Jazz Fest Festivities: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
With Jazz Fest right around the corner, I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that choosing music to check out after hours has proven quite difficult. Each day has brought with it the announcement of numerous new and stellar musical offerings, resulting in an impressively large and seemingly ever-growing pool from which to choose (check out Jazz Fest Grids for the most comprehensive database of scheduled shows). Truth be told, with two weeks yet to pass before my NOLA adventure begins, I have already changed my mind so often that if my head were to begin spinning, it would come as no surprise at all.
But from day one, I knew one thing for certain: I would not leave the Crescent City without seeing Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.
Troy “Trombone Shorty” Evans is anything but a stranger to New Orleans. Born and raised in the historic neighborhood of Treme, home to one of the oldest African American communities in the country and widely considered the cultural heart of the city, Evans led his first brass band at age six and began recording at age sixteen. He later attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). He’s pure NOLA, and he hasn’t forgotten where he came from, even after countless widely televised performances such as their most recent appearance at half time during the NBA All-Star Game. Take a trip to horn heaven with this video of what went down that night:
I’ve seen Trombone Shorty perform, and regardless of the location, I always recommend checking out the brass attack he and his band execute. But I’ve never seen them throw down in their stomping grounds. And during a time when musical friends from both home and afar will all gather there? A performance during the Jazz Fest season no doubt will be a special treat.
I knew when I began planning that I wouldn’t catch the band at Jazz Fest proper – I’ll be leaving before this brass monolith of jazz-funk fusion closes out the mainstage on the fest’s final day. So when the announcement came that they would perform two nights at House of Blues New Orleans, I couldn’t have been happier. April 25th and 26th, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will take the stage, with New Breed Brass Band opening both evenings. Find tickets here.
As I have already mentioned, Troy Evans is committed to his hometown, and one of the many ways he gives back is Shorty Fest, a benefit which he will be putting on during the weeks of Jazz Fest for the second year in a row. The event will begin at 8pm on May 1 and will include performances by Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue as well as a number of fellow NOLA brass bands and emerging young musicians. All proceeds will go toward Evans’ Trombone Shorty Foundation, which provides New Orleans youth with educational opportunities in music and music business, with the goal of passing down the rich music culture of the birthplace of Jazz to the city’s next generation of musicians. Find out more about the event here.
Definitely plan for one of this band’s four performances during the 2014 Jazz Fest season – this incredibly talented NOLA staple should NOT be missed during a trip to the Big Easy, especially not this time of year!