Jazzfest Day 3 found us sucked back in to blues tent, by the sounds of Mem Shannon. Mem put out some mellow blues tones to match his vocals. Looked like he was playing a Cort (Les Paul clone) guitar, through a Twin Reverb amp. It’s amazing how different the same amp can sound with another guitar and another guitar player. Bill Kirchen was using one the day before to get all that nice Twang.
We wandered around a little and checked out The Punch Brothers neo-bluegrass and sampled some more of the food. Then we headed back to the Blues tent to hear Louisiana native and slide guitar master, Sonny Landreath, who put on a blistering show.
Finally, still in the Blues Tent, we had to break from all the New Orleans Musicians (could have opted for Neville Brothers) but had to top it off with a fellow New Jerseyite/Philadelphian Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Robert is a pedal steel guitar master did not disappoint. He was the only act we saw where the audience was on their feet the entire time! Still got a little New Orleans flavor when slide guitar master Sonny Landreath joined Robert on stage for a few numbers including Purple Haze. We can’t fit his pedal steel into one of our guitar storage racks but maybe we can figure something out.
Jazz Fest was a great musical experience. We never heard so much music in such a short period. Even on the walk back to the car music abounded. People who lived along the way had set up little stages and you could dance your way back to the car. We stopped at one house to jam some harp along with a guy slinging some Muddy Waters blues.
BIGGEST MUSICAL SURPRISES
Trombone Shorty – Although he did a set at Jazz Fest, on the first night we were there we caught him sitting in at a Warren Haynes show at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Shorty plays trombone with the soul of a lead guitar player. I never thought I’d hear that kind of emotion out of a trombone. He traded licks effortlessly with Warren Haynes.
Most Interesting Craft Vendor:
We came across Bob McNally (from NJ) and his Strumsticks. What a great idea and perfect product for Jazz Fest. They are beautifully toned and crafted small (travel size) stringed instruments. They have 3 strings and come in various open tunings which make it very easy for anybody to pick up and play something, that sounds good, on first try. The perfect product for all those “would-be” guitar players walking around Jazz Fest and inspired by all the music they just heard.