At New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, there's good music and plenty of fun waiting at every stage. Here's what's in store for Friday, April 26 at Jazz Fest.
The 50th anniversary New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival kicks off Thursday with a fresh lineup of music performances and events.
Friday, April 26
12:30 p.m.-1:20 p.m.
Cultural Exchange Pavilion
3:15 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
The cultural and historic ties between Haiti and New Orleans have been increasingly visible in recent years, and Haitian music is experiencing an international renaissance, with RAM and Melissa Laveaux releasing new albums. Moonlight Benjamin sings over a blend of Caribbean Voodoo melodies and rhythms and 1970s American blues-rock. Born in Haiti and currently residing in France, Benjamin channels the slow build and purposeful repetition of the Voodoo tradition in her music while also channeling Southern jam rock. Moonlight Benjamin’s recent album, “Siltane,” features the memorable song “Memwan.’”
Congo Square Stage
1:25 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
While New Orleans native PJ Morton is best known for his role as the keyboardist for Maroon 5, he also has been building his own brand, releasing records and a concert film and formulating a distinct sound built upon the foundations of New Orleans R&B and funk. While signed to Young Money in 2013, PJ released his first major-label studio album, “New Orleans,” which included an appearance by Stevie Wonder on its lead single. PJ moved back to New Orleans a few years ago, and his solo work has culminated with the release of the album “Gumbo” in 2017, followed by a 2019 Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance for the deeply catchy “How Deep Is Your Love.” PJ’s recent work reaches across genres, and the result is a smooth sound both modern and throwback.
2:55 p.m.-3:55 p.m.
Originally from northern Michigan, Luke Winslow-King moved to New Orleans at 19 and has spent 15 years in the city, honing his roots-music sound. Winslow-King blends roots-infused folk, blues, country, R&B and rock. He recorded much of 2009’s “Old/New Baby” at Preservation Hall and learned gospel and jazz standards while working with singer John Boutte. Excellent guitar work, smooth vocals, a deep appreciation of traditional sounds and energetic delivery mark King’s live performances.
Foundation of Funk featuring Zigaboo Modeliste and George Porter Jr. with special guests Ivan Neville, Tony Hall and Ian Neville
3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
Foundation of Funk, the project from the iconic original Meters’ rhythm section, Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste and George Porter Jr., teams with a revolving roster of guests to honor the New Orleans funk tradition and The Meters’ unparalleled catalog. For this performance, they are joined by Dumpstaphunk band leader and keyboardist Ivan Neville (Aaron Neville’s son), guitarist Ian Neville (original Meter Art Neville’s son) and multi-instrumentalist Tony Hall. It is difficult to imagine New Orleans music without The Meters, but The Meters’ contribution to rock, funk and R&B on a global scale continues to be recognized.
The Head and The Heart
3:30 p.m.-4:45 p.m.
This Seattle-born, six-member band received early recognition for its blend of folk, indie and pop, and its self-titled debut album became one of Sub Pop’s best-selling debut releases. In 2014, after four years of touring, the band took time off and reunited to produce the album “Signs of Light,” its first release on the Warner Bros. label. The bright, gauzy balladry on the record matches the band’s name, offering singalongs in the vein of Mumford & Sons alongside sparse piano ballads. The band’s forthcoming album, “Living Mirage,” is set for release in May, and the single “Missed Connection” is already impressing listeners.
79rs Gang Mardi Gras Indians
Jazz & Heritage Stage
4:25 p.m.-5:15 p.m.
Big Chief Jermaine Bossier, from the 7th Ward, and Big Chief Romeo Bougere, from the 9th Ward, came together to form the 79rs Gang Mardi Gras Indian tribe, forging a intertribal collaborative performance group. The Gang has appeared in Atlanta’s Cashew Company anthology and in a number of film and video projects. The 79rs Gang released the songs “Dead and Gone” and “Wrong Part of Town” (Sinking City Records), tight releases featuring intricate rhythms, snare, tambourine and vocals in the Mardi Gras Indian tradition.
Fais Do-Do Stage
4:40 p.m.-5:40 p.m.
With falsetto harmonies, traditional folk instrumentation and singable choruses, Darlingside is reminiscent of a number of bands while also managing to be unique. Based in Boston, this four-piece often performs in a bluegrass style, using a single microphone, allowing its harmonies to blend. The group’s second full-length album, 2015’s “Birds Say,” found wider audiences. Listeners may recognize tunes such as “The God of Loss,” which the band performed in NPR’s Tiny Desk series. The band recently released the EP “Look Up & Fly Away.”
5:25 p.m.-6:55 p.m.
In its first few albums, The Revivalists didn’t sound like the band was sure what direction it was heading, but it became clearer by 2016, when its single “Wish I Knew You” seemed to be everywhere. The group recently released “Change” (“the change inside your pocket, baby / doesn’t change a thing”), which also climbed Billboard’s Adult Alternative Song chart. In recent years, the band worked with new producers and writers, including Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton) and Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, fun., Sleigh Bells), and its blend of pop, rock, folk, country and blues sounds both fresh and timeless.
Congo Square Stage
5:45 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Singer, songwriter, producer and rapper Aloe Blacc blasted into a new stratosphere with the breakout success of “I Need a Dollar” (later used as the theme song to HBO’s “How to Make it In America”) and his featured vocals on 2013’s Avicii single “Wake Me Up.” Born Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, the Panamanian-American musician’s unique singing voice — vibrato with a hint of vulnerability in an otherwise smooth delivery — works in several musical genres, a perfect mix to achieve stardom on a global scale. While his 2013 album “Lift Your Spirit” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, rap is where Blacc found his start and his first love, influenced by socially conscious artists including KRS-One.