Vets strike right tune at jazz fair in New Orleans

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Vets strike right tune at jazz fair in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - At 101 years old, New Orleans jazz trumpeter Lionel Ferbos opened one of 12 stages on the second day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Billy Joel brought the crowds and ended Day 2.

Couples danced and some sang along to old jazz standards such as “Back Home in Indiana” and “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” on Saturday.

Ferbos is believed to be the oldest actively working musician in the city. He performs regularly at the Palm Court Jazz Club in the French Quarter. “He epitomizes New Orleans,” said New Orleans resident Medora Monigold, a Jazz Fest veteran and fan of Ferbos. “In a day where the elders are not respected, he reminds us that wisdom and talent can exist at any age.”

Maryruth Senechal, of Hartford, Connecticut, said Ferbos was excellent. Senechal and her husband, Jean-Guy, have attended Jazz Fest 14 times and spend most of the festival at the jazz tent, where other acts for the day included trumpeter and singer Wendell Brunious and singer-pianist Tim Laughlin.

On one of the bigger stages, the brass band Bonerama jammed before a crowd of thousands under sunny skies and a gentle breeze that broke through the warm temperatures.

“The sky is smiling upon us,” said Quint Davis, the festival’s producer. “We do it rain or shine, but we reach the spirit and zenith when in the sunshine.” Davis said Friday’s opening day saw bigger crowds than last year.

That trend seemed to continue Saturday as thousands packed the grass spaces in front of the festival’s largest stage to hear the day’s final performer, Joel, who opened his set with “Movin’ Out.” He told the crowd that New York hurt with New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. “After Hurricane Sandy, we’re taking inspiration from you guys,” he said. He also did his classics, “Only the Good Die Young” and “Piano Man.”

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