Straight from headlining the Jazz Aspen Snowmass tour, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue open the newly expanded 2014 Blue River Series for the Breckenridge Music Festival on Friday, June 20, at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.
New Orleans native Trombone Shorty began his career as a bandleader at the young age of 6, toured internationally at age 12 and spent his teens playing with various brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz. He is currently the front man for his own ensemble, Orleans Avenue, a funk, rock, jazz and hip-hop band. Together, Trombone Shorty and the band have toured across the United States, Europe, Australia, Russia, Japan and Brazil.
In 2010, Trombone Shorty released his debut album, the Grammy-nominated “Backatown,” followed by “For True” in 2011, which topped Billboard magazine’s Contemporary Jazz Chart for 12 weeks. His newest album, “Say That to This,” was released in 2013 and features funk-jazz elements of New Orleans.
Trombone Shorty appeared in several episodes of HBO’s “Treme” and has recently appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Conan.” In 2012, he performed at the White House in honor of Black History Month with music royalty such as B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Booker T. Jones. At this year’s Grammy Awards, he performed alongside Madonna, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert.
In 2012, he received the President’s Medal from Tulane University in recognition of his charitable work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation. In collaboration with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Trombone Shorty Foundation donates quality instruments to schools across New Orleans.
On Tuesday, May 20, Trombone Shorty returned to the White House to promote The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ Turnaround Arts initiative, a program to assist low-performing schools through arts programs. Trombone Shorty has been named one of the Turnaround Arts initiative’s “Turnaround Artists,” who will work directly with individual schools’ arts programs. Other Turnaround Artists include Smith, Citizen Cope, Elton John, Jason Mraz and Russell Simmons.
Series expands with new partnership
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue come to Breckenridge as part of the Blue River Series from the Breckenridge Music Festival, a nonprofit group best known for its summer orchestral repertoire. BMF started the series in 1993 as a way to bring popular music acts to town. Past performers have included Randy Newman, Trampled by Turtles, Aaron Neville and Robert Earl Keen.
This year, the Breckenridge Music Festival joins forces with the town of Breckenridge to bring in some bigger acts, starting with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue on Friday, June 20, and Colorado sweethearts Elephant Revival on Wednesday, June 25.
“People wanted bigger bands,” said Marcia Kaufmann, executive director of the Breckenridge Music Festival, which conducted a survey this winter to better understand how the group can serve the community. “So we came up with a way that everybody benefits.”
Diversifying the offerings at the Riverwalk Center — which was built 20 years ago, primarily as a home for the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra — has been on the Breckenridge Town Council’s top 10 goals for more than two years, according to Kim Dykstra-DiLallo, director of communications for the town.
“The council is very excited about moving forward with a local organization that understands our community but also knows how to pull in nationally recognized groups that can diversify the offerings that we have here,” DiLallo said. “We’re really excited, not just about bringing these music groups here, but about the collaboration and cooperation within the community.”
Olivia Grover is the director of marketing and administration and Blue River Series talent buyer for the Breckenridge Music Festival.