Ever since Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue first graced the stage of the Rochester International Jazz Festival several years ago, the city fell in love. New Orleans native Troy Andrews, a quadruple threat effortlessly switching between trombone and trumpet, spitting sensual lyrics and suavely sauntering across the stage, can captivate an audience with a playful wink before lifting the brass to his lips.
This year, a smaller group of hardcore poncho-sporting Shorty fans braved the soggy weather with umbrellas on standby. The vibrant monitors towering above the crowd wishfully reflected the performance on the wet pavement where no one stood. Despite the fun-size audience, there was no shortage of head bobbing or hip swaying, from the crowd and musicians alike. With crowd-pleasing covers of The Isley Brothers “It’s Your Thing,” and Kool & the Gang’s “Get Down On It,” Andrews and his band masterfully delivered a healthy dose of funk.
A saucy cover of “Basket Case” by Green Day really got the crowd moving and kept things interesting, but as expected, Andrews still took the song and gave it his own spark. During periods when Andrews was not singing or playing an instrument, he was often bouncing around the stage, bolstering his comrades with friendly shoulder nudges and big smiles, clearly impressed and proud of his talented crew.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue blend exceptionally well together. With old school pizzazz, they can tap into multiple genres and rock out with a jazzy, upbeat flair, leaving the crowd desperately wanting to grab a drink with them after the show.