I want to have full disclosure with our readers: I’m kind of obsessed with Trombone Shorty. I once saw him at Lakeside Mall and walked behind him for at least 10 minutes. I was to afraid to say anything to him, and that is one of my biggest regrets in life. Last year, when he hopped off of stage and danced with the crowd during his closing performance at Jazz Fest, I totally fangirled and sprinted into the area so that I could have my dance with him.
Say you don’t know much about Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews? Let me give you some history. Shorty grew up in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood playing his trombone from a young age. Today, he’s a versatile performer on the rise locally, nationally, and worldwide. Together with his bandmates, Orleans Avenue, they put on quite a show.
Orleans Avenue is composed of Mike Bass-Bailey on bass guitar, Pete Murano on guitar, Dan Oestreicher on baritone sax, Joey Peebles on Drums, and BK Jackson on Tenor Sax. Shorty and the band have toured across the world with huge acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and performed at the Grammy’s. Here at home in New Orleans, they can often be found joining in on second lines, and leading mini parades down our city streets. This year, Shorty was crowned king of the Tremé Sidewalk Steppers, a second line parade in Tremé. In addition to his musical contributions, the Trombone Shorty Foundation raises money to help schools pay for instruments.
With Jazz Fest soon approaching, the Tremé Threauxdown is one of the highly-anticipated events of the kickoff weekend. The exciting thing about the Threauxdown is you don’t really know who’s going to show up. Everyone from Usher to Juvenile to Nick Jonas to Wyclef Jean have shown up in the past. Let’s not forget the superstars of New Orleans that have also popped in on the Threauxdown in the past; Kermit Ruffins, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jon Batiste, and the late Allen Toussaint have shared the stage with Shorty and Orleans Avenue over the years. This year, the Threauxdown will be held at the Saenger Theater on Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m.
The surprise factor about who is or isn’t going to show up is part of the magic behind the show. You (okay, maybe just me) spend the days leading up to it scouring the Jazz Fest line up and making up theories about who could potentially show up at this year’s show. When I went in 2016, before the show started, they dimmed the lights and shined Prince’s glyph on stage and the crowd shared a moment and sang Purple Rain as an homage to Prince, who had passed away just days before. Anything and everything can happen at the Threauxdown.
Do I know who will show up this year? No, not yet. Looking at the Jazz Fest lineup, I have all kinds of theories though. “Maybe Sting will show up because he’s closing the night before. Common would be a great, soulful addition to the lineup and he’s playing midday on Saturday. Jimmy Buffet would be a funky twist to the show—a little Margaritaville with Trombone Shorty could be fun!”
The possibilities are endless! What I do know is that we have a great opener to be excited about, The Soul Rebels! The eight piece brass band from New Orleans will open the show with their unique sound of jazz, hip hop, pop, funk, and soul. They too have toured around the world and played next to some big names, such as Metallica, Alabama Shakes, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, The Allman Brothers Band, and Jack White, just to name a few.
Can’t make the Threauxdown, or just want more Shorty? Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue is hosting the 6th annual Shorty Fest on Locals Day of Jazz Fest (Thursday, May 3), which benefits The Trombone Shorty Foundation. Some of the performers you’ll see include Tank and the Bangas, The Soul Rebels, and The Trombone Shorty Academy Students. Additionally, the crew closes the Acura Stage at Jazz Fest on the final Sunday of Fest (Sunday, May 6) and it’s always a close that has you jamming for the whole set.
Holler at your girl, Shorty! Maybe next time I see you at Lakeside Mall, I’ll actually say hi.