2025 Acura ZDX: Front and Center at the New Orleans “Shorty Fest” Jazz Festival

Jazz music. The genre is an indelible part of the musical fabric on music in the United States and indeed around the world.

Jazz was born in the great city of New Orleans. Some say jazz grew out the drumming and Voodoo rituals. But Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton had his own theory. He said, “It is evidently known, beyond contradiction, that New Orleans is the Cradle of Jazz, and I myself happen to be the inventor in the year 1902.”

Traditional New Orleans jazz usually includes a cornet, trumpet, and trombone.

So when Acura began support of the Trombone Shorty Jazz Fest, it was a perfect fit, as the luxury brand of American Honda not only builds cars in the U.S., Acura is vested in supporting myriad empowerment projects across the nation.

Led by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, the Trombone Shorty Jazz Fest is more than just a night of great jazz music. Behind the glitz of on-stage performances, Trombone Shorty grooms the next generation of New Orleans musical talent through the Trombone Shorty Academy at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

The Trombone Shorty Academy at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation educates the next generation of musically gifted students through a performance curriculum curated by Trombone Shorty and the foundation’s Executive Director, Bill Taylor. Students are fully immersed in the history and key influencers of New Orleans music, while preparing for ensemble performances under the instruction of accomplished musicians, including members of Rebirth Brass Band, The Soul Rebels, and New Breed Brass Band, culminating in the organization’s annual fundraising event, The Shorty Fest.

The Foundation supports three key pillars: The Trombone Shorty Academy, an Apprenticeship program that supports talent aspiring to take their music and entertainment business careers to the next level through professional development, and the Fredman Music Business Institute – a free after-school music program that teaches the business side of the music industry. Learning about event production, touring, licensing, management, marketing, and more, students are taught by Grammy Award-winning producer Chris Finney.

Empowering the students to pass on their knowledge, skill, and culture by playing it forward – is a time-honored New Orleans tradition that is part of the fabric of New Orleans.

Academy graduates often perform on stages at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and in performance venues around the world, and they are an integral part of the music business in New Orleans.

Trad Fridays

Acura is a key sponsor for the “Trad Fridays” program. Building on the foundation’s preservation of traditional New Orleans sounds, Trad Fridays is a unique partnership with the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts celebrating the teaching and mentorship that keeps brass band street music alive. This monthly series brings the street to classically-trained students at the center, furthering the academy’s thorough and diverse musical education. Free and open to the public and led by renowned musicians Wendell Brunious and Herlin Riley, these sessions help students gain a comprehensive knowledge of jazz, blues, funk, soul, and more local styles.

Our visit to a Trad Fridays session in advance of our visit to the Trombone Shorty Fest was awesome, and we all were proud of the incredibly talented young musicians.

Trombone Shorty Fest

Held at the iconic Tipitina’s live music venue, the Trombone Shorty Fest allowed us to truly experience New Orleans Jazz.

Before we entered Tipitina’s a “Battle of the Bands” was staged in the Tipitina courtyard. Two local high school bands squared off, and the winning band was so impressive you would have sworn Nick Cannon was on the snare drums as part of “Drumline – The Sequel!”

Once inside, we enjoyed talented local jazz artists, and then it was time for the main event.

Trombone Shorty did not disappoint, and the same young men and women we enjoyed at Trad Fridays filled the venue stage backing up the Trombone Master. The jazz session rocked the house!

New Orleans is more than Beignets and Bourbon Street. The music culture, especially during Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, shines bright in this historic, and iconic city. Make this great city part of your vacation travel plans!

Acura ZDX Type S

Before we were wowed at the Shorty Fest, we spent a full day driving the new full-electric 2024  Acura ZDX Type S, the most powerful Acura SUV ever, and the luxury brand’s first all-electric vehicle.

“The arrival of the all-electric Acura ZDX demonstrates our commitment to a zero-emissions future, but more than that it represents our passion for performance in the electrified era,” said Emile Korkor, assistant vice president of Acura National Sales. “The ZDX and high-performance ZDX Type S are exciting additions to our performance SUV lineup, our Acura dealer network is ready, and we can’t wait for our Acura clients to get behind the wheel of our first all-electric model.”

In a shift from the traditional dealer sales experience, all ZDX sales will take place through a new, omnichannel digital sales process, where buyers can shop for their ZDX at home or at an Acura dealership. Acura clients can build and reserve their new ZDX at www.acura.com/reservezdx. ZDX reservation holders also will receive an Acura Energy Key Card that provides exclusive benefits including discounts to Acura entertainment partners and special events.

The 2024 Acura ZDX features cutting-edge technology and connectivity including Acura’s first integration of Google built-in, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability – all standard. ZDX also is the first Acura model to feature the immersive audio experience of Bang & Olufsen luxury audio, a very impressive sound system.

Acura ZDX Type S Performance

Built upon an electric vehicle platform co-developed with General Motors, ZDX Type S features a low center of gravity and near 50/50 weight distribution, which significantly enhances the performance driving experience; including acceleration, braking, and cornering; yet its ride quality is refined (as you would expect in any Acura) making the SUV a super daily driver. ZDX Type S features a performance-tuned dual-motor All-Wheel Drive powertrain outputting an estimated 500 horsepower, a height-adjustable air suspension, performance-tuned adaptive dampers, and massive 15.6-inch Brembo front brakes with six-piston yellow calipers. Drivers can customize the driving experience with multiple drive modes, including a “Sport” mode for maximum acceleration.

Photo-Brian Armstead

Type S models come standard with 22-inch machine-finished wheels and wide 275/40 section self-sealing all-season tires. If you live in a warmer climate, high-performance summer tires, packaged with a gloss-black wheel, are optional.

Photo-Acura

We drove the ZDX Type S across roads on the outskirts of New Orleans and were super impressed. All EVs are generally fast, and the Type S’ 0-60 time of four seconds verifies its credible forward thrust.

What really impressed me the most is how quiet the SUV is in terms of shielding drivers and passengers from road and wind noise. It’s clear Acura engineers spent a considerable amount of time and tuning to ensure a true power/luxury experience in the Type S.

Keep your right foot light on the “go” pedal, and you can expect roughly 280 miles of range.

Comprehensive Charging Access

Combined with the recent joint venture that Honda established with six other major automakers to create a leading high-powered charging network, US Honda and Acura EV customers will be able to utilize the majority of public American DC fast chargers starting in 2024 and can anticipate having around 100,000 DC charge points available to them by 2030.

“Honda aims to provide our customers with easy access to the most fast-charging options of any automaker,” said Jay Joseph, vice president, Sustainability & Business Development at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “With access to a broad range of fast-charging networks: Tesla’s Supercharger network; EVgo; Electrify America; and roaming partner networks, Honda and Acura EV drivers will enjoy stress-free, convenient charging away from home.”

With the new Acura EV smartphone app ZDX owners can find available charging stations, pay for charging, redeem credits, enroll in subscription plans, and access other features at the EVgo and Electrify America stations and those of their roaming partners.

Trombone Shorty appears to be saying: “I’ll take this ZDX. Thank you!”

Except where noted, all images, including the cover image of Team Acura, are courtesy of photographer Katie Sikora. See more of her work in Instagram @Katie.sik