The Roots rock Jazz Fest

The Roots, rap's greatest live band, didn't bring M.I.A. on stage Saturday at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (big rumor going 'round town) but did an innovative rendition of "Masters of War" that left me spellbound. The Philly hip-hop ensemble mashed the lyrics of Bob Dylan's classic anti-war screed — sung in a clear, high tenor by Roots guitarist Captain Krik Douglas — to the "Star Spangled Banner" melody. Roots drummer/bandleader Questlove banged out a military style march rhythm and then engaged in killer interplay with sousaphone player Damon "Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson . I was able to watch/photograph The Roots' performance at the Congo Square stage from backstage thanks to my Crescent City buddy Tommy hooking me up with an invitation from Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu to the "My Louisiana Hospitality Center."

Here are some pics. Gotta run to catch the Raconteurs and Big Easy ambassadors the Neville Brothers, which will be closing Jazz Fest and making their first performance in New Orleans post-Katrina.

Roots' guitar hero Captain Kirk Douglas.

Hip-hop's best drummer, Questlove.

Douglas and Black Thought (The Roots' MC).

Questlove with sousaphone player Damon "Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson.

War Chief Juan & Young Fire Saturday at the Jazz & Heritage stage.

Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas Saturday at the Fais Do Do stage.

The food at Jazz Fest is as good as the music, especially the pheasant-quail-andouille gumbo.

The mud didn't stop folks from dancing at the Fais Do Do stage.

Hard at work this morning at my brother Joel's place in New Orleans' Uptown neighborhood. Photo by Joel Tatangelo.

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