One of my most sincere hopes for the return to television of Arsenio Hall, was that his show would showcase contemporary artists in black music genres who were instrumentalists as well as singers. I recall LA Reid, a few years ago, when he took over Def Jam, saying his fondest wish was to sign a black band. He also mentioned that he “loved the Roots” and his feeling that he didn’t want to sign any band of black guys playing instruments, but a band that had the swagger and understanding of the times to be as appealing as the Lil Waynes and other artists currently dominating the black music scene.
Arsenio Hall’s show was always a showcase for artists of all stripes across the whole globe of music. This always included funk. That shouldn’t be surprising, being that Hall is from one of the main hothouses of funky music, the state of Ohio. Hall is also a bass player to boot! The return of his show has featured great performances so far from artists such as Mayer Hawthorne, Thundercat with Childish Gambino, and Babyface and Toni Braxton, in addition to a number of artists who are currently hot on the hip hop charts. He’s done a good job in my opinion so far of showcasing artists so far with “left of center” creative leanings, including an appearance a few weeks ago by the Android Queen Janelle Monae.
One of my favorite posts this year was the post last month on Trombone Shorty’s album “Say That to Say This”, an amazing and current sounding funk wallop of an LP. Last night was a special night because Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue hit the new Arsenio Hall Show to play their manifesto, “Fire and Brimstone”, and they don’t hold out on the funk! The performance is powwwerful, every bit or more so as the great recording. Arsenio’s special fondness for funk shows up in his great introduction to the band as well, and it solidifies my belief that the funk has found an ally in his return to the boob tube. My only complaint is that I wish Shorty and his band were allowed two songs so they could also get the audience up and dancing on “Long Weekend”, which is a song I feel is truly classic, but I can’t complain at all when funk is showcased so effectively in the big pond. So here it is for those who missed it, Trombone Shorty performing “Fire and Brimstone” on The Arsenio Hall Show:
Look for Oakland native and Arsenio Hall Show Posse 2.0 keyboardist Victoria Theodore backing Shorty on vocals!