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Acura’s ZDX Type-S Culturally Collaborates with Trombone Shorty during the 2024 New Orleans Jazz Fest

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It was an electrifying weekend to remember in New Orleans — the birthplace of jazz — during the 2024 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with media colleagues, good friends, and the executive team from Acura, who were ecstatic over their cultural collaboration with the 11th Annual Shorty Fest which was envisioned and manifested by the innovative Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.

Down in Nola, Acura, which has been a part of this community for roughly 20 years, introduced and showcased its all-electric 2024 ZDX Type-S to eager journalists as the mobility sector begins shifting toward carbon neutrality. During my three-day experience, the Nola vibe was positive, the energy was uplifting, and the jubilant music was enlightening.

2024 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

For anyone into arts and culture, you must visit “The Big Easy” during the 11-day festival that plays host to 400,000 fans and thousands of musicians, cooks, and craftspeople at the Fair Grounds Race Course, just 10 minutes from the French Quarter. We attended on the first Sunday and enjoyed a scenic day of various jazz forms, rhythm and blues, Latin, hip hop, African drumming, and much more from performers such as Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Heart, Juvenile with Mannie Fresh, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Allman Betts Band, Patrice Rushen, Béla Fleck – My Bluegrass Heart, Rebirth Brass Band, and Eric Lindell. 

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and The Shorty Fest

More importantly, after test-driving the eye-catching ZDX Type-S EV for the day, we all felt free, alive, and ready to dance while entering the street scene and block party that comprised Shorty Fest outside of Tipitina’s world-famous music venue located at the intersection of Napoleon Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street in Uptown, New Orleans. Upon arrival, two high school marching bands (Edna Karr High School and Abramson Sci Academy) were absorbed in competition that amped up the crowd. The drumlines of the musical marching ensembles were heavy and the melodies from the versatile trumpets were harmonizing. It’s incredible how deep music can guide your pathway.

The Trombone Shorty Academy at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center is a free, after-school music program that educates the next generation of musically gifted students and steers them toward a possible career on the national stage. I witnessed the musical talents of the apprentices attending the academy at the historic Tipitina’s as they performed for about 15 minutes. Although most young men and women in Nola play an instrument, only a few like Troy receive the opportunity to advance to the next level. Nevertheless, the mission is to cultivate an atmosphere and talent pool where students can excel on the grandest stages.

“But before you can understand how much music means to me, you have to know how important it is to my hometown, my greatest inspiration.” — Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

The Shorty Fest continued inside a sold-out Tipitina’s, where an eclectic atmosphere and awakening spirit induced everyone into a melodic trance. This year’s musical lineup featured performances by none other than Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Galactic featuring Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, and an exceptional set by Grammy-nominated The Sun Ra Arkestra that put me in a transcendent state of mind. Led by keyboardist and composer Le Sony’r Ra or Sun Ra until he died in 1993, the American jazz group formed in the mid-1950s focuses on Afrofuturism and abides by the Kemetic connations, symbolism, and philosophies of ancient Egypt. Currently, the Arkestra is guided by saxophonist Marshall Allen, an Arkestra member since 1958.

Acura and New Orleans Jazz

Acura became involved with the Jazz Fest two decades ago and continues its relationship with the core tenets of New Orleans by partnering with Troy’s foundation and festival. With values centered on arts, music, film, and culture, Acura endeavors to help provide opportunities for the city’s youth and future outliers. In fact, with a focus on music, you can hear the voice and chorus of rapper DMX in the latest ZDX commercial, “Unlock the Energy.” Japanese wisdom is ordained in this 1-minute spot through a few vital instructional lessons such as:

  • Energy is nothing without control
  • There is power in silence
  • Unlock the energy within

 

Acura and Bang & Olufsen Partnership

Additionally, the all-electric 2024 ZDX connects the power of sound and listening through a first-time 18-speaker, 14-channel Bang & Olufsen premium audio system by HARMAN International. I’ve been a fan of B&O for years now, so it’s cool to see the two technology brands forge an alliance to create immersive and popping audio experiences in the cabin of the ZDX Type-S. The partnership between the Danish luxury audio brand and Acura allows audiophiles like me to tap into high-tech quality. My Roots Rock Reggae tunes were prominently and consciously highlighted from the brushed aluminum speaker grilles.

“As we take the Acura brand and our products to the next level, we want to make sure the audio experience also delivers on our concept of being a destination brand,” said Emile Korkor, Assistant Vice President, Acura National Sales. “This new collaboration with Bang & Olufsen will achieve exactly that, further exciting our clients as Acura enters the electrified era starting with ZDX.”

Stay at the Wondrous Windsor Court Hotel

The new EV SUV from Acura is available as the ZDX A-Spec and the top-of-the-line ZDX Type-S. Representing the top-performing Acura SUV in the lineup, I first laid eyes on the all-electric ZDX Type-S on the Concept Lawn of Pebble Beach during the summer of 2023. Finally, the drive opportunity came to fruition, starting from the elaborate courtyard of the opulent Windsor Court, a staple property in the legendary city of New Orleans for four decades now. Featuring large, elegant suites with balconies, a rooftop pool, a VIP lounge serving complimentary cuisine and libations, an immaculate gym, and much more, I felt just as comfortable on the road as I do at home. The Windsor Court is a haven for those seeking luxury accommodations, comfort, and beauty in their unique ways.

Meet the 2024 Acura ZDX Type-S

With an electric driving range of 278 miles, my media partner Brian Armstead and I rolled out in a fully loaded ZDX Type-S beautifully crafted with a Tiger Eye Pearl color scheme. Our journey in the EV took us silently around the city and then over the 24-mile-long Lake Pontchartrain Causeway for lunch at Pardos Restaurant in Mandeville, LA. The Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world and connects the smaller communities on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain with the urban area of New Orleans. The vehicle attracted much attention with its yellow 6-piston Brembro brake calipers, dynamic lines, Jewel-Eye LED headlights, illuminating Diamond Pentagon grille, stylish 22” Berlina Black machine-finished rims, the Type S exterior sport appearance package, Metallic gray lower surfaces, and a Gloss Black roof. At the lunch stop we headed inside to revel in an exceptional dining experience in the VIP wine room, which featured delectable dishes and warm hospitality curated by the fabulous Osman and Penelope Rodas, owners of Pardos.

The Type-S distributes 499-horsepower and 544 lb-ft of torque from its dual-motor AWD setup for exhilarating acceleration. Inside, Acura incorporated a panoramic sunroof, sporty flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 11” Digital Instrument Cluster, an 11.3” color touchscreen display with Google built-in for simple navigating, the Type S interior sport appearance package, a regenerative braking paddle, and perforated Milano Leather seats with microsuede and embossed Type S Logo. Sport mode lowers the ride height, and Snow mode raises it to adapt to road conditions. Recharging the 102-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is seamless with level 2 or high-speed level 3 supercharging.

MSRP pricing starts at $76,200 for the ZDX Type S and $64,500 for a base model (excludes $1,350 delivery and handling fee). A $7,500 federal tax credit is also possible. “As Acura moves into an exhilarating, electrified future, we will continue to push the forward-thinking design and proportions of our products as we take full advantage of the increased styling and packaging freedom EVs offer,” said Dave Marek, Acura Executive Creative Director.

New Orleans and both jazz festivals were memorable and heartfelt. It’s an honorable act when auto brands like Acura utilize their resources to uplift diverse communities so our young brothers and sisters can thrive. Keep rising!

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