Aretha Franklin pulled out of her scheduled performance Friday at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Earth Wind and Fire will replace her on the bill. Highlight for me is the Mardi Gras Indian Orchetsra making its first Jazz Fest appearance.
Thursday's festival was a beautiful kickoff for the second weekend. The weather was absolutely spectacular and the 101 Runners brought down the spirits. Great band, with a new album just out featuring an incendiary performance on lead guitar from June Yamagishi.
Amanda Shaw continues to grow and sounded great on the Gentilly stage, especially with Trombone Shorty backing her up. Please, Amanda, keep doing what you do and stop with the covers of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" and "Should I Stay Or Should I Go." It's frustrating to see someone as talented as yourself making like a Bourbon Street cover band. Of course if you stuck around to see Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint close out the day with versions of "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad," "The Race Is On" and -- of all things -- "Happy" you might well ask why I'm picking on you. And you'd have a point.
Bad idea of the day: Steve Martin. The comedian/amateur banjo picker played a desultory set enlivened only by the shtick of "King Tut." Spend some more time at the Fais Do Do stage, Steve, before you come back and try that again.
It's been so hot at the Blue Nile they should have fire trucks outside at all times. Tuesday night Dr. John was messing -- the place finally cleared at 7am -- Wednesday was the "Radiators Reincarnation," a recapitulation of wild days at the Dream Palace, which the Blue Nile was once called. Thursday night local band Doctor Gonzeaux played a terrific warmup set for an off the scale night of Trombone Shorty, who is all over town during Fest as usual.