"Nola French Quarter Fest"
by Bob Putignano
Mardi Gras Mambo'ing on! French Quarter Fest 2006
It was great to be back in the Big Easy for my very first visit to the annual French Quarter Fest, where I am happy to report that this year's festival brought in record numbers of people attending this years event. The best part is that it is all free, and it all takes place in the downtown area along side the Mississippi River, just one week prior to Jazz Fest. And what an event it was! This years highlights included stunning performances by the Sweetheart of New Olreans- Wanda Rouzan, Charmaine Neville, The Radiators, Little Freddie King, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Orleans Avenue- who once again showed that they are bound for stardom, as Troy and the boys had the large crowd eating out of their hands, and the great Walter "Wolfman" Washington, who dazzled the crowd with an high energy, intensely funky set with his new band which consisted of a three piece horn section, B3, rhythm guitarist, drums, and Walter's longtime collaborator- Jack Cruz on bass. By the way, Walter's manager and wife informed me that Walter is putting the finishing touches on a brand new CD and hopes to have it out by year end- stay tuned for more about Walter's new recording.
Other highlights of my April New Orleans visit, was a side trip to the hip city of Lafayette Louisiana (about three hours outside of the Crescent City) with Troy Andrews & Orleans Ave, and I need to give special thanks to their manager Jack Snyder who took me along for the ride and provided me with my first visit outside the city limits of NOLA. Jack took time to show me beautiful the beautiful countryside, and some off the beaten path for some great down-home country eats. As always Troy and Orleans Ave. blew the outdoor crowd away with their performance.
And last but not least on my last day in NOLA, I made my annual visit to WWOZ and brought Troy Andrews and his band to the stations new downtown studios with Big Luther Kent for an outstanding live/on-air performance. Troy played with his band for a while and then he invited Luther to guest sing on a super-charged version of "Flip, flop & Fly" which was quite special. And I also need to thank the staff at WWOZ for continuing to allow me to do this, and to WWOZ DJ & guitarist Marc Stone.
Speaking of radio, warm and special thanks to the management at WFDU, Carl Kraus & Barry Sheffield, who allowed me to expand my Sounds of Blue radio program to an additional day of programming, which now stands at a total of seven hours of blues-based radio in the NY/NJ metro area, thank you Carl & Barry!
Until the next issue, please keep supporting the music you love by going out to performances, and when you can- buy a CD off the stage from the artists you enjoy- as it probably means more than you can imagine to them!
Until next time.......
Bob Putignano www.SoundsofBlue.com
Radio Host WFDU's "Sounds of Blue"
President of the NY Blues and Jazz Society