Summer at the Center Series got August started RIGHT with a week of New Orleans music from Dumpstaphunk, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and Anders Osborne. On August 4, Dumpstaphunk rocked the Marisa Funk Theater. For 17 years, Dumpstaphunk has earned its reputation as a highly respected, next-generation New Orleans musical institution. They have performed on hundreds of festival stages like Bonnaroo, Dead & Company’s Playing in the Sand, Lockn Festival, Jam Cruise, and NYC’s Summerstage; you never know who may appear as a guest on stage with the band on any given night, from legends like Carlos Santana, Bob Weir, George Clinton and members of Phish. Their performances combine ingenious musicianship through complex funk, rock, and jazz arrangements, dueling baselines, four-part harmonies accompanied by soulful melodies and Big Easy traditions.
Alongside original core members Tony Hall and Nick Daniels, and the new additions of Alex Wasily, Ryan Nyther and drummer Devin Trusclair, Ivan and Ian Neville (the sons of Aaron Neville and Art “Poppa Funk” Neville respectively) have built upon their family’s iconic NOLA legacy as they’ve transformed Dumpstaphunk into the city’s pre-eminent 21st-century funk-fusion export, resulting in recent career highlights like their July 2019 opening gig for the Rolling Stones on their home turf at the New Orleans’ Superdome. Dumpstaphunk released their new album Where Do We Go From Here on April 23, 2021 and the release marks the band’s first full length album in seven years, and undeniably the most powerful and politically pointed, sharply relevant release of their career. Modernizing and reinvigorating the Neville/Meters family groove has been one of the driving forces of Dumpstaphunk since the band spontaneously formed during New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2003, where they have performed every year since. “Obviously, the New Orleans history is just embedded in us, but we manage to incorporate all the other stuff we’ve listened to over the years,” says Ivan. “We’re representing a legacy, but we’re reimagining a lot of it, too.”
On August 5, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue got the audience dancing! Trombone Shorty is the stage name of New Orleans’ trombonist, composer, bandleader, author and philanthropist, Troy Andrews. A childhood prodigy, at four, he made his first appearance at Jazz Fest performing with Bo Diddley; at six, he was leading his own brass band; and by his teenage years, he was hired by Lenny Kravitz to join the band he assembled for his Electric Church World Tour. Shorty’s proven he’s more than just a horn player. Catch a gig, open the pages of the New York Times or Vanity Fair, flip on any late-night TV show and you’ll see an undeniable star with utterly magnetic charisma, a natural born showman who can command an audience with the best of them. Since 2010, he has released four chart topping studio albums; toured with everyone from Jeff Beck to the Red Hot Chili Peppers; collaborated across genres with Pharrell, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Foo Fighters, ZHU, Zac Brown, Normani, Ringo Starr, and countless more; played Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Newport Folk, Newport Jazz, and nearly every other major festival; performed four times at the GRAMMY Awards, five times at the White House, on dozens of TV shows, and at the star-studded Sesame Street Gala, where he was honored with his own Muppet. Fiercely dedicated to his Treme neighborhood, Andrews launched the Trombone Shorty Foundation where he donates quality music instruments to local schools and children in support of youth music education.
Americana-blues artist Anders Osborne brought the bluesy vibes to the Marisa Funk Theater on August 7. Between the potency of his richly detailed songwriting, his intensely emotional, soulful vocals and his piercing, expert guitar work, New Orleans guitarist and songwriter Anders Osborne is a true musical treasure. Osborne’s six-string virtuosity, inventive musicality, and poetic songcraft underpin an ever-expanding three-decade catalog celebrated by fans and critics alike. As a sought-after studio talent, his writing resounds through Keb Mo’s GRAMMY® Award-winning Slow Down, Tim McGraw’s number one Watch The Wind Blow By, and covers by Brad Paisley, Jonny Lang, Edwin McCain, Aaron Neville, and more.
Osborne’s latest album Buddha and the Blues references the full scope of the creative and personal duality at the heart of everything this maverick does. “I came up with the title early on, so I knew what the vibe of the record should be,” he explains. “‘Buddha and the Blues’ means the duality of our existence.” As Osborne crafted the music, he pondered an existential struggle we all face. On the one hand, humans do good, but it’s under the expectation of personal gratification. On the other hand, they desire success and wealth, but they attempt to maintain an appearance of humility. This constant push-and-pull led him to write about “not getting lost in a sunken path or idolizing an intangible future, but instead to be present in this moment and to be fully alive.” He goes on, “The lyrics are supposed to be true, conversational, and uplifting with clean, classic, and thumpin’ sounds. That’s what I set out to accomplish.”
A powerful live performer, Anders has won over fans through non-stop touring as well as a heralded collaboration with the North Mississippi Allstars & Southern Soul Assembly. He has toured virtually non-stop, either with his own band, as a solo artist, or as a guest with his countless musical admirers, including Toots and The Maytals, Stanton Moore, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, Jackie Greene and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. He has produced and played on critically acclaimed albums by Tab Benoit, Johnny Sansone and Mike Zito.
Hopefully you were able to catch these amazing performers and if not, there’s more great shows on the way. Check out the current calendar of events and get your tickets today!