Depending on your ability to function without sleep (and get away with not working), Jazz Fest offers music lovers the chance to dive into a citywide sea of sound for 10 glorious days and nights.
This time of year, you have multiple special programming options that run all weekend long, from Preservation Hall’s Midnight Preserves series, which features the Preservation Hall Jazz Band alongside a rotating cast of secret special guests over both weekends of the Fest. Proceeds benefit the Hall’s foundation, supporting its music education and other great programs. Venues like The Howlin’ Wolf and Tipitina’s, meanwhile, roll out their Jazz Fest programs over both weekends and offer bundled ticket options for those planning on going multiple nights.
To help you plot your post-Fairgrounds musical adventures, here are some of our best bets for music outside the Fest from Friday, April 28 through the wee hours of Monday, April 8.
Post-Jazz Fest Shows
First Friday, April 28
Get things rolling with music from a slew of great local acts: cellist Helen Gillet and Tephra Sound, featuring Mark Southerland, drummer Nikki Glaspie, keyboardist Brian Haas and Jessica Lurie hit the AllWays Lounge at 10 p.m. Helen and Nikki have been teaming up regularly for some stellar shows and at least one live, in-studio recording – count on experimentation, improvisation and positive energy galore at this one.
If you’re in a funkier state of mind, head Uptown to the Maple Leaf for Johnny Vidacovich, Skerik, John Medeski and Oteil Burbridge also at 10 p.m. Straight-ahead jazz fans might wanna catch Stanton Moore James Singleton and David Torkanowsky at 11:30 p.m. at the Little Gem Saloon.
First Saturday, April 29
At the Saenger, Trombone Shorty hosts the third annual Treme Threauxdown at 8 p.m., featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Andra Day, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Dumpstaphunk and more.
A little further downtown at 1 a.m., the Blue Nile presents the WimBASH All-Star Tribute featuring Doug Wimbish, Khris Royal, Big Sam, Nigel Hall, Maurice Brown and Angelo Moore of Fishbone, plus more guests.
After the Blue Nile, wander over the d.b.a for the old-school New Orleans rock classic, Royal Fingerbowl at 2 a.m.
First Sunday, April 30
Guitar slingers C.C. Adcock, Lil Buck Sinegal and accordionist and drummer Curley Taylor kick off a solid 24 hours of great Cajun programming at d.b.a. at 7 p.m, followed by a 2 a.m. show by punk-inspired Cajun innovators the Lost Bayou Ramblers.
If you’re all about jazz tonight, check out the always-brilliant James Singleton with Sherik, Johnny Vidacovich & Jonathan Freilich at 11:59 p.m. at Chickie Wah Wah.
Monday, May 1
Head back to d.b.a for another dose of Cajun culture, courtesy of the bar’s first-ever Swampede and Prairie Party. From 2-6 p.m., chow down on treats from a Cajun-style pig roast and crawfish boil while Corey Ledet (2 p.m.), the Lost Bayou Ramblers (3 p.m. ), CC Adcock & the Lafayette Marquis (4:30 p.m.) plus special guests keep your feet movin’.
The Monday after the first weekend also ushers in two important fundraising events: Instruments a Comin’ at Tipitina’s, which raises money for school music programs, and WWOZ Piano Night at House of Blues, which raises money for the station.
Instruments a Comin’ serves up a block party outside Tip’s, where you can scope out some killer young marching bands, grab a snack and a beer, and cheer for Anders Osbourne as he’s welcomed into the Walk of Fame. Inside, at the not-so-free version of the event, Galactic, Donald Harrison, and a slew of other stars perform onstage.
On the other side of Canal Street, Piano Night promises to go “back to its roots” this year, featuring solo piano players performing in the great New Orleans piano tradition all night long. This year’s artists include Ellis Marsalis, Marcia Ball, Joe Krown, David Torkanowsky, Tom McDermott, Josh Paxton, John Gros, Tom Worrell, and Al “Lil Fats” Jackson.
Tuesday, May 2
With so much going on Monday night, Tuesday might be your best bet to hit the second annual NOLA Crawfish Fest, which features mudbugs from local star boiler Chris “Shaggy” Davis alongside plenty of bands. The programming is heavy on funk and jam: Tuesday’s lineup promises all-star band after all-star band, featuring Nigel Hall, Jon Cleary, Luther Dickinson, and more. The festival kicks off Monday and goes through Wednesday May 3.
Wednesday, May 3
The Louisiana Music Factory has free sets from Jon Cleary, Ernie Vincent, Delfeayo Marsalis, and the Uptown Jazz Orchetsra and more starting at 12 p.m., with the last set (Little Freddie King) beginning at 6 p.m.
At night, check out one of the city’s top parade bands, the TBC, at Celebration Hall or head over to the Howlin’ Wolf for the freakout music bonanza that is the Megalomaniacs Ball, featuring The Mike Dillon Band with special guests Dean Ween + JP Gaster (Clutch), the Punk Rock Percussion Consortium, and many more.
Thursday, May 4
Your cover goes to a good cause when you pony up for a ticket to Shorty Fest at House of Blues. The two-stage mini-fest shines a light on rising star artists like the New Breed Brass Band, Sexual Thunder! and Voices of a Nation; Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue perform as well. Proceeds support the Trombone Shorty Foundation and its music education and mentoring programs.
If you’re looking for something a little less traditional, the Music Box Village was built as a veritable percussive playground, making it the ideal home base for any Mike Dillon project. His all-star Punk Rock Consortium hits the unorthodox venue the first night of Jazz fest’s second weekend. The band features Jason Marsalis, Brian Coogan, Stanton Moore, Jean-Paul Gaster (Clutch), Simon Lott, Weedie Braimah, Paul Thibodeaux, Otto Schrang, Daria Dzurik, Tiffany Lamson (Givers), Jesse Paige, Stephen Montalvo, Aaron Walker, Logan Schutts, Brendan Bull, Helen Gillet, Nathan Lambertson, Cliff Hines, Brian Haas, and Mark Southerland with Special Guests Rickie Lee Jones and Clint Maedgan.
One more good option: The Ace Hotel’s Six of Saturns Jazz Fest programming has a week’s worth of great music, but Philly’s King Britt with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s tribute to gospel legend Sister Gertrude Morgan is among the most unique, mixing haunting grooves and old-world New Orleans spirituals.
Second Friday, May 5
Basin Street Records celebrates 20 years of supporting New Orleans musicians at the Little Gem Saloon, with a lineup of acts including Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield, Henry Butler, Dr. Michael White, Jason Marsalis, Davell Crawford, and more.
Over at the Joy, drummer Joe Russo pays tribute to the Grateful Dead with Marco Benevento, Dave Dreiwitz, Tom Hamilton and Scott Metzger as Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, followed by the New Master Sounds at 2 a.m.
On Frenchmen Street, Little Freddie King hits d.b.a for a night of dance-ready electric blues.
Second Saturday, May 6
The Music Box Village features another night of special programming with Dustan Louque’s “Dub Down Babylon” featuring Dustan Louque, a musician from St. James Parish who blends folk, dub and noise in a show based on what life in a post-apocalyptic New Orleans might sound like.
Louque is joined by Nels Cline (Wilco), Josh Werner (Lee “Scratch” Perry), classical pianist Margaret Hebert, guitarist Rob Cambre, Eric Heigle (Arcade Fire, Lost Bayou Ramblers) and more special guests.
Second Sunday, May 7
OK, that’s a wrap! We kid, we kid. There’s still so much to do: The Rebirth Brass Band wraps things up at the Maple Leaf, d.b.a. hosts the Stanton Moore Trio with Donald Harrison, Robert Walter, Rob Mercurio and Will Bernard, while Tip’s presents the Funky Meters.
To see what else is out there, check out your full list of options on the WWOZ Livewire or jazzfestgrids.com.