So many stages, so little time
John Mayer, singer, guitarist, songwriter and ex-boyfriend of Taylor Swift and Jennifer Aniston, canceled his 2012 appearance at Jazz Fest after tissue inflammation on his vocal cords, a condition known as a granuloma, returned last year. He had surgery for the condition in 2011.
Mayer told Billboard magazine that he spent about four months without saying a word.
“The endurance was tough for me, but I started a new life,” he said. “It’s hard to believe that I’m healed, but just to make sure, I keep going back every two weeks for a look, and it’s the same — if not better.”
A year after his 2012 Jazz Fest cancellation, Mayer is the festival’s opening-day headliner at the Acura Stage. Announced dates for his “Born and Raised” tour, his first in three years, run through an Oct. 5 date at the Hollywood Bowl.
Gary Clark Jr.
In 2012, young Austin, Texas-born blues man Gary Clark Jr. appeared at the biggest music events in the U.S., including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Essence, Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals.
Clark is making a rare consecutive-year appearance at Jazz Fest in 2013. This latest New Orleans performance happens between his appearance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden and an upcoming seven nights in May with Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall.
Clark released his much-acclaimed album “Blak and Blu” in October. It debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Top 200 all-genre album chart, an unusually high chart debut for a blues release.
Acura Stage, 5:15 p.m.
Singer-songwriter Billy Joel, the piano man who released 19 platinum or multiplatinum albums and boatloads of hit songs, makes one of his only two announced 2013 appearances Saturday at Jazz Fest. His other show was April 21 at the Stone Music Festival in Sydney, Australia.
Joel has performed infrequently in recent years. He made a guest appearance with Paul McCartney at Yankee Stadium in 2011. The native New Yorker also played a half-dozen songs at December’s “12-12-12” benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy relief.
A rainstorm drenched Joel’s 2008 show at Jazz Fest. Jazz Fest producer-director Quint Davis, impressed by the singer-pianist’s “12-12-12” performance, spotted Joel backstage at Madison Square Garden and spontaneously invited him back for a second chance at a sunny Jazz Fest day.
Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk
Dumpstaphunk began in 2003 at Jazz Fest. Led by Ivan Neville, the keyboard-playing son of Aaron Neville, the group was originally intended to be a one-time event. But Dumpstaphunk continued as a part-time band and, eventually, became much more than a side project.
Now in its 10th year, the group features original members Neville, Nick Daniels and Tony Hall (both bass players), Neville’s guitarist cousin Ian Neville and, following Raymond Weber’s departure, drummer Nikki Glaspie.
Since the band’s stage debut at Jazz Fest, the heavy-hitting Dumpstaphunk has played its hybrid of funk, rhythm-and-blues, rock and traditional New Orleans music at many other festivals, including Bonnaroo, Voodoo Experience, Hangout, the Monterey Jazz Festival and Canada’s Royal Bank Bluesfest.
The new, guest star-filed Dumpstaphunk album, “Dirty Word,” gets an international release this summer.
Dave Matthews Band
Acura Stage, 5 p.m.
The Dave Matthews Band’s four-LP vinyl box set, “Live Trax 1: 12.8.1998 The Centrum Worcester, MA,” was among last weekend’s most coveted Record Store Day releases. Record Store Day is the day when record companies make limited-edition vinyl releases available to independent record stores throughout the world.
The indie spirit that Record Store Day acknowledges echoes the Dave Matthews Band’s beginnings in Charlottesville, Va. Formed in 1991, the band played residency gigs at two Virginia clubs. It expanded its range via dates along the East Coast and a spot on the H.O.R.D.E. tour.
Producer Steve Lillywhite (the Rolling Stones, U2) guided the Dave Matthews Band’s 1994 debut for RCA Records, “Under The Table and Dreaming.” The album eventually sold 6 million copies. Its follow-up, 1996’s “Crash,” featured the Grammy-winning “So Much To Say.” Lillywhite returned to helm the Dave Matthews Band’s 2012 album, “Away From The World.” It entered the Billboard Top 200 albums chart at No. 1, making the band the first in chart history to have six consecutive studio albums debut at No. 1.
Well on his way to being a New Orleans institution, Kermit Ruffins is a 21st-century singer, trumpeter and entertainer who exuberantly carries on the city’s deep musical traditions.
A co-founder of the Rebirth Brass Band and subsequent solo artist, Ruffins and his Barbecue Swingers band perform frequently at local venues and festivals, including Jazz Fest and the French Quarter Festival. His latest album, “We Partyin’ Traditional Style!” released by local label Basin Street Records, includes classics “Careless Love,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,” local anthem “When the Saints Go Marching In” and, a Ruffins original, “Treme Second Line.”