New Orleans Music License mixed with old-school players and piano masters – with just a pinch of prominence – for a hit-filled "Tribute to Fats Domino" on Saturday (April 28) at the New Orleans Jazz Fest.
The show paid tribute to Domino, a lifelong New Orleanian who ruled the R & B and pop charts from 1949 to the early 1960s with many of the hits on Saturday. (See list below.)
He died on October 24 at the age of 89; and had been too ill to perform for some time.
Deacon John Moore launched the dance party, organized by Gregory Davis, co-founder of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, on Acura Stage shortly before 2pm with "Going to the River," a remarkably exuberant interpretation of the song about Heartbreak and Suicide. Impeccably dressed in a linen jacket with dark blue trousers, a fedora with striped ribbon, and a gardenia on the lapel, he gave "All By Myself" a spin when New Orleans musician Al starred "Lil Fats" Jackson Steinway
If If you just squint a little bit, Jackson looks like the Fat Man with his ringed fingers and the round baby face. He often plays tribute shows for Domino.
The Fats Domino Orchestra consisted of horn players, bassists and guitarists who played dominoes throughout his career, as well as younger New Orleans musicians such as trombonist Sam "Big Sam" Williams and drummer Shannon Powell
The tribute show followed a second line earlier in the afternoon to unveil the Fats Domino Ahnentotem, which was added to the collection of ancestors whose painted wooden statues pay tribute to the musicians and cultural bearers
Davis introduced the show and gave Dave Bartholomew, who was not present at the festival but Domino "discovered", a rich chapter in the musical and rock & roll history of New Orleans. The two wrote together, Bartholomew produced records that sold millions
The pianist Davell Crawford, who was a pop of color with short-cut fuchsia hair and a dazzling paisley jacket he could borrow from Allen Toussaint about two such hits who trained the piano on "Four Winds Blow" and "I'm Ready".
He returned in support of Irma Thomas, who slowed things down with a life lesson about dealing with something a stray man before she sang an in-the-groove version of "I Hear You Knockin." (Shannon Powell answered this line each time with sharp envelopes on his drums.) She gently lowered the neckline on her top-free top – with pictures of flowers and records – and told the stray guy, "While you were away …, I decided Before I go to Blueberry Hill, I pick myself up for Blueberry Hill.
Sometimes, a quiet moment in a Rock'n'Roll Show can grab the attention of a crowd, and pianist Jonathan Batiste did just that as he entered played a beautiful solo piano solo that calmed the crowd before breaking into a rousing version of "Is not That a Shame" – a highlight of the tribute show.
Pianist Jon Cleary joined Bonnie Raitt for a duet of "All By Myself ", which Raitt has sent to both Domino and to the late saxophonist Charles Neville, one of the Neville Brothers, who died on Thursday.