Day Three (Sunday, April 24, 2016) of the 2016 New Orleans jazz Fest. This will be our last day at the festival as we leave for home the next day. The festival, of course will continue the following weekend without us. But being such fans of vocal harmony, we couldn’t miss this day at the Gospel Tent, as three of our favorite New Orleans area Gospel quartets are singing – the Rocks of Harmony, the Electrifying Crown Seekers and the Zion Harmonizers. The weather was again fabulous. It was a sunny 80 degrees with low humidity. This time we arrived as early as we could because the Rocks of Harmony were on first. In past Jazz Fests, the Gospel Tent was always our favorite place to be. There were chairs to sit in and the tent protected us from the hot sun or pouring rain, depending on the day. Getting to the tent early also meant we had our pick of choice seats.
The Rocks Of Harmony did not disappoint. The group has been together for 66 years. They soon had the audience on their feet with rousing numbers like “What A Wonderful Change,” “Jesus Made A Way” and “I Got Shoes”. They slowed things down with “God Is So Wonderful” (the title song from one of their CD’s) and “Amazing Grace” and then again brough the audience to their feet with “By The Grace Of God That I’m Still Here” and “God’s Got The Power”. While in the Gospel Tent we ran into some old friends, Peggy & Jim, from Missouri. What a small world!
We’d never seen the next group, the Electrifying Crown Seekers, before, but the YouTubes we’d seen of them demonstrated incredible harmony so we knew they’d be good. The started with a great harmony rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” followed by the equally fine “No Time To Lose”. The Crown Seekers could also bring the audience to their feet with uptempo songs like “Jesus Is Coming To Town” and “Jesus Jesus”. But one of the (many) outstanding moments of the Jazz Fest was their version of “Walk Around Heaven All Day” Sung with three high tenors, the song reminded us all of the Violinaires!
Next we stopped by the Allison Miner Musical Heritage Stage to see gospel singer CeCe Winas being interviewed by Joyce Jackson. After grabbing something for lunch, we wandered the Festival, ending up at the memorial to Jazz Fest ancestors by the Congo Square Stage. The area features painted wooden cutouts of festival legends like Danny Barker, Al Hurt, Marva Wright and Gatemouth Brown. The latest addition was a cutout of Allen Toussaint, the famous songwriter, producer and musician who died last year.
We eventually worked our way through the crowds, back to the Gospel Tent, to catch the legendary Zion Harmonizers. The Zion Harmonizers group was founded in 1939. We’d seen the Zion Harmonizers perform before, as they’ve sung at every one of the 47 annual New Orleans Jazz Fests. They were again in fine form. They opened with “Anybody Here” and then went into a harmony rendition of “America The Beautiful”. The excitement built as the group began “I’ll Fly Away” with the lead singer coming off the stage and walking through the audience. He was followed by a procession of fans as he moved down the aisles. It was a wild scene.
On our way out, we paused to catch part of Taj Mahal’s act. Then it was back on the shuttle for the trip to the hotel. That last evening in New Orleans we had dinner with our friends Carl Tancredi and Jim Bakay at the Louisiana Bistro in the French Quarter. New Orleans is a fabulous music town. We may be back.
Click on the first photo to enlarge it and then use the side arrows to go to each photo in order. See posts from Days One and Two from our What’s New Page.