Trombone Shorty bring together excellent mishmash of genres at Santa Barbara Bowl

Trombone Shorty Santa Barbara Bowl 2023 mainbar

In 2022, Trombone Shorty took his famous Treme Threauxdown on the road last year for the first time since the Covid-19 Pandemic which included stops at the Hollywood Bowl and Red Rocks Amphitheater. The tour featured fellow New Orleans artists Big Freedia, Tank and the Bangas, The Soul Rebels, and icons George Porter Jr. and Cyril Neville. Shorty is back with a whole new tour for 2023 combining funk, gospel, blues, and reggae. On Friday, the tour stopped at the historic Santa Barbara Bowl

Opening the show was pedal/lap steel guitarist Robert Randolph and the Family Band. They have received four Grammy nominations and Randolph has recorded with greats such as Buddy Guy, Ringo Starr, Elton John & Leon Russell, and Santana & Kirk Hamett. In 2008 they Opened for Eric Clapton’s 2008 tour and Randolph has guested at Clapton’s Crossroads Festival several times. Randolph’s electrifying set included “I Need More Love” combined with Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”

Next up was national icon Mavis Staples who just turned 84 a month before. Staples is the last surviving member of her family group the Staples Singers and with her father and siblings were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame (1999), the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2018), and were recipients of the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award (2005). Through her father Pops Staples’ friendship with Martin Luther King Jr, they had an important part in the Civil Rights Movement. Staples is a three time Grammy Winner and an eight time Blues Music Award winner. Staples set included Staples Singer classics “I’ll Take You There” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me).

The third act of the night was Ziggy Marley, the first born son and third child of Reggae legend Bob Marley. Marley is an eight time Grammy Winner and has been nominated 15-times. Marley played a set of mostly his songs such as “Rebellion Rises,” “We Are the People,” “Love Is My Religion,” and covers of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ “Get, Up Stand Up” mixed in with his songs “Justice” and “War” and “Is This Love.” Marley’s band included former Wailers drummer Santa Davis. 

Closing the show was Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave. Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews career began at the age of four when guitar legend Bo Diddley invited him onstage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Fast forward to 2013 Shorty began to close out the festival taking the slot from the long time closers The Neville Brothers who disbanded to continue their solo projects. Shorty is both a Blues Music and Grammy Award winner. Shorty has made appearances on albums by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Ringo Starr. Shorty’s set opened with Allen Touissant’s “On Your Way Down” and also included a cover of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” as well as his songs like “Fire and Brimstone” and “Might Not Make It Back Home.” For the closing song “Hurricane Season” Shorty and the horn players walked into the crowd all the way to the soundboard and back onstage.

Words and photos by Alex Kluft