I equate the bow in my upper lip to playing the trumpet when I was in middle school. It was not a pretty sight initially because while learning my lip blistered so badly I couldn’t even practice. Therefore, I have an affinity for brass instruments… and their instrumentalist. One of this year’s Best Contemporary Jazz Album Grammy nominees, Trombone Shorty, is my pick to win the category. He stayed on Billboard’s Jazz Contemporary Chart at #1 for nine consecutive weeks with his release Backatown. He is young, fresh and representing the 6th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana straight from the Tremé.
24 year old Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is no stranger to performing. At the age of 4 he was playing trombone right in the center of Tuba Fats Square and years later honing his skills in Jackson Square where many musicians from New Orleans got their start. He attended New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts following in the footsteps of the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, and Harry Connick, Jr.. His discography is growing and his appearances equally so. I stopped counting after finding thirty six sessions not to mention guest appearances with his brother and countless other musical giants. In 2005, at the age of 18, Andrews toured with Lenny Kravitz and was a featured member in his horn section. Lenny in turn sang background and had a guitar solo on the track “Show Me Something Beautiful” on Trombone Shorty’s major label debut CD, Backatown. Andrews was on tour with Kravitz during Hurricane Katrina though he had a small break to help his family get out of the city.
The young brass player surrounds himself with a host of diverse musical talent which essentially produces a “gumbo” of sound. I was introduced to the sound he calls “Supafunkrock!”at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. I stood in the front row for what seemed like a 3 hour show one of the best shows of my life thus far. Music is in Troy Andrews’ bloodline. His brother James Andrews is a trumpeter and his grandfather was the late Jessie Hill. Jessie was a singer and songwriter who worked with Ike and Tina Turner among others. He was most noted for his song “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” which Troy and James performed in an episode of the HBO television series Tremé.
I am excited to see where Trombone Shorty will take music as well as his live show and I am excited for the Grammy’s this weekend. I will be ready to get my second line dance on with my handkerchief in hand when he wins.