Jazzfest Day 2
May 01, 2008
BY JASON SONGE
I walked in to find Soul Project playing. Not impressed. I walked over to the Fais Do Do Stage, and there was a band called The Lafayette Rhythm Kings. They were a fairly rockin, R&B version of Cajun music. Good stuff. People were dancing.
Next up was The Panorama Jazz Band. I almost missed them because I thought, "Well, I can see them anytime," but I don't. I forgot how good and how much fun they were. How amiably aloof they are as performers but how exacting they are as musicians. I got loose to this band--shook off the stress that goes with preparing for and getting into the Fairgrounds. Felt like myself--felt happy, especially during the clarinet, accordion, and sax solos. Who was that sax player? She wasn't playin' around. Awesome.
I was walking aimlessly when I heard rap music coming from The Congo Square stage. When I hear rap music at Jazzfest, I must go to the source. Jazzfest doesn't have enough of it, and I don't get enough of it live. Codac and Dizzy were a DJ/rapper duo that fluttered between mediocrity and greatness. I was walking away towards the Acura Stage after a mediocre moment when the music got better, so I stopped and turned. I ended up standing there for the next twenty minutes. There was a great anti-war song they did. The band wasn't putting up a front, and they weren't afraid to be positive or have a message or border on goofiness. That's why I liked them.
Next was PBS, which I wasn't sold on until I saw them last year at The Wolf. How friggin' tight are they?! They're just so relaxed and good and ARRGGHH! too good. But really, at their set at the Acura stage, they got off to a slow start and ambled through (awesome) solos and instrumentals until they played the song I didn't know I was there to only hear but was: "All We Wanna Do is Get Funky For You." I love the simplicity in the song and that statement. Like, "We have no agenda. We just wanna celebrate this music." It's one of those party songs where you feel that if you tried hard enough, you could push your soul outta your body. Like The Coup's "Everythang," which Galactic covered Sunday.
Next was Randy Newman, who had to win me over. I wasn't in the mood for one guy mumbling into a piano. But, in the end, I really enjoyed him, especially "Political Science(Drop the Big One Now)." What a satirist he is. He closed with "Louisiana 1927," which he wrote and which many locals have adopted as their own(though Newman is kinda a local--he was raised here and spent summers here until he was 11 and then moved to L.A. with his family). My friends in front of me had arms around each other's shoulders, and it WAS that kinda moment. Sobering, defiant, and triumphant at the same time. I enjoyed his version better than the many others I heard at Jazzfest, including Aaron Neville's.