New Orleans vocalist John Boutte sang a transporting set Sunday at the New Orleans and Jazz and Heritage Festival’s Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent.
The performance included a swinging “Straighten Up and Fly Ride,” a song popularized by then jazz singer-pianist Nat King Cole in the 1940s; Latin jazz that Boutte recorded with Cubanisimo; and Boutte’s mystic rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s pop ballad “Time After Time.”
“I love this song,” Boutte said before singing “Time After Time.” With his musicians and trio of singers, he gave a gentle, quiet performance, filled with love.
Boutte, a light tenor vocalist who shapes his notes and phrases with jazz-musician care, concentrated on jazz Sunday in Jazz Test. But his varied selections showcased his wide artistic range. “On the Foot of Canal Street,” another of Sunday’s selections, is a secular song Boutte filled with gospel feeling.
As Boutte has for four years now, he ended his Jazz Fest show with the bouncing, happy theme from HBO’s New Orleans-set drama, “Treme.”
It brought nearly everyone in the tent to their feet.