Stevie Wonder played hands down the greatest Jazzfest set ever by a non-Louisiana artist Friday. He intended to bring the religious intensity of his best work to bear on the very ground he stood on, and New Orleans was more than ready for it. The
first of several downpours during his set elicited a new set of lyrics for "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," delivered with full verse and chorus. One can only hope today continues where he left off.
Marcia Ball has been at the top of her game during Jazzfest '08. She wowed 'em at piano night, turned out the house for the Wednesday evening free concert at Lafayette Square and was spectacular Later that night in a piano trifecta with Tom McDermott and Joe Krown at Snug Harbor. The songs on her great new record are anchoring her strong performances, and she is not to be missed today.
On the subject of one of my other passions, horseracing, the Kentucky Derby takes place this afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Yesterday I spotted a Fair Grounds regular who goes by the nickname the Colonel in the grandstand area fretting about Jazzfest hampering his Kentucky Derby wagering options.
"You understand how much I love the Fair Grounds shippers when they head north," he said with a knowing wink. "But it looks to me like Pyro left everything he had on the racing surface you're looking at. His eagerness to continue running when others are gasping will make him a formidable candidate for the Belmont and Travers stakes later in the season. But as they say, 'bread in old Kentucky, just a crumb out here.' Big Brown appears unopposable but I'm not one of these characters that will guarantee your bet. The trainer Dutrow is going to bet six figures on the nose. That's the kind of information people pay big money for on other Saturdays, so follow Mr. Dutrow to the window, and make sure to fill out your exactas with Santa Anita Derby winner Colonel John.
MOMM Kentucky Derby pick:
MOMM Saturday Jazzfest Picks
11:30-12:35 -- Lillian Boutte (Jazz)
12:40-1:15 -- Treme Brass Band (Economy Hall)
1:20-1:45 -- Pine Leaf Boys (Fais Do-Do)
1:50-2:50 -- Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Congo Square)
2:55-3:15 -- Henry Butler (Gentilly)
3:20-3:40 -- Pinstripe Brass band
3:45-4:45 -- Marcia Ball (Gentilly)
4:50-5:20 -- Dr. Michael White (Economy Hall)
5:45-6:45 -- Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas (Fais Do-Do)