NoJazzFest for Old Men

Jazz Fest 2012 by Terrance Osborne

Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Foo Fighters, Florence and the Machine, Bonnie Rait, Ziggy Marley, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Cee-Lo,and Ne-Yo. Where did all of these artists perform?  Exactly–at the New Orleans Jazz Festival! (Which, strangely enough, also enjoyed its “biggest crowd ever.”)

In addition, here are the other headliners that scrolled past on the homepage of the New Orleans Jazz Festival website:

  • Jimmy Buffet
  • My Morning Jacket
  • Neville Brothers
  • Paulina Rubio
  • Zac Brown Band
  • Alen Toussaint
  • Irma Thomas
  • Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
  • Mavis Staples
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela
  • Warren Haynes Band
  • Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
  • funky Meters
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
  • Steve Earle
  • Ani DiFranco
  • Galactic
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation
  • Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  • Marcia Ball
  • Better Than Ezra
  • Herbie Hancock

To be fair, the New Orleans Jazz Festival markets itself as a “Jazz and Heritage Festival,” so I’m willing to cut them some slack. (A few of these groups clearly fall under the auspices of “heritage” artists who represent traditional jazz and dixieland.) But one can only stretch “heritage” so far until it snaps, and this lineup snaps, crackles, and then we end up with pop. Of the approximately 24 groups highlighted on the festival’s homepage, there is only one serious mainstream jazz artist (Herbie Hancock) and two traditional jazz groups. I don’t have anything against the groups in the other 87% (in fact, there are several whose music I enjoy very much!), it’s just bizarre to see them at a jazz festival whose official posters feature trumpet and trombone players in standard “throes of ecstasy” jazz gesticulation poses.

I understand the need to include crossover groups, but at some point, it’s no longer a Jazz Festival, it’s a marketing ploy. But what kind of marketing scheme uses music that isn’t popular to market music that is? Ironically, their website is Nojazzfest?  Agreed.

Congo Square 2012 by Carl Crawford

About FraKathustra

3 Responses to “NoJazzFest for Old Men”

  1. “What kind of marketing scheme uses music that is unpopular to market music that is?”

    I think this is a lot like always adding strings to pop music ( I did some “orchestral” recordings for even a rap album!!) And you have to show the violins in the videos in case you can’t hear it on the track, or maybe it isn’t even on the track, just the video. They think it adds an intellectual or artistic seriousness to it. Jazz may not be popular but I would say it its generally considered sophistacated. How else are you going to give Jimmy Buffett an artistic seriousness? Wait, I know, lets put it in a “Jazz Festival”

  2. This article is not based in fact. From the beginning the Jazz Fest has interspersed jazz w/ popular music. He names 10-15 bands that played out of the 100s of jazz, funk, gospel, zydeco, and yes rock and roll bands. Stay in N.Y. Or L.A. We dont need you here. You are uninformed or Misinformed. Try investigating a subject before you write about it.

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