The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival celebrated its 40th anniversary with a soirée that emphasized local flavor and paid homage to those who performed at the inaugural event. Jazz Fest takes place on successive weekends each spring, and GP was on the scene for the latter this year. Veterans of the very first Fest who performed on the Fair Grounds included local blues treasure Little Freddie King and Meters funk master Leo Nocentelli. Coincidentally, both played Epiphone versions of B.B. King’s Lucille signature model. Tab Benoit and Anders Osborne raised Cain—and environmental awareness—on the Gentilly Stage with Voice of the Wetlands Allstars. Louisiana native Buddy Guy capped the final day with an electrifying set before an overflow audience in the Blues Tent while a flash downpour drenched the po’ Festgoers who couldn’t find cover.
Tab Benoit looked and sounded cool with his vintage Tele as he led the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars. Anders Osborne ripped bottleneck licks while George Porter Jr. dug out the low end on his trademark Precision Bass.
Leo Nocentelli got his Hendrix on with the Meter Men, a power trio version of the Meters sans keyboardist/ founder Art Neville.
Lil’ Ed’s smile was as shiny as the slide in his left hand, and the fingerpick on his right.
Buddy Guy’s energy was boundless, and his set served as a righteous closing ceremony.
Neil Young rendered what surely must have been the most ferocious sound in the history of Jazz Fest from an array of amps that included a monstrous Magnatone.
The only thing groovier than Renard Poché’s playing at the Bayou Rendezvous were his pants.
Little Freddie King’s idiosyncratic rhythms were as raunchy as the stories he told in his tunes.