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Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill, 28, dies while on tour in Japan

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Travis 'Trumpet Black' Hill performs with The New Birth Brass Band on the Congo Square Stage on the first day of Jazz Fest in New Orleans, La. Friday, April 24, 2015.

. On Saturday, trumpeter Travis Hill posted photos on his Facebook page showing himself onstage in Tokyo. “I love Japan,” he wrote. “It’s my home outside of New Orleans.” But late Sunday night, friends heard that Hill had gone to a Japanese hospital with trouble swallowing and a fever, stemming from an abscess in a… Continue reading →

Helen Gillet’s one-woman show wows Lagniappe Stage at Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest’s Lagniappe Stage can feel like a musical time-out, where bands stand in the corner of the Fair Grounds while all the other bands play outside. For Helen Gillet, it was a safe space where she could be as delicate, hushed, or rowdy as she wanted. Gillet plays the cello, and she accompanied herself by… Continue reading →

Lenny Kravitz lays a good rockin’ on Jazz Fest Sunday

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--Lenny Kravitz performs on the Acura Stage on the final day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell in New Orleans, La. Sunday, May 3, 2015.

Jazz Fest does many things; rarely is one of them rock. For much of the festival’s 35 years, rock was neither a jazz nor heritage music and didn’t often make the cut. Lenny Kravitz has been one of the few exceptions, and Sunday afternoon on the Acura Stage he was the prototypical rock star--charismatic, in charge,… Continue reading →

John Boutté counters pop stars’, classic rockers’ stadium-like shows by offering up a mostly intimate Jazz Tent set

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- John Boutte sings with his band in the WWOZ Jazz Tent on the final day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell in New Orleans, La. Sunday, May 3, 2015.

John Boutté, a regular in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent, served as counterprogramming to the pop stars and classic rockers who ruled this year’s big stages. Performing Sunday afternoon, Boutté and the jazz musicians he performed with were usually anything but loud. Their hour-long set had to be among the more… Continue reading →

New Orleans area book events

Sunday, May 3, at the Jazz Festival “NEW ORLEANS — BOOM AND BLACKOUT”: 1 p.m. Brian Boyles signs his book about the events leading up to the infamous Super Bowl blackout at the Superdome. “FIFOLET”: 2 p.m. Johnette Downing signs her tale about the Cajun legend. “And a bottle of… Continue reading →

British pop star Ed Sheeran a big Jazz Fest attraction

Singer, songwriter and rapper Ed Sheeran drew a massive Saturday crowd to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s Gentilly Stage. Young women and girls filled much of the red-haired, 24-year-old British performer’s audience. Whenever Sheeran elevated himself above stage level by standing on stage monitors, they screamed. And because they know the words to Sheeran’s songs… Continue reading →

Piano legends of rock 'n' roll headline Saturday's Jazz Fest; biggest crowd to date this year for jam-packed Elton John show

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Sir Elton John performs to a packed crowd on the Acura Stage on the second Saturday of Jazz Fest in New Orleans, La. May 2, 2015.

Underneath the sculpture of Professor Longhair that hangs atop the Acura Stage was, very appropriately, a grand piano. And in the true spirit of the legendary New Orleans piano innovator, it was played all day long. Saturday at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell was a piano bonanza, starting with Texas boogie-woogie piano star Marcia… Continue reading →

Dr. Michael White keeping the jazz flame burning

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band plays in Economy Hall during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Saturday, May 2, 2015, at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course.

Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band are among New Orleans’ keepers of the traditional jazz flame. At the Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent Saturday afternoon, White led his band through a late afternoon set of music that dates to the jazz pioneer days of Louis Armstrong, Bunk Johnson, Johnny Dodds and George Lewis.… Continue reading →

Wanda Rouzan proves she’s New Orleans’ most endearing diva

The bill was titled “New Orleans Classic Divas” but the set belonged to just one of them: Wanda Rouzan. At the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell Saturday, Rouzan performed solo for the majority of the hour-long set in the Blues Tent, backed by a big band featuring three horn players who helped beef up her… Continue reading →

TV5Monde programs capture La. culture

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE --Tanya Evanson dances to the music of her band Neyaz on the Scene TV5MONDE Lafayette stage during Festival International de Louisiane last weekend.

Louisiana’s French culture is the theme of the weekend on TV5Monde. The centerpiece for the two days of programming on the U.S.’s only 24/7 French language entertainment channel will be last week’s Festival International de Louisiane. “We have a lineup of documentaries, lifestyle shows, and of course, this special program called ‘Rendez-Vous d’Amérique,’ ” TV5Monde COO… Continue reading →

Terence Blanchard to debut new sound, band at Jazz Fest

Photo by Henry Adebonojo -- Terence Blanchard: Music for the trumpet player is inherently visual.

With “Breathless” (Blue Note), Terence Blanchard is taking firm steps into R&B-based instrumental music that is a departure from the jazz and other improvisational music he is best known for. “This is just the beginning,” he said of his new group, the E-Collective, which he debuts on the new album and at his Saturday set at… Continue reading →

Fun, spirited day wraps up with No Doubt headlining Acura Stage at Jazz Fest

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH--  Lead singer Gwen Stefani with No Doubt performs at the Acura Stage during the fifth day of the 2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La. on Friday, May 1, 2015.

Is there any band on this year’s Jazz Fest lineup that feels more out of place than No Doubt? Yet there the band was Friday headlining the Acura Stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell, and it finally made sense. The California pop-ska band has been in relative hibernation this last decade as lead… Continue reading →

Dr. John draws big crowd at the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage

. Dr. John’s Friday afternoon interview at the New Orleans and Jazz Heritage Festival’s Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage drew one of the largest audiences in the stage’s history. “It’s in the pantheon of big crowds,” Music Heritage Stage producer Ben Sandmel said. Bruce Raeburn, curator of Tulane University’s Hogan Jazz Archive,… Continue reading →

Tradition lives in the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH--  Gerald French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band performs at the Economy Hall Tent during the fifth day of the 2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La. on Friday, May 1, 2015.

The official New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival program this year cites Gerald French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band as “one of the oldest jazz bands to still play in New Orleans.” French, leader of the band since 2011, the year his ailing uncle, Bob French, turned it over to his nephew, has a little different… Continue reading →

Marcia Ball, Dennis McNally Trace the Black and White Roots of Rock 'n' Roll at Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest is often an escape from the world, so events in Baltimore might as well be overseas for another few days for many festgoers. Race became an overt part of the festival anyway when WWNO's Gwen Thompkins interviewed Marcia Ball and writer and Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally in the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage Friday.… Continue reading →

Even at Jazz Fest, White Cloud Hunters retain air of mystery

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Fans clap and play tambourine along with the White Cloud Hunters at the Jazz & Heritage Stage on day 5 of Jazz Fest at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Friday, May 1, 2015.

Last weekend, five Mardi Gras Indian gangs led a parade in honor of the late Bo Dollis, Big Chief of The Wild Magnolias. Dollis did as much as anyone to introduce Mardi Gras Indian culture to the world outside the gangs’ neighborhoods. He recorded the first single, appeared on “Saturday Night Live” with Big Chief Monk… Continue reading →

Amanda Shires' show finishes strong at Jazz Fest

When the stage manager on Jazz Fest's Fais-Do-Do Stage signaled Americana artist Amanda Shires that she had 20 minutes left, her set started to wander. Up to that point, she had been charming, seeming naïve figure whose version of an expletive was "Holy fire!" Wearing a plunging, sleeveless black gown while drinking Fanta Orange, Shires was a homespun contradiction--natural, but with… Continue reading →

Let us Spray: Artist Brandan Odums of ‘Exhibit Be’ paints murals at Jazz Fest

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- A stage backdrop painted by Brandan Odums in collaboration with NOCCA Students in the NOCCA Tent during day 3 of Jazz Fest at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

The art installation ExhibitBE hijacked much of the attention that Prospect.3 hoped for during New Orleans’ biennial art festival last fall. ExhibitBE transformed a dilapidated housing project on the West Bank into an exhibit space, with large-scale murals that addressed the themes of housing and home, spray-painted five stories high. ExhibitBE was… Continue reading →

Bob Dylan creates nocturnal mood at Saenger Theatre

AP File photo --  Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles in this 2012 file photo. The singer mostly sang from his recent catalog at his show at the Saenger Wednesday night.

“Things are breaking up out there/high water everywhere,” Bob Dylan sang Wednesday night at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans. Floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina shuttered the historic theater 10 years ago, and Dylan’s return to the city after nearly four years marked not just the continuing rebirth of this national landmark but his own reinvention as a vocalist… Continue reading →