August 22, 2008
There are reasons not to see Bob Dylan at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival. You won’t be able to sing along with any of the songs; given Dylan’s articulation and the way he rearranges the tunes, you’ll be lucky to recognize any of the songs before he’s halfway through them. Worse, Dylan doesn’t play guitar, and if he was going to abandon the instrument, he should have done it in favor of harmonica rather than keyboard. But these are far outweighed by the facts that Dylan has been on a spiritual upswing for a decade or more; his new songs, of which he plays many, are outstanding; and, at 67, he may not be making many more swings through these parts. (Though the smart money has him joining the ranks of the bluesmen who live, and tour, till they drop.) And there is the overwhelming argument that he is Bob Dylan ” incomparable, immortal, and worth seeing even on his worst day. He headlines on Saturday, Aug. 30.
Stanton Moore has been a stalwart on several Jazz Aspen-related stages. He has thrown down heavy rhythms on the Labor Day Fest main stage as the drummer of New Orleans jazz-funk band Galactic. In fact, as the only New Orleans native in Galactic, Moore is the essential element in the Galactic groove. Last year, he was part of Garage a Trois, whose avant-jazz sound made for a remarkable JAS After Dark show at Belly Up. Moore returns this year to lead his Stanton Moore Trio ” featuring guitarist Will Bernard, and Greyboy Allstars keyboardist Robert Walter ” in a few sets in the Outside Music Lounge on Friday, Aug. 29. Other acts meriting the short walk away from the main event: hip-hop/funk act Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band; Austin country-leaning band Twanguero; and Boulder’s Sambadende, playing a Brazilian-inspired sound.
We already know that New Orleans is filled with great musicians. But did every last one of them have to be packed into the lineup for the New Orleans Traveling Road Show, a benefit for several New Orleans-based organizations dedicated to cleaning up (still!) from Katrina, and preventing another such disaster. The bill is endless: bluesman Tab Benoit, the Soul Rebels Brass Band, funkman Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, and singer-songwriter Anders Osborne, who was born in Sweden and reborn in Louisiana. And others. But the main attractions are George Porter Jr., Leo Nocentelli and Zigaboo Modeliste ” three quarters of the original Meters, the ultimate funk band, who reunite for the occasion. And if the New Orleans beat isn’t your thing, there are a few outsiders sharing the stage, including Widespread Panic keyboardist JoJo Herman, and Woody Creeker John Oates. The show is Wednesday, Aug. 27, at Belly Up, and the real potential hero is the tour manager who makes this thing run smoothly. Or not.