The second weekend of the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell opens with “Locals Thursday.” Crowds are typically smaller on Thursdays, which don’t feature the sort of mass-appeal headliners that draw huge crowds on weekends. Thursday’s closer on the main Acura Stage is the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the multigenre band fronted by husband-and-wife guitar duo Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. Hit-making rapper Flo Rida shuts down the Congo Square Stage while Elvis Costello & the Imposters close the Gentilly Stage.

Don’t miss:

Colin Lake, 11:20 a.m.-11:55 a.m., Acura Stage

Since landing in New Orleans, Colin Lake, a native of the Pacific Northwest, has found a conducive launching pad for his fiery, blues-heavy, incendiary lap steel and six-string guitar fireworks. He’s a good choice to open the guitar-centric Acura Stage roster on Thursday, which includes Sonny Landreth, Gary Clark Jr. and the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Stephanie Jordan Big Band, 4 p.m.-4:55 p.m., Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent

Ever-classy jazz vocalist Stephanie Jordan’s precise diction, poise and tone have earned comparisons to Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln and Shirley Horn; check out her rendition of “Here’s to Life.” She hails from a family of musicians; her trumpeter brother Marlon precedes her by two hours at the Jazz Tent with a set drawn from the catalogs of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie “Bird” Parker.

Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns, 2:55 p.m.-3:50 p.m., Blues Tent

Meschiya Lake possesses a voice out of time. In cahoots with her Little Big Horns — usually a trumpet, trombone and sousaphone, plus guitar and drums — she haunts songs from the 1920s and ’30s, as well as fresh blues/jazz compositions that sound ancient. The group’s 2013 album “Foolers’ Gold” is a good place to get to know them.


Jazz Fest picks up momentum as it moves into the weekend. On Friday, Paul Simon, a giant among American songwriters, returns to the Fair Grounds to kick off a tour promoting his forthcoming album. Meanwhile, Kentucky rock band My Morning Jacket haunts the Gentilly Stage, the wild card that is Ms. Lauryn Hill gets dealt at the Congo Square Stage, and Elvin Bishop hits the Blues Tent.

Don’t miss:

Tony Hall’s New Orleans Soul Stars tribute to James Brown, 12:15 p.m.-1:05 p.m., Congo Square Stage

Eight years ago, Tony Hall, the Dumpstaphunk bassist whose credits include the Neville Brothers, Dave Matthews and Emmylou Harris, assembled a horn-heavy all-star band to perform James Brown songs on the Godfather of Soul’s birthday. In a break with the annual tradition, Hall and company will stage the show at Jazz Fest.

Raw Oyster Cult, 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m., Gentilly Stage

Not to be confused with classic rockers Blue Oyster Cult, the homegrown Raw Oyster Cult features guitarists Camile Baudoin and Dave Malone and drummer Frank Bua, all of whom spent 33 years together in the Radiators. At Jazz Fest, they’ll be joined by “Some Fishy Friends,” a reference to the Radiators’ “fishhead music.” If the Fishy Friends include Ed Volker and Reggie Scanlan, you’ve got a full-blown Radiators reunion.

Tom McDermott & Friends, 4:15 p.m.-5:10 p.m., Lagniappe Stage

McDermott ranks among the most fluent and literate pianists in town. His repertoire ranges from ragtime to stride to Brazilian choro music, one of the Latin strands woven into jazz. His collaborators are of a similar caliber. At 2 p.m., McDermott will be interviewed at the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage in the grandstand with one of them: singer and saxophonist Aurora Nealand.


American music icon Stevie Wonder returns to the Fair Grounds for the first time since 2008 to close the Acura Stage. An icon of a different sort, Snoop Dogg, lights up at the Congo Square Stage. Guitar powerhouse Buddy Guy plugs in at the Blues Tent while ever-classy Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is at the Jazz Tent. Musical alchemist Beck is at the Gentilly Stage.

Don’t miss:

Sweet Crude, 12:35 p.m.-1:35 p.m., Gentilly Stage

One of the smartest, most vital young bands to emerge from New Orleans in recent years, Sweet Crude traffics in percussive, invigorated indie-rock/pop illuminated by Alexis Marceaux’s opera-worthy voice. They alternate songs sung in English and French, along with the occasional Fleetwood Mac cover.

Kristin Diable, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage

Armed with a fetching voice that evokes a Nashville Norah Jones and a knack for indelible melodies, Kristin Diable is at the vanguard of New Orleans’ burgeoning Americana music scene. Her 2012 independent album “Kristin Diable & the City” was a revelation; American Songwriter magazine named her national debut, “Create Your Own Mythology,” one of the 50 best albums of 2015.

Luke Winslow-King, 1:50 p.m.-2:45 p.m., Lagniappe Stage

Luke Winslow-King is a musical time traveler, a young guitarist who takes his cues from decades long before he was born. Armed with a National steel guitar and backed by like-minded singer Esther Rose, he swings out on a program of spry, pre-World War II blues and original songs that fit in comfortably alongside that catalog.


On the festival’s final day, Neil Young and his young collaborators in Promise of the Real precede Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Jazz Fest’s homegrown Acura Stage closing act. Maze and Frankie Beverly stage their annual mass singalong at the Congo Square Stage following the Isley Brothers. Bonnie Raitt plugs in between tributes to Allen Toussaint and B.B. King at the Gentilly Stage; she’ll likely take part in both. Chris Botti blows smooth jazz trumpet at the Jazz Tent.

Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters, 1:40 p.m.-2:40 p.m., Congo Square Stage

The Wolfman is a survivor from the classic era of New Orleans rhythm and blues. As a guitarist with a clean, stinging tone, he spent years backing great vocalists in neighborhood dives. With his Roadmasters, he alternates authentic blues, funk, soul and R&B, all of it enlivened by his toothy smile.

Arlo Guthrie interviewed by Tom Piazza, 2 p.m.-2:45 p.m., Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage

The interview sessions on a small stage inside the Fair Grounds grandstand often yield conversational gems alongside brief, unplugged performances. Guthrie, performing at the festival in celebration of the 50th anniversary of his signature “Alice’s Restaurant,” will first chat with Tom Piazza, the thoughtful novelist, jazz writer and author of “Why New Orleans Matters.” Expect a smart, insightful session.

Tin Men, 3 p.m.-3:55 p.m., Lagniappe Stage

The Tin Men are an only-in-New Orleans amalgamation featuring Alex McMurray’s voice and guitar, Chaz Leary’s washboard and Matt Perrine’s sousaphone. Together, they craft clever songs that suit their unconventional instrumentation — and occasionally crank up a tuba-powered take on Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”