The first day of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas came to an exciting close Saturday spearheaded by Elan Trotman’s jazz performance.
“I do it for the children,” Trotman said, addressing the crowd between songs. “Hopefully some of y’all kids will be inspired to pick up an instrument.”
Trotman performed on the Green’s main stage Saturday night with Rohn Lawrence at 6 p.m. The three-hour concert was part of the lineup for the first day of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas as well as the first installment of “Cool Breeze” jazz shows scheduled for city parks this summer.
Although members of the band have original compositions, many of the songs that the band performed were covers of mainstream numbers ranging from Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent” to Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” Hundreds of people gathered on the Green to dance with friends, family, and children to partake in the festivities. Others sat on the Green in multi-colored lawn chairs with food and drinks while enjoying the music.
The performers onstage fed off of the crowd’s excited energy. At one point, during a cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” Trotman invited children to come up on the stage and dance with the musicians.
Trotman, a Barbados-born saxophonist, also participates in programs that aim to help children get involved with playing instruments and making music. He founded the Never Lose Your Drive Foundation, which helps to fund Headstart Music Barbados. Lawrence, a guitarist, is also quite involved with the community as a New Haven native. He frequently performs locally with funk bands in New Haven and holds down the Monday night slot at Lilly’s Pad in Toad’s Place.
Throughout the night, the band continued to perform recognizable songs.
“Any Stevie Wonder fans out there?” Trotman asked, before going on to lead the band in one of his songs.