Mardi Gras Indian feathered outfit, stunning the crowd with his vocals and traditional Mardi Gras Indian songs. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Colombian guitarist and vocalist Lucio Feuillet led his band on the Gentilly Stage sharing his hometown Carnival music. The 10-piece band has a full horn section, keyboards, percussionists, and clarinets that melded together to create a wonderful blend of musicianship. A Colombian dancer accompanied them on stage in an elaborate Carnival costume. Feuillet spoke about being from Pasto in Colombia and the music reminded me of my own trip to Pasto for the Black and White Festival that takes place for Carnival season each year.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Over on the Fais Do-Do Stage, festival-goers joined in a memorial to Chris Stafford, the leader of progressive Cajun band Feufollet who died in a car accident on Thursday, delivered by Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys. The Cajun band played some emotional tribute songs by Riley and Feufollet member Kelli Jones. Riley, in a blue and white Hawaiian shirt, kept spirits up by showing his skills on the accordion as patrons danced along. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Jazz Fest Day 7 Brings A Return Of Neil Young And Crazy Horse
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

For an hour and fifteen minutes set, vocalist and keyboardist PJ Morton rocked out on the Congo Square Stage. Morton is a native of New Orleans and had success with Maroon 5 for many years but everyone loves when he returns to the city.  He had a high-energy start and an exciting performance including his R&B and soul hits like “Ready,” “Please Don’t Walk Away,” “Say So,” and “Bring It On Home To Me.” 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

In the Blue’s Tent, eclectic-folk musician Rhiannon Giddens drew a huge crowd for her almost hour-and-a-half set. She shared the stage with Acadiana musician Dirk Powell, as he played violin, guitar, banjo, accordion and keyboard during the set. The pair sang a Cajun French duet with Giddens on violin. Giddens also spoke about the roots of the banjo in black history and why it is such an important instrument with deep roots.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Giddens brought the tent to a standstill as she explained the story behind “Another Wasted Life.” The song refers to Kalief Browder, a young Black man who died by suicide after being held at New York’s Rikers Island for years without trial in solitary confinement, all because he allegedly stole a backpack. The performance featured a rapper on vocals with Gidden, bringing the crowd onto their feet for a round of applause. 

Jazz Fest Day 7 Brings A Return Of Neil Young And Crazy Horse
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Giddens has been around the festival circuit a long time starting with her band, Carolina Chocolate Drops, that we always loved to see. Giddens recently came to be a mainstream household name as she had a starring role in “Texas Hold Em” playing the banjo on Beyonce’s new number one single.

The lively Kinfolk Brass Band performed at the Jazz & Heritage Stage with an animated and energetic set. The band’s sound is a mixture of Mardi Gras Indian chants, funk, jazz, and traditional brass band sounds. The set was in honor of the late Kenny “Fatman” Hunter, a brass band drummer who was tragically killed in February. The stage was full of life for Fatman, with Kinfolk members wearing his name on their hats, a Mardi Gras Indian dancing in the background, and a young brass player blowing away on his trumpet. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Jazz Fest Day 7 Brings A Return Of Neil Young And Crazy Horse
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Jazz Fest Day 7 Brings A Return Of Neil Young And Crazy Horse
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

We went to check out another young artist, 24-year-old Samara Joy in the Jazz Tent. The Bronx native dazzled the crowd with her soulful vocals in a classy dark pink dress. It was clear from her stage presence and amazing voice how she has already won herself a GRAMMY. It’s always fantastic to see the future of jazz is strong with the next generation being showcased at the festival.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The marimba fusion group Bejuco took to the Jazz & Heritage Stage with their unique sound of Afrobeat and traditional Colombian music. Four of the band’s members stood at the front of the stage, all wearing a piece of matching Colombian patterned clothing. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

One of the day’s headliners, Queen Latifah proved she’s still the Queen of hip-hop on the Congo Square Stage. In an all green denim jacket and pants, the Queen focused more on singing then rapping on Saturday. She sang songs like “Just Another Day,” “Come into My House,” and her classic “Wrath of My Madness.”

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

For a duet of “Say So,” Latifah brought out PJ Morton. The set soon turned into a showcase of amazing female rappers when Monie Love, MC Lyte and Yo-Yo joined Latifah on stage. After performing some songs together and solos, the four women closed out the set with Latifah’s anti-domestic abuse and pro-Black women anthem “U.N.I.T.Y.”

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

At the main Festival Stage, Neil Young & Crazy Horse started their set with some slow grooves but ended up delivering a memorable rock concert for the masses. As they started, the energy took some time to build up and the band got back into their groove with Young saying “I’ve been in a musical desert. I haven’t played in a while, and I miss it.” On songs like “Powderfinger” and lengthy versions of “Love and Only Love” and “Down by the River,” The Crazy Horse finally came out. 

Jazz Fest Day 7 Brings A Return Of Neil Young And Crazy Horse
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Young surprised the audience with a solo of the rarely played “Ohio,” assumed to be in honor of the anniversary of the Kent State massacre even though Young did not comment. The group then played “F*ckin’ Up” and a spirited “Hey Hey, My My.” Unfortunately, the band did not perform an encore even though they had ten minutes remaining in their allotted time slot. 

Jazz Fest Day 7 Brings A Return Of Neil Young And Crazy Horse
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

With a day full of musical legends, we can’t wait to see what else is to come on the last day of Jazz Fest 2024. Stay tuned for a look into Day 8 of Jazz Fest on Sunday, May 5. 

Words by Emily Cigan @emily.cigan and Amy Harris @thetraveladdictig

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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