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Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue

by Paul Rapp on January 15, 2014 · 1 comment




I could really just stop there.

A couple years ago I caught Trombone Shorty opening for Bootsy Collins at the Montreal Jazz Festival. I didn’t know anything about him. At the time, I wrote “Trombone Shorty nee Troy Andrews is hands down the most incredible individual performer I have ever seen.”

Now, everybody knows music writers have serious hyperbole issues. Well, after seeing Shorty and band again Sunday night, I emphatically reaffirm the above ridiculous statement. He really is.

The young, killer band came out and laid down some killer metal-funk. Sarge leaned over and said, “I half expect to see Rob Halford come out on a Harley.” Then Shorty comes skipping out, waiving his trombone in one hand and his trumpet in the other. And the games began. The show started at this intensity level way up there and then got more intense. And more intense. I’ve been to a lot of shows at the Egg, and I’ve never seen an audience there go this bonkers. I’m talking apeshit bonkers here, a good three generations of folks going crazy, for the whole damn show.

Funk. Blues. Rock. Classical. Hip-hop. Jazz. Soul. Nods to Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway. Sometimes stacked up in a matter of seconds. Sometimes all at once. Staggering and mind-blowing. And plenty loud. Good loud! Last time I saw him, he did a circular breathing thing on the trumpet, holding a note for several minutes. This time he did it on the freakin’ trombone. . . . That’s ridiculous. Dude’s gonna hurt himself.

Shorty took a number of solos on his horns that were complex, sophisticated, and stunning. He sings like an angel. He’s got the coolest moves: His James Brown shimmy-turned-moonwalk was one of many bring-the-house-down moments. He was generous with his shaggy, muscular band (drums, bass, guitar and two saxes), who all got plenty of star turns and who were, to a man, on time.

The show ended with the entire band bashing out a huge second-line beat on the drumset. It was stupid, fun, and oh so funky.

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