JAZZFEST REVIEW: Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

Rain held off at New Orleans Jazz Fest on Thursday morning, letting sousaphone star Kirk Joseph share his New Orleans roots with fans at the Acura Stage. A founding member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Joseph led his own ensemble, Back Yard Groove, through a program of dense, bottom-shaking funk, anchored by his big silver horn.

On Thursday (May 2), Backyard Groove ran about as deep as the Mississippi River, with two trap drummers, two percussionists, a savvy two-man horn section, and a guitarist with a taste for chunky riffs and minimalist melodic fragments. Joseph also turned the spotlight on Kyle Roussel, a young keyboard star who made waves at the Jazz Tent this past weekend.

Vocalist Leslie Smith sailed over the band like an acrobat on a trampoline — and the dancing soul diva was joined for a brief guest spot by Cue, a Treme neighborhood vocal talent.

Sousaphone star Kirk Joseph led his funk jam band, Backyard Groove, through a morning set at the Acura Stage of the New Orleans Jazz Fest on Thursday, May 2, 2013.

For anyone starting their day at the Acura Stage, Joseph’s band gave a delightful lesson in the pan-African pleasures of New Orleans music. The show was especially suited for anyone with a taste for melismatic vocal flights, driving call-and-response structures, and the extended jams of Fela Kuti and Miles Davis circa 1973.

Chris Waddington, NOLA.com