For Clarinet Road, do you want to know the best thing about Carnival Season? It's that the New Orleans Festival Season is just a few weeks away, which means great local shows. We can't wait until French Quarter Fest and the Jazz & Heritage Festival. Read on to see what we have scheduled so far.
2019 French Quarter Festival (April 11-14)
French Quarter Festival is the largest free music festival in the country, and 2019 is its 36th year. Clarinet Road performs at the festival on Thursday the 11th. You can find us on the Jackson Square Stage, where I hosted NY piano virtuoso Ehud Asherie in 2017. Our scheduled time is 12:30-2pm.
Thursday is euphemistically known as "locals" day, because it's generally the most relaxed day of the weekend. I tend to stay away during the weekend, but I have some evening shows planned for us.
For Saturday night, pianist Tom McDermott and I decided to add a duo show at his "Silky Satin Lounge." Our speakeasy-style house concert remembers Donna's Bar & Grill where for several years we had a Thursday residency. We will serve Clesi's jambalaya at 7pm and perform a full program at 7:30pm.
This year, my annual show at the venerable Snug Harbor takes place on Sunday night, April 14. It will be the usual drill in the city's best listening room with two shows at 8pm and 10pm. It's a great way to end the weekend with a tradition that began twelve years ago.
Oh! Earlier that day, if you're near Preservation Hall, I will join the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra there at noon.
Our annual "International Jam Session"
This is another long-running tradition. Scores of musicians from all over the world make their pilgrimage to New Orleans in the spring. So, each year, as sort of a post-festival party, I organize an "International Jam Session" for them. On Monday, April 15, our 11th jam starts around 7pm at the Little Gem Saloon. As usual, you can count on some musical surprises.
The Jazz & Heritage Festival Turns Fifty
This year marks the golden anniversary of this legendary event. It's no secret that many local musicians, myself included, have some ambivalence about the festival's unwieldy size. But, we also don't like to miss a good party. I will be at the festival a couple times this year.
First Saturday (April 27)
On the first Saturday, I join Tom McDermott for a showcase on the Lagniappe Stage. This is arguably the most pleasant stage at the Fairgrounds racetrack, the site of the festival. Because it's in the paddock area, it's enclosed, which makes it more intimate and better acoustically.
Second Saturday (May 4)
For second Saturday, come hear me with Rick Trolsen's Neslort. Rick is a gifted composer and I'm thrilled to help him present his newest music in the WWOZ Jazz Tent.
Saturday Night Show (May 4, 8pm)
A few years back, the Jazz & Heritage Foundation bought an old funeral home just outside the French Quarter. They mainly use it for community outreach but host several concert events each year. This year, I have been invited to present a New Orleans clarinet program with Gregory Agid. He's a gifted young player whose style is very different than mine.
Our program is called, From Bechet to Batiste. As you can guess, it celebrates the legacies of New Orleans clarinet traditional master Sidney Bechet and modern master Alvin Batiste.
Between the Saturdays
Traditionally, if I only worked between the two weekends of HeritageFest, I considered it sufficient. That's how crazy New Orleans becomes during the festival. If you are fortunate enough to be in town DURING the week, I will have some low-key, acoustic programs we can enjoy. Here's what is scheduled so far. Check back for updates to this "Riff" on the festivals.
Monday, April 29: GemFest (7pm-9pm)
Little Gem Saloon hosts Clarinet Road for "GemFest 2019" on the Monday between HeritageFest weekends. This year, the date falls on the birth anniversary of Duke Ellington. So, let's celebrate!
Friday, May 3: Silky Satin Lounge
Tom McDermott has the coolest "speakeasy" in Mid-City.
(Save the date for our Friday night pop-up. Outside the festival, this is our only show together.)
Don't Miss Updates
Before I wrap up, I just want to reiterate that shows WILL be added in this period. Not only that, but even if you are NOT in New Orleans, I may stream a couple of these events LIVE!
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