Saturday, April 18, 2009

French Quarter Fest

French Quarter Fest began with a bang Friday as two of the best acts in the whole lineup, Marc Stone and Brother Tyrone, kicked off the proceedings at 11 am Friday. Stone, a great guitarist and songwriter, played some of the outstanding new material from his forthcoming album. Brother Tyrone has been around forever but is just breaking outwith his great classic soul sound. French Quarter Fest has become a Godzilla monster since its halcyon days as a laid back festival for the locals on the streets of the French Quarter. Back then the music was almost all traditional jazz and brass band music, but today it's a sweeping reflection of Louisiana music in which the French Quarter stages are completely swamped by the massive crowds gathered along the river and at the U. S. Mint. My Friday highlights included the great young Cajun band Feufollet, the Soul Rebels, and The Posse, a terrific band led by drummer Kevin O'Day and bassist Reggie Scanlan, featuring the incomparable Tim Green on tenor. Really enjoyed the Tin Men, driven by the amazing percussion work of Washboard Chazz, Matt Perrine's virtuoso sousaphone playing and the great songwriting and guitar playing of Alex McMurray. Perrine had a great time answering the bellowing blasts from the Steamboat Natchez as it left the dock. The interaction of the river and the music is one of the most endearing things about French Quarter Fest. There are some very cool little hangouts associated with the whole deal as well, like the back garden of MRB on St. Philip Street, where international traditional jazz bands realize their dream of playing New Orleans jazz in the Crescent City in front of exuberant crowds that are well oiled with New Orleans jazz juice.

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