In the opening frames of "Rise and Shine," the four-minute PSA below, New Orleans jazz player Trombone Shorty, aka Troy Andrews, hits his rooftop just before dawn. He cuts loose on that horn, tossing off sharp, insistent tones, as if coaxing the sun from its slumber.
Over Shorty's impassioned performance, a radio announcer says: "As the pandemic rolls into another day, I can't help but think of our local musicians. How much longer can they hold out? How much longer till the damage is irreversible?"
Today is Fat Tuesday, and that usually means the height of Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. But NOLA canceled its famed parades amid Covid-19 safety concerns, and the city's music clubs remain closed, too. That sad reality—a silent Mardi Gras, so to speak—finds jazz artists mired in the blues, contemplating another round of lost wages and missed creative opportunities.
Even so, Shorty won't be bowed, and his vibe turns from melancholy to joyous as a band of neighborhood folks of all ages join in:
Toward the end, as the jam gets hot, these words flash on screen: "If you'e ever been saved by music, here's your chance to return the favor. By helping our local musicians, we ensure their sound lives on."
Backing the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the work seeks to generate at least $250,000 for Louisiana musicians.
Developed by Light + Co., the film delivers a deeply felt message with emotion and flair. It's notable that director Benjamin Sonntag never goes over the top. We don't get dancing in the streets, but a tuneful testimony to the human spirit that acknowledges down notes while striving for a higher, more hopeful tempo.
Here's a 90-second edit that bops as hard as the full-length spot:
"When there's a cause attached to art, the vision is easily shared, dialed in, and everyone puts their heart into it," says Sonntag. "Every person involved wanted to make the best film possible and was open to how we got there. There was no ego, just a truly unified effort. Everyone was all in."
"By canceling live music in New Orleans, the pandemic robbed the city's musical community of not just their sound, but their livelihood," adds Light + Co. CEO David Cameron. "Their ability to make ends meet, and do what they do best: share their sound with the world. We've all had that moment when music has saved our lives. Now it's time to save music."
The business has been hit especially hard in pandemic times, and we've seen quite a few projects addressing the subject. These range from Live Nation's poignant empty-marquees campaign to a streaming benefit concert (with a film narrated by Neil Young) and this memorable Nashville PSA voiced by Dolly Parton.
"Rise and Shine" proves an especially effective and affecting take. It scores major points by presenting striking imagery—a rooftop trombone player at dawn!—and a simple storyline that lets the music do most of the talking.
"It's been a rough time for our city's musicians—many are hurting," Shorty says. "Being a part of that community, I know that we have to be there for one another. We've always banded together to help each other—it's more important now than ever."
Client - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation
Don Marshall - Executive Director
Kia Robinson - Director of Programs, Marketing and Communications
Client - Trombone Shorty Foundation
Troy Andrews - Board Member
Bill Taylor - Executive Director
Asia Muhaimin - Musical Director
George Wilde - Programs Manager
Agency - LIGHT+CO
David Cameron - Co-Founder / CEO
Pamela Cameron - Co-Founder
Diana Gonzalez-Cash - Account Director
Sean Vij - Executive Creative Director, Writer
Bryan Carroll - Creative Director, Art Director
Chris Capretto - Producer
Adam Caviezel - Business Affairs Manager
Laura Ferguson Very Special Thanks
Stan Hill Very Special Thanks
Janet Wollman Very Special Thanks
Freddy Jones Very Special Thanks
Amanda Rizzo Very Special Thanks
Production Company: Twisted Fiction
Ben Sonntag - Director
Maury Strong - Line Producer
Michael "Cambio" Fernandez - Director of Photography
Gabriel Velasco - Drone Operator
Chip Carey - Gaffer
Lucas Porterfield - Key Grip
Eric Ledet - Sound / Playback
Chere Theriot - Key Prop
Leonard Reynolds - Location Manager
Tracy Keller - Production Supervisor
Jill Rheel - Creative Representative
Editorial - Cabin
Rob Watzke - Editor
Katy Lester - Producer
Jonatas da Silva - Assistant Editor
Carr Schilling - Managing Partner
Adam Becht - Executive Producer
Post - Shape + Light
Rob Trent - Creative Director
Cara Lehr - Executive Producer
Crystal Rossmann - VFX Producer
Music - Venn Arts / Found Objects
Jonathan Hecht - Music Supervisor
Sarah Tembeckjian - Music Supervisor
Found Objects Music
Jay Wadley - ECD
Trevor Gureckis - ECD
Jennie Armon - Executive Producer
Ben Marshall - Creative Director
Adam Weiss - Creative
Nadav Nirenberg - Arranger
Nick Chomowicz - Producer
Agatha Lee - Music Coordinator
Derik Lee - Recording Audio Engineer
Matt Nelson - Head of Production
Troy Andrews - Featured Soloist: Trombone
Julian Gosin - Trumpet
Roger Lewis - Saxophone
Chauncey Yearwood - Percussion
Gabe Medd - Trumpet
Evan Margulies - Percussion
Nora Nalepka - Tuba
Morgan Price - Saxophone & Clarinet
Sound Design / Mix - Eleven
Jeff Payne - Mix / Sound Design
Jordan Meltzer - Mix / Sound Design
Andrew Smith - Assistant Mixer
Marco Tornillo - Assistant Mixer
Melissa Elston - Executive Producer
Color - a52 color
Gregory Reese - Colorist
Jenny Bright - Producer
Thatcher Peterson - Executive Producer
Original Song Composition - "Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky (From Now On)"
Allen Toussaint - Composer
Blue Note Records - Master Use
"Trombone Shorty appears courtesy of Blue Note Records"