Jazz Fest and the Hornets

Published: May 1, 2010

While at Jazz Fest the other day, I came to the realization that the Hornets and the festival have quite a few things in common. Some, like my friends Johnny, Jim, and Jack, might even say that the team could be compared to Jazz Fest.

Peja Stojakovic is Art Garfunkel

Both are classic entertainers, albeit in totally different ways. Each is on the tail end of their respective careers, and are obviously being paid for what they did in the past. It’s still a pleasure to watch them both play, but it’s mostly because you might catch a glimpse of what made them so special to begin with. A bit of nostalgia, if you will.

James Posey is Van Morrison

Both are past their prime, still playing, and completely and totally unpredictable. One day, Van Morrison will put on one of his best shows in years, and then two weeks later he plays uninspired music for 45 minutes when the show is scheduled to run for 90. Posey isn’t too far off. He managed two game winners on last second plays, and then managed to totally and completely botch another one by doing a jump spin pass at mid court. Yeah, you know the play I’m talking about. For both guys, less impressive outings have been outnumbering the solid ones as of late.

Which Van Morrison will show up tomorrow? Guess we will have to wait and see.


Julian Wright is Bounce Extravaganza

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the style of bounce, it’s pretty much an authentic New Orleans style of dance that involves shaking your butt as fast as you can. At first it looks fun, exciting, and something that you will get much, much better at with a little practice. After a few years of trying every so often (much like Julian), you realize that you aren’t any better. You still don’t have the rhythm, you still make mistakes, and what little improvements you do make are entirely negated by how much more beer (cash for JuJu) you drank this year than last.


Byron Scott is Aretha Franklin

What do these two celebrities have in common? Neither one of them showed up this year. ZING! Seriously though, Byron will probably be back coaching next year, just like Aretha will be back singing.


Jeff Bower is Earth Wind and Fire

Just as the band covered for a missing Aretha Franklin, Jeff Bower replaced Byron Scott. Although neither was particularly prepared for what they faced, both were able to stick to the basics and preform relatively well given the circumstances. There was much disappointment in the crowds, as the audience had expected a better performance, but both fared pretty well, all things considered.


Marcus Thornton is Trombone Shorty

Louisiana born and raised, both Troy (Trombone Shorty) and Buckets have made quite a bit of noise in their respective fields. Trombone Shorty is probably the top up and coming musician in New Orleans today. He’s rather unique in that trombonists generally don’t make a big splash nationwide. He’s equally adept at trumpet. Likewise, Marcus Thornton is probably the top scorer in New Orleans today, but came out of relative obscurity in the second round.

The biggest similarity that I see are that both are quite literally all over the place. Marcus might get his jollies from scoring, but he plays some point, snags big offensive rebounds, makes killer blocks, and posterizes Gerald Wallace. Troy heads his own band, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, but shows up just about anywhere music is played. At a Hornets game last season, he switched instruments from trombone to drums and quite literally rocked out. It reminds me a bit of how Marcus just started playing PG, no questions asked.

The fans love them both and fortunately enough, each is grounded enough to still be real, honest men outside of their professional lives (I don’t know that for sure about Marcus, but everything I have heard leads me to believe it).


Aaron Gray is Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers

Kermit Ruffins, for those of you who don’t know, is the original trumpet player for Rebirth Brass Band. He’s also rather well known in New Orleans for BBQing during many of his shows. I just can’t help but think that Aaron Gray would like to enjoy life just like Kermit does, eating BBQ, playing, and um… chilling.


David West is The Radiators

Having now seen the Radiators play a dozen times, and David West play at least a couple hundred, it’s safe to say that neither one brings it every night. Don’t get me wrong, both are very good performers, but you just know that some nights you won’t be getting the best of them, and other nights, you will be wowed.

Take David West’s performances against Houston- 30 points, 9 boards, and 4 assists per game. At his best, he’s one of the best guys on the court, but then sometimes he seems to lose focus and just not care too much.

The Radiatiors are the same way. Take their yearly show at M.O.M.’s ball, held by the Krewe of Mystic Orphans and Misfits. For that show, they are absolutely incredible. Truly a spectacle to see, and one of the most amazing shows of the entire year. Two weeks before that though, I watched them stink up the stage at Tipitina’s.

I can’t help but think that if David West brought he fire every night, the Hornets would be a much, much better team, just like the Radiators.


Darren Collison is Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk

The main reason for this comparison is that both play second fiddle. Both were completely ready when they started out on their own, Darren having played 4 years and UCLA, and Ivan having played with his entire talented family. Regardless, it took some time for the public to catch on to how incredibly skilled both are. Darren took the NBA by storm this year, filling in for an injured Chris Paul and finished fourth in ROY voting. Ivan has been putting on awesome performances for quite some time now.

When you think of New Orleans point guard, you think of Chris Paul.

When you think of Neville, you think of the brothers.


Emeka Okafor is My Morning Jacket

What you have here is someone filling in a niche. Jazz Fest needs a band like My Morning Jacket every year, not because they are particularly talented, but because they pull a certain demographic. They are overpaid considering the quality of their music, much like Okafor. Unfortunately there are certain positions that must be filled and sometimes it costs more to fill those than others.


Darius Songaila is The Fairgrounds

Let’s be real. What you get for your 60 dollar ticket is access to walk around on a soaking wet, horse poop covered field. With Songaila you wind up with a power forward who can’t score, rebound, pass, dribble, play defense, or look pretty. I’ve said it before, but a 19 foot jumper just can’t be your go-to move.


There are a few more guys, but nothing comes to mind for them, so if you have any idea, please do tell.

Chris Paul, Mo-P, Marks, Diogu (Aretha is taken), Tim Floyd?

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