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Jazz Fest Artists’ Spotlight – Blues/Zydeco, Supergroups, Traditional Jazz

Sonny Landreth

Lafayette’s Sonny Landreth is, according to NPR’s John Burnett, “a guitarist’s guitarist — a wizard of the slide guitar.” Landreth has spent most of his 35+ year career on the side, complementing the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, and John Hiatt, with his unique slide technique. Landreth’s Louisiana roots are very deep–he’s played with Beausoleil, Clifton Chenier, as well as Zachary Richard. Since the release of his 2008 CD, “From the Reach,” the 57-year old blues/zydeco/rock maestro has moved to center stage. Sonny will be in the Blues Tent, on Sunday, April 29th, at 3:05pm.

Voice of the Wetlands AllStars

The Voice of the Wetlands AllStars is a “Louisiana Supergroup” fronted by Tab Benoit on guitar and lead vocals, Dr. John on piano and vocals, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (who may take the stage once again in a suit-o’-pretty), along with Anders Osborne, Waylon Thibodeaux, Johnny Sansone and Cyril Neville. The rhythm section is equally super, with George Porter Jr. on bass, Stanton Moore on drums, and even Johnny Vidocavich has been known to sit in on drums. Tab Benoit put the group together in early 2005, to make an album whose proceeds would benefit wetlands restoration. The storm added to the group’s sense of urgency, so they continue to do shows to raise money. VOW AllStars will take the Acura Stage at 3:25pm on Saturday, April 28th.

Dr. Michael White

Dr. Michael White’s favorite thing about playing JazzFest is “Seeing the international concentration of traditional jazz fans that come to hear and dance in the Economy Hall Tent – demonstrating that our music is truly universal and timeless.” A classically-trained clarenetist, Dr. White founded the Original Liberty Jazz Band in 1981. This year, Dr. White will front the Original Liberty with blues singer Thais Clark, who is a diva of 1920s blues. They will do a number of traditional jazz standards, as well as numbers from White’s new CD, Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 2. Catch Dr. White, Thais Clark, and the Original Liberty Jazz Band in the Economy Hall Tent, at 4:20pm on Saturday, April 28th.

Author of five books on the history of New Orleans, Edward Branley is a graduate of Brother Martin High School and the University of New Orleans. Edward writes, teaches, and does speaking engagements on local history to groups in and around New Orleans. His urban fantasy novel, "Hidden Talents," is available online and in bookstores. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, @NOLAHistoryGuy.

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