Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First Weekend at the Fest

It's Jazz Fest time again! Fresh off a plane and still recovering from a bout of jet lag I spent the entire first weekend at the Fair Grounds helping my friend Ginger Kelly in her booth in Contemporary Crafts. Since we weren't totally slammed the entire time I was able to walk around a bit every so often and take some photos and even catch a minute or two of a variety of different performances.

We were situated between the Blues and Gospel tents so I had the opportunity to hear Kipori Woods while we were working as well as Little Freddie King early in the day on Friday but the rain put an end to my plans to see Leroy Jones and Maurice Brown later in the afternoon.

My friend Linda Lesperance was also out there in Contemporary. She had called a couple months back and asked me to create a couple poses for two paintings she was working on. One was a woman holding a basket and the other was a woman walking away and swinging her hips. I didn't see the paintings until Friday at the fest because I was out of the country when they were completed.

Because of their subject matter, color palate and overall compostion the two paitings turned out very differently and while they were both terrific, my favorite by far was the one of the sassy woman walking away. The facial expression of the other woman sitting on the bench is priceless! One was done in an outdoor urban setting and one in an outdoor rural setting. The urban one borrowed its theme from a popular blues song. I am happy to say both paitings now have new homes.

We were fortunate on Saturday to have the weather forecast change and see the rain clear up early on. It was muddy and windy but at least the music was able to continue. I caught a little bit of Bleu Orleans and Terence Blanchard as well as Dr. Michael White. I happened to be passing through Economy Hall in between sets and said hi to Roger Lewis before he performed with the Treme Brass Band.

On Sunday I was able to pass through the Jazz tent briefly for Jeremy Davenport and then later for Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. I caught a glimpse of the Blind Boys of Alabama and passed through Economy for Lionel Ferbos and even managed to see a little of the "Wonderful World of Louis Armstong" set with Victor Goines, Wycliffe Gordon, and James Andrews.

There is so much music going on between the ten stages that there is just no way to get to even half of it. Even if I had been able to spend more time listening I would have had to spend twenty minutes at this stage and fifteen at that one and ten at another.

After visiting my favorite regular food stops (Vietnamese Bun, fried eggplant, shrimp flautas from Taqueria and spinach and plantains from Benachin) by Sunday I was looking for something new. I discovered a spinach bisque with seafood over near the Acura stage that was absolutely yummy!

Of course there is also the social aspect of Jazz Fest for all of us locals who attend year after year. Even though we live right here in town there are a number of people we only see annually at the Fair Grounds.

Coming soon... highlights from second weekend.