Magazine article Guitar Player

A Not So Jazz Fest: The Who, Lenny Kravitz, and GP Presents Make the Scene in New Orleans

Magazine article Guitar Player

A Not So Jazz Fest: The Who, Lenny Kravitz, and GP Presents Make the Scene in New Orleans

Article excerpt

"IT'S GOOD TO BE AT THE NEW ORLEANS Jazz & Heritage Festival," announced Pete Townshend at the annual music bash held from April 24 to May 3, 2015. "I'm going to play some jazz later, and you're going to hate it!"

Well, the Who didn't play any jazz at its first American festival appearance since Woodstock, and neither did Lenny Kravitz, Buddy Guy, the Meters, Elton John, or Vintage Trouble, who all primarily honored roots rock and soul. Townshend can still generate tons of verve from a single windmill, and he also deployed his Stratocaster's whammy bar frequently, as well as doing some two-hand tapping. At the very end of "My Generation," however, he caught himself in a moment of frivolous flash, laughing over the mic, "What the f**k am I doing?"

The original Meters gathered for a rare reunion show, as Leo Nocentelli's impeccable staccato rhythm figures burst forth from a gorgeous Gibson ES-335 plugged into a Mesa/Boogie Lone Star. Lenny Kravitz and his longtime guitar foil Craig Ross powered through perhaps the most spirited set of the festival--until Buddy Guy took the stage in the Blues Tent. How a 78 year old can generate more electricity on guitar and vocals than any other act on a Jazz Fest bill is a mystery. The blues giant plopped his Strat down on a speaker stack and played it like a lap-steel, slid a towel across the fretboard for a pseudo record-scratching sound, played percussively with a drumstick, and conjured some kind of voodoo magic with a dynamic and totally killing performance. Other standouts during the festival included Vintage Trouble guitarist Nalle Colt and local buzz-band, the Revivalists.

A BIT OF CALI IN NOLA ...

This year, GP Presents took lucky advantage of the top guitar cats prowling the Big Easy for club gigs between weekends of the Jazz Fest. Typically shackled to the San Francisco Bay Area--because that's Guitar Player's home, as well as where the event producer (me) lives--GP presents ventured to New Orleans for its debut "Frenchmen Guitar Friendzy" at the Frenchmen Theater on April 29. …

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