The Energy and the Images that are Jazz Fest and Beyond - Photo Gallery / by Zack Smith

Amidst the crowds and logos and branding there is magic, mystery and tons of moments during Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Louisiana. ©Zack Smith Photography 2017

Amidst the crowds and logos and branding there is magic, mystery and tons of moments during Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Louisiana. ©Zack Smith Photography 2017

Jazz Fest means so much to so many people and I hope you enjoy this photo gallery of what it means to me as an observer of the inside scoop and witness to the tantalizing fringe.The name "Jazz Fest" (all caps of course, Amen.) in New Orleans is now synonymous with an over reaching 24 hour a day, 10 day work week of music, moments, and more music. During the fairgrounds portion of this music marathon, the Mid City/Bayou St. John neighborhood gets over run with daytime wafting decibels. At night, the countless clubs, bars, and faubourg haunts carry multiple musical acts and sunrise shows to be remembered and soon dubbed "legendary". But what happens during these watershed moments are the hours spent in recording studios, rehearsal halls, and off the beaten path venues that makes Jazz Fest legendary. Musicians flock to New Orleans to play a gig or two, or ten but you can find them recording in local studios and taking part in very non-traditional music happenings around town.

During the course of this years Jazz Fest Season I had the pleasure of photographing for a different department at Jazz Fest thus finding new moments and new angles for what I thought was an overshot fest. I was wrong. There are so many undiscovered views that uncover themselves when looked at with new eyes. Photographing the world around us with a fresh set of eyes, a new perspective, can often lead to new discoveries. 

As part of my ongoing portrait series at The New Orleans Airlift Music Box, I was able to photograph Mike Dillon's New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium and Dustan Louque's Dub Down Babylon, all with amazing performers and special guests. During this festival season I was also asked to document an epic recording session from local transplant blues man, Seth Walker. The session was done at The Music Shed and featured the legendary New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich, New York jazz organist John Medeski, and bassist Myles Weeks.

I hope you enjoy this gallery from 10 days of festival life, love, and magic moments!

ALL IMAGES ©Zack Smith Photography and may not be used outside of this gallery. If you like the images, share the gallery! If you're in the image, send me an email! zack@zacksmith.com

At the ceremonial sound of the bell, the Fairgrounds opens at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as crowds race to claim their coveted spot on the lawn.

At the ceremonial sound of the bell, the Fairgrounds opens at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as crowds race to claim their coveted spot on the lawn.

Yvonne Grant dances to Jonathan Batiste and Stay Human at her first Jazz Fest

Yvonne Grant dances to Jonathan Batiste and Stay Human at her first Jazz Fest

Visiting country Cuba brought many musicians to Jazz Fest, Conga Los Hoyos was an amazing percussion group that played and marched many times.

Visiting country Cuba brought many musicians to Jazz Fest, Conga Los Hoyos was an amazing percussion group that played and marched many times.

Visiting country Cuba brought many musicians to Jazz Fest, Conga Los Hoyos was an amazing percussion group that played and marched many times.

Visiting country Cuba brought many musicians to Jazz Fest, Conga Los Hoyos was an amazing percussion group that played and marched many times.

Big Chief Juan Pardo and the Golden Comanche Indians backstage at the Jazz and Heritage Stage on Friday, April 28th

Big Chief Juan Pardo and the Golden Comanche Indians backstage at the Jazz and Heritage Stage on Friday, April 28th

I documented the progression of muralist Roberto Guerra Hechaverria as he painted in a mural near the Cuba Pavillion.

I documented the progression of muralist Roberto Guerra Hechaverria as he painted in a mural near the Cuba Pavillion.

Muralist Roberto Guerra Hechaverria painting at Jazz Fest 2017.

Muralist Roberto Guerra Hechaverria painting at Jazz Fest 2017.

New Orleans muralist and poster artist BMike, Brandon Odums,  poses in front of his original painting of New Orleans musician Jonathan Batiste.

New Orleans muralist and poster artist BMike, Brandon Odums,  poses in front of his original painting of New Orleans musician Jonathan Batiste.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. The Cubes tell all...

Decisions, decisions, decisions. The Cubes tell all...

Dance where you can, under the stars or under the trees. 

Dance where you can, under the stars or under the trees. 

The Original Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club march with The Chosen Ones Brass Band through the pathways of Jazz Fest.

The Original Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club march with The Chosen Ones Brass Band through the pathways of Jazz Fest.

The Original Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club march with The Chosen Ones Brass Band through the pathways of Jazz Fest.

The Original Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club march with The Chosen Ones Brass Band through the pathways of Jazz Fest.

The Original Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club march with The Chosen Ones Brass Band through the pathways of Jazz Fest.

The Original Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club march with The Chosen Ones Brass Band through the pathways of Jazz Fest.

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Muralist Roberto Guerra Hechaverria continues his mural at Jazz Fest 2017.

Muralist Roberto Guerra Hechaverria continues his mural at Jazz Fest 2017.

Roberto Guerra Hechaverria continues his mural...

Roberto Guerra Hechaverria continues his mural...

Members of the Uptown Swingers SAPC prepare backstage at the Economy Hall tent on Saturday, April 29th.

Members of the Uptown Swingers SAPC prepare backstage at the Economy Hall tent on Saturday, April 29th.

Jonathan Batiste and Stay Human perform on the Acura Stage.

Jonathan Batiste and Stay Human perform on the Acura Stage.

Participants rush into the Gentilly entrance of Jazz Fest on Saturday, April 29th. I achieved this effect by using a 4 stop neutral density filter which allowed me to choose a longer shutter speed but not overexpose the images. I used a tripod as well.

Participants rush into the Gentilly entrance of Jazz Fest on Saturday, April 29th. I achieved this effect by using a 4 stop neutral density filter which allowed me to choose a longer shutter speed but not overexpose the images. I used a tripod as well.

MUSIC BOX PORTRAITS: An ongoing Story

Take a short break from Jazz Fest and enjoy some Portraits from the Music Box. I have been documenting every artist that has been featured at the New Orleans Airlift's new home in the 9th Ward. Each group that comes through, I coordinate with them to create unique portraits which feature the amazing artistry of Music Box Village and the personalities of the musicians. The goal is to create a unique document of the special collaborations of music, sculpture, and moments.

Tiff Lamson of GIVERS performs with Mike Dillon's New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium (MDsNOPRPC) at The New Orleans Airlift's Music Box Village.

Tiff Lamson of GIVERS performs with Mike Dillon's New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium (MDsNOPRPC) at The New Orleans Airlift's Music Box Village.

Band leader MIke Dillon directs and plays w/ the NOPRPC at The Music Box

Band leader MIke Dillon directs and plays w/ the NOPRPC at The Music Box

Mark Southerland at The Music Box playing the telephone...yes, it plays.

Mark Southerland at The Music Box playing the telephone...yes, it plays.

Clint Maedgen sings as Mike D shows his famous evil face on vibes...

Clint Maedgen sings as Mike D shows his famous evil face on vibes...

Behold: The musicians of Mike Dillon's New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium: Tiff Lamson, Brian Haas, Simon Berz, Paul Thibodeaux, Mark Southerland, Mike Dillon, Andre Bohren, Clint Maedgen, Steven Montalvo, Otto Schrang and much much more!

 

Dustan Louque's DUB DOWN BABYLON featuring Nels Cline

The Dub Down Babylon musicians at the Music Box

The Dub Down Babylon musicians at the Music Box

Dustan is an old friend, and when asked if he could do a portrait with a gas mask, i said yes before he finished his sentence!

Dustan is an old friend, and when asked if he could do a portrait with a gas mask, i said yes before he finished his sentence!

I had never met or photographed Nels Cline of Wilco, and it was an honor to meet and shoot this gentle soul!

I had never met or photographed Nels Cline of Wilco, and it was an honor to meet and shoot this gentle soul!

I have enjoyed Leyla McCalla's voice and music for so long, thank you AGAIN to the Music Box for bringing this portrait of a wonderful human together...

I have enjoyed Leyla McCalla's voice and music for so long, thank you AGAIN to the Music Box for bringing this portrait of a wonderful human together...

Blato Zlato, Margaret Hebert, Rob Cambre, Eric Heigle, Josh Werner, and Simon Berz round out the Dub Down Babylon set!

seth Walker Recording Session feat: John Medeski, Johnny Vidacovich and Myles Weeks at The music Shed Studios!

Engineer and producer Ben Lorio with John Medeski, Myles Weeks, Seth Walker and Johnny Vidacovich

Engineer and producer Ben Lorio with John Medeski, Myles Weeks, Seth Walker and Johnny Vidacovich

Seth Walker and John Medeski

Seth Walker and John Medeski

Johnny Vidacovich and Seth Walker

Johnny Vidacovich and Seth Walker

John Medeski - I had never photographed Mr. Medeski outside of a live show setting, and this was a truly unique moment to watch this master at work!

John Medeski - I had never photographed Mr. Medeski outside of a live show setting, and this was a truly unique moment to watch this master at work!

Watching another master at work - Mr. Johnny Vidacovich. Here Seth and Myles listen as Johnny explains the difference between horizontal and vertical rhythm. Yes, we went there.

Watching another master at work - Mr. Johnny Vidacovich. Here Seth and Myles listen as Johnny explains the difference between horizontal and vertical rhythm. Yes, we went there.

Myles Weeks

Myles Weeks

Back to Jazz Fest! Images from Friday, May 5th

FINISHED!

FINISHED!

Musician Jason Marsalis sits out on stage right during a solo by his keyboard player at the Jazz Tent.

Musician Jason Marsalis sits out on stage right during a solo by his keyboard player at the Jazz Tent.

Dancers do their thing, all day long, at the Fais Do Do stage at Jazz Fest. 

Dancers do their thing, all day long, at the Fais Do Do stage at Jazz Fest. 

Musicians Tiffany Lamson and Kelli Jones-Savoy step out at the Fais Do Do stage for some Cajun and Zydeco good times.

Musicians Tiffany Lamson and Kelli Jones-Savoy step out at the Fais Do Do stage for some Cajun and Zydeco good times.

Musician Jon Gross post show at Economy Hall!

Musician Jon Gross post show at Economy Hall!

Nathan Williams of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas GET DOWN all the way down at the Fais Do Do stage!

Nathan Williams of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas GET DOWN all the way down at the Fais Do Do stage!

New Generation Brass Band with Lady and Men Rollers and Scene Boosters SAPC

New Generation Brass Band with Lady and Men Rollers and Scene Boosters SAPC

New Generation Brass Band with Lady and Men Rollers and Scene Boosters SAPC

New Generation Brass Band with Lady and Men Rollers and Scene Boosters SAPC

The Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club at Jazz Fest 2017

The Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club at Jazz Fest 2017

The Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club at Jazz Fest 2017

The Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club at Jazz Fest 2017

Trumpet and Keyboard player Michael Girardot performs over a sea of people at the Acura Stage of Jazz Fest 2017

Trumpet and Keyboard player Michael Girardot performs over a sea of people at the Acura Stage of Jazz Fest 2017

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Trap and net maker Kernis Huval from Sunset, LA

Trap and net maker Kernis Huval from Sunset, LA

Big Chief Juan Pardo and Big Queen Anndrea Y. Pardo of the Golden Comanches march on Jazz Fest

Big Chief Juan Pardo and Big Queen Anndrea Y. Pardo of the Golden Comanches march on Jazz Fest