Urban headlines 1st day of Jazz Festival
Friday’s opening day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will highlight a worldwide spectrum of musical influences, — from the alternative Chicago-based rock band Wilco to Irish singer-guitarist Hozier and the Jamaican and reggae stylings of singer Jimmy Cliff.
Headlining the day’s biggest stage is country music star Keith Urban, who festival producer Quint Davis describes as one of the world’s “monster rock-bluescountry guitar players.”
Davis said when the New Zealand-born Urban was told the Tedeschi Trucks Band was playing before his scheduled Friday evening performance, his reply was: “They’re not opening for me, I’m closing for them.”
The Tedeschi Trucks Band is a Florida-based bluesy rock group founded by husband and wife musicians Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. This will be the group’s Jazz Fest debut.
Urban is a returning headliner, having last played Jazz Fest the year after Hurricane Katrina.
“He’s one of the greatest guitarists,” Davis said. “Placing him on opening day was symbolic. He helps set the tone for the festival.”
Under a grey sky, music fans jockeyed for spots in front of their favorite stages when the gates opened at 11 a.m., laying out blankets, putting up umbrellas and erecting tall flags to mark their spots.
More than 50 acts will perform throughout opening day on about a dozen stages in such genres as jazz, blues, gospel, Cajun, zydeco and rock. Among the day’s local acts is the Honey Island Swamp Band, Brass- A- Holics, Wayne Toups, Lil Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers, the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra and a host of New Orleans brass bands.
The festival continues through Sunday, and April 30, May 1, 2 and 3.
Neke Nixon, Queen of the Black Mohawk Mardi Gras Indians, parades with Sage Mavens, 6, at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana on Friday, April 24.
(Above) Lorenza Lawless, a member of the Black Mohawk Mardi Gras Indians, parades with the group at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans on Friday. (Right) Cate Beckett of New Orleans dances to Gino Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans on Friday.