The center of the current heat wave that began last Friday was at Celebrate Brooklyn in the Prospect Park bandshell. Trombone Shorty is hot – physically and musically.
Dayna Kurtz started the fire with her deep voice, sexy moves, and sweaty blues and rockabilly. Kurtz doesn’t have much range but she works it so the highs and lows are deeply felt. Her songs range from pure blues to rockabilly to front porch folk. Kurtz sometimes accompanied herself on guitar and was backed by keyboards, organ, upright bass, drums, electric guitar, trombone, trumpet, and saxophone.
We were told there was a surprise for us and out came the Brooklyn Steppers. Unfortunately they weren’t on stage but came marching in from the side entrance and did all their performing in between the seats and the lawn. Since rtb and I were in the fourth row of the seats (behind the VIP section) we couldn’t see much. We could hear the drums, which sounded great and occasionally saw a drumstick or leg or arm in the air above the crowd. I’m sorry we missed the choreography – I’m sure it was incredible.
Orleans Avenue – Michael Ballard (bass), Pete Murano (guitar), Dan Oestreicher (baritone saxophone), Joey Peebles (drums), and Tim McFatter (tenor saxophone) came out to play some funky licks and then Trombone Shorty made his entrance. Women started screaming – Troy Andrews is everything you want in a star. He’s sexy, handsome, sings and raps as well as any pop star, plays jazz as well as any musician, and rocks out as well as anyone I saw at Orion. He plays trombone and trumpet and dances like James Brown and Michael Jackson. He took off his shirt to reveal his toned and beautiful biceps and you could feel the temperature in the room rise. And Andrews was soaking it all in. He loved being up there as much we loved watching and listening to him.
Originals were mixed with classics like Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman” and a Satchmo-style “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews even sounded like Louis Armstrong when he was singing that song. He did this great bit where he blew the horn for about three to four minutes without taking a breath – eyes were bugging out and cheeks were blown out and he kept going and going and going and going until Andrews finally collapsed on the floor. Then he quickly got up and finished the song.
The band has their bits also – the bass player and guitarist played against each other with Ballard ending up on the floor on his back. The drummer had this long hair that not only bounced along with the beat but took flight on its own due to a fan behind him. Each of the musicians took a turn soloing in a little competition. And as they played the last encore song (“When the Saints Go Marching In”) everyone switched instruments – Peebles on guitar, Murano on baritone sax, Oestreicher on trombone, McFatter on bass, Ballard on trumpet, and Andrews on drums.
The crowd left sweaty, turned on, and very satisfied. New Orleans needs to visit us more often.
By Carene Lydia Lopez