I've had the good fortune to witness the human dynamo that is Trombone Shorty on at least a half-dozen occasions over the past decade, in all sorts of contexts: at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2011, at Carnegie Hall in 2012, at Bonnaroo in 2013, and at Tanglewood in 2019. Each and every time, the crowd enthusiastically responded to his high energy blend of jazz, funk, and overall New Orleans showmanship.
But, nowhere have I seen a crowd so fired up by Shorty as the one I saw Saturday night at the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park, where he and his longtime band Orleans Avenue closed out the pandemic-delayed 2021 edition of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. After seeing all of last summer's Celebrate Brooklyn! cancelled due to COVID-19, it was great to see live music back in the bandshell, even if the star wattage this year was a bit dimmer than usual. (Other shows I caught included jazz trumpeter Theo Croker, songwriter and social activist Buffy Sainte-Marie, and veteran MC Kool Keith, all free.)
It was also great to see a packed house after a summer of ongoing COVID fears led to half-full audiences for many shows. Of course, this was only possible thanks to NYC's strict policy of showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test upon entry, which resulted in slower than usual lines. No one seemed to mind in the least.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue went onstage around 920pm and played for well over an hour, pumping out hits such as “Buckjump,” “Hurricane Season,” “Fire and Brimstone,” “On your way down,” and “No Good Time.” Shorty was all over the stage, jumping up and down while blasting both his trombone and trumpet. The crowd got up, and never sat back down.
Openers included local girl pop collective MICHELLE and LA's "black acid soul" diva Lady Blackbird, who seemed to be doing her best Tina Turner impression with her spiked white wig and leather bustier.
Thanks to everyone at BRIC for pulling together Celebrate Brooklyn! in time for us to have something to do other than Netflix this summer. Can't wait til next year.
More pics below and on the photo page.