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Mr. Okra has passed away [Feb. 16th, 2018|11:29 am]
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Since 2010, on some days of Jazzfest, you may have noticed the colorfully painted produce truck parked on the Fairgrounds infield, near the Jazz & Heritage stage.  Mr Okra was there to provide a small glimpse into an almost-bygone slice of New Orleans culture, but also provided a chance to purchase some fruit or even vegetables, a refreshing alternative to the other, often heavier offerings from the regular food booths.

And several times each fest day, just as he did while cruising the nearby neighborhoods, he'd get on the truck's loudspeaker and sing of his wares.

This is from an article from 2015 about his presence at the Jazzfest.

As New Orleans is in a renaissance of fresh food markets, Mr. Okra represents the last of a dying, but beloved, tradition in the city. His daughter says not only is their produce fresher than most, they also deliver directly to elderly people who don’t own a car or have any other way to get fresh food. “For them, we’re it,” she says. “They need us.”
At the festival, pineapples, bananas, mangos and even cucumbers sell quickly — Sergio will even cut them up for you. Tourists whose stomachs are not quite prepared for the opulence of New Orleans cuisine appreciate their efforts.

The produce on the Robinson truck is not just more reasonably priced than other food at the festival, “it’s good for you and it’s healthy,” says Jeannie Anderson of Philadelphia who snaps a few photos of Mr. Okra before picking some fruit. “I should do more New Orleans things, but it will kill me,” she says, laughing.

When he’s not in the driver’s seat, Robinson is usually at his home in the Ninth Ward watching cowboy movies, among other things.
But he lives for his truck. Next to him in the passenger seat is everything he needs for today: Hand sanitizer, a bottle of Gatorade, and a thick wad of $1 bills. As customers gather, he stops talking and grabs his CB radio to sell:

“I have oranges and bananas.”
“I have pineapple, I have strawberries.”
“I have the mango.”

A tribe of Mardi Gras Indians appear and drown out his speaker. He pauses until they parade by. He can wait. The fruit is always fresh.


Today, the New Orleans Advocate reports the sad news:

For decades, Arthur “Mr. Okra” Robinson provided one of the distinctive sounds of a city famous for its music, but he didn’t play the trumpet or the piano.

He was a roving produce vendor, traveling the neighborhood streets in a heavily-customized pickup truck and using a loudspeaker to sing the praises of his oranges and bananas, his avocados and, of course, his okra.

But now what seemed like a timeless sound in this city has come to an end.

Robinson died Thursday (Feb. 15). He was 75.


He will be missed both at the Fairgrounds and on the streets of the city.

Rest in Peace.
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LL COOL J added to the lineup [Feb. 6th, 2018|03:03 pm]

Just announced on the official Jazzfest Facebook feed:

"LL COOL J feat. DJ Z-Trip added to the Jazz Fest lineup on Friday, May 4".

Checking the current performers for that day, I don't see anyone at the top removed, so this looks like an addition and not a replacement.  Look for him to headline the Congo Square stage that day.
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Jazzfest Odds & Ends [Feb. 5th, 2018|09:09 pm]
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It's Mardi Gras season here in New Orleans, which means not much else happens between now and Ash Wednesday, but here is the latest Jazzfest news.

There are a couple of small changes to the announced lineups.   Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show have been moved from 1st Sunday to 2nd Thursday.  And the 1st Saturday set originally listed as Tribute to Fats Domino with special guest Jerry Lee Lewis and more is now just Tribute to Fats Domino with special guests! Here's hoping Jerry is well and still able to join the fun.

The Magnolia Bridge, which is the footbridge across Bayou St John behind Cabrini High School, will be undergoing repairs and will be closed for about a year, including during Jazzfest 2018.  This will have the biggest impact on anyone staying in the Parkview neighborhood.  Your alternate bridges are Dumaine St or Esplanade.
Here's podcast that interviews Matt Goldman, who is one of the leaders of the marketing department for Festival Productions.  Fest CEO Quint Davis gives lots of interviews, but it's relatively rare to hear from the other folks there.  Matt discusses the lineup, what he's looking forward to, and tells some pretty interesting stories of his early days working for the fest.  It's long at an hour and a quarter, but maybe a good listen while you're working out or stuck in traffic.  Listen at http://www.itsagoodlifebabe.com/glb/2018/1/30/ep88pt1

Finally, one Priceline Name Your own Price bidding hit to report.  4* DT zone, 4/28-5/08 @ $170 => Hyatt Regency.  That's decent for a stay that encompasses both Saturdays.  More at http://jazzfest.swagland.com/bidding.html.
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Hyatt 1st weekend [Jan. 24th, 2018|09:54 pm]
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I got a report tonight of a 4* hotel on Hotwire, Downtown/Superdome zone, Th 4/26 - We 5/02 at $106, that was the Hyatt Regency.  The deal seemed to be gone by the time I checked it, but these do sometimes re-appear.  So if you do see a cheap first weekend 4* in that zone over the next few days, it's likely the Hyatt.

On a related note, it looks like Hotwire has spli the downtown zone into two.  Downtown/Superdome stretches from the dome to about St Charles Ave.  Central Downtown is between St Charles and Tchoupitoulas.  More zones is always better, it makes it easier to figure out what hotel you may get, and gives more control if you're choosy about location.

Priceline and Hotwire info for Jazzfest at http://jazzfest.swagland.com/bidding.html

Now scroll down for lots of this week's Jazzfest news!
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Cube Hints: Stage Schedule tidbits [Jan. 24th, 2018|05:28 pm]
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Keith Spera interviews Jazzfest Producer Quint Davis in today's Advocate.

The whole thing is worth a read, but especially noteworthy is the amount of schedule details Quint revealed.  The full stage schedule should come out in late March, but until then, here are some highlights.  Below are quotes from the article, that I've rearranged by date.

1st Friday

On opening day at the Gentilly Stage, Sturgill Simpson will follow Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and locals Jon Cleary and Eric Lindell. That’s worthy of spending the day camped out at Gentilly.

1st Saturday

Jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd, who turns 80 in March, will share the stage for much of his Jazz Tent set with Lucinda Williams, the Americana singer-songwriter who was born in Lake Charles and spent her formative years in New Orleans.

Socially conscious rapper Common will be on Congo Square with up-and-coming contemporary R&B star Khalid and New Orleans bounce reality TV star Big Freedia.

1st Sunday

David Byrne was a big “get” this year; Davis had tried to book the former Talking Heads frontman for more than a decade.
Byrne will headline the Gentilly Stage on the first Sunday, preceded by New Orleans native and "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" bandleader Jon Batiste, who will front the late soul singer Sharon Jones' band, the Dap-Kings.

The electrifying Charlie Wilson will follow pioneering New Orleans funk/soul band Chocolate Milk on the Congo Square Stage.

2nd Friday
On the second Friday, Beck will top the Acura Stage, preceded by Jason Isbell, Tank & the Bangas, Darcy Malone & the Tangle, and Motel Radio.

That same day, the Gentilly Stage will feature the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, then Aaron Neville, then Sheryl Crow. (The Sheryl Crow/Beck scheduling conflict will be tough for some folks.)
2nd Saturday

The second Saturday’s closing acts are Aerosmith at Acura, Anita Baker at Congo Square, Delbert McClinton at the Blues Tent and Dianne Reeves in the Jazz Tent. Cage the Elephant tops Gentilly, preceded by the Revivalists, Better Than Ezra, Boyfriend, Givers and Stoop Kids.

2nd Sunday

Maze and Frankie Beverly, a latter-day Jazz Fest favorite, will cap off Congo Square on the fest's final day with Motown legend Smokey Robinson and the Rebirth Brass Band.
Acura’s finale features Anders Osborne, Galactic, Jack White and finally Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, who have closed out Acura every year since 2013 in the Neville Brothers’ old slot.

Read the full article:
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Cultural Exchange Pavilion: Celebrating New Orleans' Tricentennial [Jan. 24th, 2018|11:00 am]
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Instead of a featured nation, this year's pavilion will celebrate the City's Tricentennial.

From the website:

As 2018 marks New Orleans’ 300th anniversary, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Presented by Shell joins the City-wide and year-long celebration by dedicating its 2018 Cultural Exchange Pavilion to the City’s Tricentennial.

While New Orleans music and culture are the soul and heartbeat of the Festival already, the Cultural Exchange Pavilion will serve as a focal point of the Tricentennial Celebration at the Festival with a special program highlighting the multicultural fabric of the City. In addition to the New Orleans’ renowned Creole and African heritage, the Pavilion presentation will shed a light on lesser-known contributions by Germans, Irish, Italians, Vietnamese and Hispanics among others, through artist demonstrations, live music and dance showcases, authentic food, parades, photo exhibits and cultural displays.

Daily live performances on the Cultural Exchange Pavilion Stage will take the audience on a musical journey through New Orleans and around the world, and feature the best of New Orleans music along with Haitian vodou rhythms, hypnotic blues from Mali, traditional Irish music, punta rock from Honduras and much more. Offstage, Native American powwow dancers, Mardi Gras Indian parades and Vietnamese Lion Dancers will dazzle the eye, while providing another illustration of the cultural diversity that has and continues to make New Orleans “gumbo” so unique.

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Locals Thursday [Jan. 24th, 2018|10:30 am]
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New this year, Jazzfest is offering a discount to Louisiana residents for Thursday May 3 only.

From http://www.nojazzfest.com/tickets/:

Locals Thursday Discount (May 3)
Gate Price: $50
Purchases can be made at the gate on Thursday, May 3 only
Open to Louisiana residents with valid identification
Up to two admissions per resident
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Brass Pass Price Increase [Jan. 24th, 2018|09:30 am]

It looks like the cost of a Brass Pass for 2018 has now increased from $575 to $600.

That's a bit disappointing; in recent years, the pass price has followed the price of a ticket at the gate.  When the gate price increased, so did the brass pass, and when it didn't, neither did the brass pass.  And last year, in the days leading up to the increase, WWOZ was warning that the price change was imminent.  So with the gate price remaining at $80, the no-notice brass pass increase was a surprise.

All that said, if you plan to attend all seven days, it's still worth considering.  Seven tickets at the gate would cost $560.  Online via Ticketmaster, $528.  Paying cash at the box office, $490.  But the brass pass also gets you access to the WWOZ hospitality tent, re-entry privileges to the Fairgrounds, and a tax deduction (I think about $175 is deductible).
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2nd Sunday Lineup (corrected) [Jan. 24th, 2018|09:29 am]
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Due to a copy/paste error, I had the wrong acts listed for 2nd Sunday in yesterday's post.  Here's the correct lineup.  My apologies.

Jack White • Steve Miller Band • Smokey Robinson • Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
The Radiators @ 40 • Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly • Savion Glover • Buddy Guy
Rebirth Brass Band • Galactic • Anders Osborne • Ellis Marsalis • DJ Captain Charles
George Porter, Jr. & the Runnin' Pardners • Lakou Mizik of Haiti • The Gospel Soul of Irma Thomas
The Iguanas • Walter Wolfman Washington and The Roadmasters • Calexico
Terence Blanchard featuring the E-Collective • Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. And The Zydeco Twisters
Rising Dragon Lion Dance Team • New Orleans Suspects • The Zion Harmonizers
Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie • Glen David Andrews • Flow Tribe
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys • Hard Head Hunters Mardi Gras Indians
Young Pinstripe Brass Band • Mr. Sipp • Mia Borders • Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys
Bobby Lounge • Johnny Sansone
Dr. Michael White Tribute to Billie & Dee Dee Pierce featuring Cynthia Girtley • Kinfolk Brass Band
George French & the New Orleans Storyville Jazz Band • Prince of Wales SA & PC
Original New orleans Lady Buckjumpers • New Orleans Spiritualettes
Sasha Masakowski "Art Market" • Jonathon "Boogie" Long
Heritage Allstar Brass Band feat. Dr. Michael White and Gregg Stafford
Tommy Sancton's New Orleans Legacy Band • The Pfister Sisters • Leroy Jones & New Orleans' Finest
Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians • Buffalo Hunters Mardi Gras Indians
Wild Squatoulas Mardi Gras Indians • The War and Treaty • Ty Morris & H. O. W. • AsheSon
Robin Barnes and the Fiyabirds • Bill Kirchen • Quiana Lynell
Chief Howard with the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Rhythm Section • Joe Dyson • T'Monde
Don "Moose" Jamison Heritage School of Music
Square Dance NOLA with the Bayou Clogger String Band
Audrey Ferguson and The Voices of Distinction • Sierra Green & The Soul Machine
Lyle Henderson & Emmanu-EL • Native Nations Intertribal • Sons of Jazz Brass Band
The Mighty Travelers • José Fermín & Merengue4-FOUR • Young Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians
Apache Hunters Mardi Gras Indians • Joe Lastie's New Orleans Sound
Craig Adams & Higher Dimensions of Praise • Culu Children's Traditional African Dance Company
Da Knockaz Brass Band • Ole & Nu Style Fellas SA & PC • Original C.T.C Steppers SA & PC
Kai Knight's Silhouette Dance Ensemble • Curtis Pierre with The Samba Kids
Muggivan School of Irish Dance
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A different look at the Poster [Jan. 24th, 2018|09:00 am]

Buried in the publisher's description of this year's Jazz Fest poster was a note that artist Terrance Osborne "illuminates Fats’ continuing legacy by creating a matched “diptych” to his sold-out 2012 Jazz Fest portrait of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews."

Here are those two posters side by side (2018 on the right).  Pretty darn cool if you ask me.

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