August begins with the return of the Satchmo SummerFest to The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Mint for its 19th edition. The festival is always held over the weekend closest to Louis Armstrong’s birthday (August 4)—this year it falls the 2nd through the 4th. I love this event as it is heavy on two of my favorite things—traditional jazz and remarkable local cuisine. This year, the organizers have collected an exceptional selection of talent steeped in local musical traditions. You really can’t go wrong with anyone in the line-up but there are a few exceptional talents. Friday’s highlights include The Preservation Hall Brass Band. This band is actually a super-group of brass band musicians from the Treme, Olympia and Tornado brass bands. Together as the PresHall Brass, they act as ambassadors for the cultural heritage of brass music. They will be joined in the line-up by Corey Henry and The Treme Funktet. Henry is a child of New Orleans. He was raised in Treme and grew up among second lines. Henry has been playing the trombone since the age of 10 and was part of Rebirth Brass Band’s Grammy win in 2012. In addition to these great acts, Friday also boasts appearances by Kermit Ruffins and Charmaine Neville.
On Saturday, the festival welcomes Bill Summers and Jazalsa. Summers’ Jazalsa project brings his extraordinary percussive talents to the music of the African Diaspora. With this group he manages to keep all of the traditional elements of jazz and blend them with African rhythms that keep the crowd moving. They are joined on Saturday by the Big 6 Brass Band. Formed in 2017, these relative newcomers first established themselves with elaborate brass covers of popular hits, but they have recently begun work on a new album of original material. The Big 6 have an absolutely huge sound that you’ll want to check out. Saturday the festival also hosts the Treme Brass Band, Shannon Powell and Robin Barnes with The Fiyabirds.
Finally, on Sunday you can catch a headlining performance from local soul vocalist Tonya Boyd-Cannon. She has a remarkable playfulness and palpable wittiness in her performance style that is sheer joy. As always, the festival ends with an all-star trumpet tribute to Armstrong led by Ashlin Parker and the Trumpet Mafia. Sunday also hosts performances from a trio of local heavyweights: Ellis Marsalis, Jeremy Davenport, and Leroy Jones. Taken together this collection of performers represents one of the great collections of local talent of the year. When you combine the music with food from The Praline Connection, Company Burger, Crepes a La Cart, and Ajun Cajun among others, it becomes a weekend of treats for the mind, body and soul.
Queen + Adam Lambert
Looking a bit further into the month, Queen + Adam Lambert will be playing the Smoothie King Center on the 20th. While I was initially skeptical of anyone’s ability to sing Freddie Mercury’s songs, Lambert retains enough of their original spirit while adding his own touches—all without stepping on the legacy of the originals. Mercury’s tragic passing deprived us all of the screaming “Don’t Stop Me Now” along with a stadium full of fans. Lambert’s alliance with Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor has opened that door again. While nothing can be the original, this is a whole lot of fun.
Drab Majesty’s dream pop at One Eyed Jacks.
$uicideboy$ bring cult horrorcore to Mardi Gras World.
Planet Booty funk up Gasa Gasa.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor shoe gaze at the Joy Theater.
Kyle Craft rocks One Eyed Jacks.
Pedro The Lion takes slowcore to The Civic.
Queen + Adam Lambert rock the Smoothie King Center.
Mannequin Pussy punk Gasa Gasa.
B-52s pop into the Saenger.
Playlist of mentioned bands available at: http://bit.ly/InTune8-19
Dates are subject to change; email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.