Troy Andrews a.k.a. Trombone Shorty is a real New Orleanian. He grew up in Backatown Tremé and got a music traineeship with brother James, the jazz trumpeter, from his earliest days. A gandson to legendary singer Jesse Hill Troy, Andrews learned to play the drums, the trumpet and the trombone when he was very young.
Now only 24 years old, the trombone player made four jazz CDs between his sixteenth and nineteenth, but spent the years after that playing countless gigs with U2, Green Day, Allen Toussaint, Lenny Kravitz and with his own band, Orleans Avenue.
Andrews, playing the trombone, the trumpet, keyboards, the drums and percussion and sometimes also singing in an expressive and socially conscious way, is backed intensely swingingly by Joey Peebles (drums), Dwayne “Big D” Williams (percussion), Mike Ballard (bass), Pete Murano (guitar), Tim McFatter (tenor sax) and Dan Oestreicher (bariton sax).
In thirteen songs of his own plus Toussaint’s On Your Way Down (with the old master on piano) Andrews combines all sorts of influences in the best New Orleans tradition. Funk, jazz, rock, hip-hop and sometimes soul too mix all the time to a seamless and musical whole, because he makes all genres secondary to the total sound.
That seems contradictory to the often abundantly grooving rhythms, always enthusiastic hornsmen and sometimes tremendously fiery guitars. The musicians’ instrumental freedom lies between boundaries determined by band leader Andrews and the compact compositions overwhelm that way because of their musical eloquence. With his band plus guests (except Toussaint, there’s also Kravitz and Marc Broussard) Trombone Shorty made a crushing CD for heart and head.