Day 2 of this years’ 34th Annual M&T Syracuse Jazz Festival held at Onondaga Community College Campus in Syracuse, was the night that over 5,000 plus fans were waiting for. With a large roster of highly awarded artists and performers sharing 1 stage throughout 2 days and nights turned out to be an incredible event. As New Orleans’ own Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and the Orleans Avenue braced the lineup, other national and local bands brought their “A game” to get the crowds energized for the headlining act.
Returning to this years fest, the City of Syracuse Parks & Rec All-Stars kicked off the day with their fluid compositions, directed by the highly regarded Joe Carello. The all-stars swung through a 45 minute set, all taking turns at solos and giving the crowd a piece of their heart and souls.
Second Line Syracuse Brass Band was second in command of day 2 of the fest. Led by the Juilliard School of music master jazz trombonist Melissa Gardiner, the core group features one other trombone, two trumpets, a saxophone, sousaphone, and drums. The eight-piece ensemble performed a various array of original scores and a few covers.
Paulie Cerra and Andrew Lippman led Groove Legacy through a fantastic set of jazzy tunes, sprinkled with bluesy twists and soulful harmonies. Increasing with energy as the evening sun settled, the steadily growing audience was getting loose on their feet and enjoyed a new song recently recorded with Utica’s own Joe Bonamassa.
Originally scheduled was Larry Coryell and the Eleventh House. Tho, Larry is currently in post-surgery and was unable to perform, son and master jazz guitarist Julian Coryell led the group with determination to show Syracuse how to have a good time. Performing a variety of covers and originals, the group shined through the evening with many tasteful guitar licks and drum fills. Just as the group was ending, Executive Director Frank Malfitano rushed the stage accompanied with a beautiful plaque to present to the band, giving thanks for continuing to show up and perform considering the circumstances of Larry condition.
Malfitano briefly returned to the stage to give warm welcome to Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. The band bounced onto the stage one by one as drummer Joey Peebles kicked up a funky groove. Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews dramatically appeared lastly with shades on, Trumpet in one hand and Trombone in the other. As the band got underway, they immediately cranked up the energy and didn’t let up until the their set was done. Aside from his skillful brass chops, Andrews danced his way across the entire stage, covering almost every inch replication the styles of James brown and Michael Jackson. At points, even gathering other members to march around in a huddle, while others shared solos and some spotlight. A memorable highlight of the nearly 2-hour performance was an intimate rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On,” along with accompanied with a crowd sing-a-long. Before closing out the weekend, Andrews eagerly invited Frank Malfitano up on stage to dance along to their mashup of “Mardi Gras Medly” and “When the Saints Go Marching In,” representing their hometown of New Orleans.