Excitement is in the air this Friday, November 4, 2022 at MPAC in Morristown, NJ as music lovers await a live concert by Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.
Says Di from Hamilton about Trombone Shorty, “I’m a fan! My husband and I have seen him twice. His music has lots of spirit and rhythm, and he’s a great blues player, too.” Husband Paul agrees, adding, “We’re music appreciators and Trombone Shorty always gets the most out of his top-notch band.”
Reveals Dennis from Pine Hill, “We’ve wanted to see Trombone Shorty for a while and tonight will be our first time. He plays trombone and trumpet, and he’s a trombone prodigy; he’s been playing it since he was a little kid. He’s known for using a technique called circular breathing which enables him to hold out a single note on his trombone for a really long time.”
Comments Ashley from Scotch Plains, “We’re huge fans of Shorty; we’ve seen him about five or six times. He plays what I’d call funk/soul, and his music is definitely up-tempo. He’s also very personable and his show is so much fun you don’t sit down the whole concert.” Ashley’s husband, Mike, concurs, declaring, “Trombone Shorty has the most musically talented band I’ve ever heard. In addition to playing instruments, Shorty writes his own music and sings, too. Plus, his band is so energetic; they’re some of the best musicians in the world, and we just love them!”
The house lights dim, stage lights rise, and the audience cheers as the nine members of Orleans Avenue — vocalist Tracci Lee, tenor saxophonist BK Jackson, baritone saxophonist Dan Oestreicher, keyboardist Brandon Butler, guitarists Pete Murano and Josh Connelly, bassist DJ Raymond, and drummers Joey Peebles and Alvin Ford, Jr. — take the stage and begin to play the slow and brassy “Laveau Dirge №1.”
The crowd hoots and hollers as Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews enters holding his trombone and trumpet triumphantly in the air. With Shorty on trombone, the band shifts into the high energy funk tune, “Buckjump,” which soars as the musicians dance around the stage to the infectious beat. Shorty wails downstage on his trombone as the music envelopes the audience, bringing cheers from the crowd as music lovers feed off the energy coming from the band.
Shorty exclaims, “We’re partying! Get up! Come on,” and the crowd rises to its feet clapping in time to the music as the musicians segue into the R&B-infused Meters cover, “It Ain’t No Use.” Shorty wails, “Ain’t no use to cut you loose/I wouldn’t last a day,” as Tracci Lee joins in singing and Shorty and his musicians dance back and forth as they play.
BK Jackson plays a hot, rhythmic, and bluesy funk tenor sax solo. Then, Shorty dances while Jackson plays, getting the crowd clapping again.
Music lovers whistle and scream and Shorty responds by asking, “Are we ready to party tonight?”
Trombone and saxes are featured on the mysterious and funky “Where It At.” After crooning the song’s “Give me my heart back” refrain, Shorty wails on a trombone solo with vibrato, style, and technique. Guitars rhythmically compliment Shorty’s sliding tones as lights flash in time to the music.
The crowd cheers as guitarist Josh Connelly solos with lightning speed at the edge of the stage.
On the rockin’ “Lifted,” Shorty sings, “Get lifted, baby/But don’t you float away,” before engaging in a high-energy call and response with tenor saxophonist BK Jackson.
Shorty surprises the MPAC crowd when he comes down into the audience playing trombone along with bari sax player, Dan Oestreicher. While the band cooks on stage, audience members stand and cheer as Shorty and Oestreicher parade throughout the theater. Returning to the stage, the saxophonists and drummers duel before Shorty sings again to enthusiastic whistles and cheers.
“We love you!” exclaims Shorty as the band segues into “I’m Standing Here.”
Following a brassy intro reminiscent of The Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post,” Shorty and Tracci sing, “But I’m standing (standing) here (here)/And I’m ready (ready), have no fear (fear).” Oestreicher stands center stage where Shorty challenges him to play his bari sax as low as he can before Shorty engages in a call and response with the audience saying, “If you’re feeling alright, everybody say ‘yeah’/(‘yeah’)” to enthusiastic cheers and applause.
Shorty says, “We’re gonna keep the party going!” as he and the band launch into “The Craziest Things.” On this funky jazz-rocker, audience members sing along on the “Your love will make me do the craziest things” refrain. Shorty’s trombone solo brings yelps of joy from the crowd before he plays his trombone in unison with DJ Raymond’s bass.
After calming things down, Raymond solos low and resonant on his bass and then duels with Shorty on his trombone. The pair plays back and forth bringing cheers from the appreciative crowd each time they go lower and lower. Shorty’s use of circular breathing elicits hoots and hollers from music lovers who stand for his long, long, long note before BK Jackson is featured on the tenor sax to audience whistles and cheers.
Shorty gets everyone to stand up and chant together on George Clinton’s “We Want the Funk.”
Segueing into the funky “One Night Only,” Shorty plays trumpet before singing the song’s infectious “I had you all night long/I knew it all right when I asked your name” refrain. Trumpet and saxes jam together before Shorty exclaims, “New Jersey! Say ‘I wanna rock right now/Rock, rock, right now.’” The crowd happily complies and Shorty and Tracci Lee sing together downstage amidst the party atmosphere. Audience members dance at their seats while the band members groove and strut their stuff across the stage.
On the ensemble’s final number, the power funk tune, “Come Back,” Shorty announces, “From New Jersey, guitarist Pete Murano!”
Everyone in the band steps together dancing behind Murano as he electrifies on an extended guitar solo, bringing hoots and hollers from the Jersey crowd. Shorty and Tracci sing, “Since you’ve been away/I’ve been hurting/Since you’ve been away/Come back, baby,” the crowd cheers, and Shorty exclaims, “We love you!” before he and Orleans Avenue exit the stage.
The crowd roars for more and Shorty and the band return to perform an encore medley which starts off with the rhythmic “Hurricane Season.”
The band segues into the rockin’ “Do to Me” where Shorty has the crowd shout, “Hey!” with their arms up in the air before concertgoers sing along on the song’s “What you gonna do to me?/What I’m gonna do to you, I bet you like it” chorus.
Tracci Lee is featured on vocals as the band shifts into the traditional New Orleans’ jazz tune, “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and then shines on a soulful rendition of “Down by the Riverside” where she vocalizes with style and feeling.
Brandon Butler plays a hot and funky swirling organ solo and Joey Peebles and Alvin Ford, Jr. are joined by Shorty on tambourine for a percussion solo before band members animatedly run and jump across the stage.
Shorty gets everyone in the crowd to wave their hands back and forth before conducting the song’s dramatic conclusion under flashing lights to wild cheers and applause.
Holding his trumpet and trombone high as he struts across the stage, the band plays an extended coda as Shorty says, “Thank you for coming out, New Jersey. We’ll see you soon. We love you! Peace and love!”
As concertgoers make way their way out of the MPAC auditorium, we chat with several music lovers who share their thoughts about tonight’s show. Exclaims Claire from Morristown, “What a showman! Trombone Shorty is one remarkable performer! I hope we can continue to see him doing this until he’s 80!”
Remarks Emily from Montclair, “I’ve seen Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue at least six or seven times. He’s amazing — incredible — and he and his band get better each time I see them,” before asserting, “Tonight’s concert was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen!” Emily’s dad, Scott, agrees, declaring, “Any time you see them, you feel great and you feel pumped! It’s always worth every penny you pay for your ticket because Trombone Shorty and his band always put on a great show.”
Maintains Derik from Sparta, “Trombone Shorty’s show has such fantastic energy! We’ve been fans since we saw him in New Orleans and, tonight, we brought the whole family.” Remarks son Owen, 11, “I loved this show so much! I play the trombone, and I would like to meet Trombone Shorty!” Daughter Ella, 9, adds, “I play the violin, and I really enjoyed the show, too.” Derik’s wife, Tina, agrees, noting, “My favorite part was when they played ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’ I like traditional jazz, but I loved the whole thing — especially all the interaction with the audience,” before concluding, “It was the best concert ever!”
To learn more about Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, please go to tromboneshorty.com. For information on upcoming shows at MPAC — including Darlene Love on Nov. 26, David Foster and Katharine McPhee on Dec. 2, Michael Bolton on Dec. 7, and Chaka Kahn on Jan. 12, 2023 — please click on mayoarts.org.
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