Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Rare indeed is the artist with the virtuosity to draw the unqualified respect of some of the most iconic legends in jazz and the ability to deliver a high-energy funk rock show capable of mesmerizing international rock stars. Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews is one such artist - and there is no one else like him.
Trombone Shorty is equally adept on trombone and trumpet and is a man to be reckoned with on both. A product of New Orleans' culturally rich Treme neighborhood, Trombone Shorty was a bandleader by the age of six.
While navigating New Orleans with his band in tow, he was also absorbing lessons from his older brother James, a dynamic musical performer known as "Satchmo of the Ghetto." By the time Trombone Shorty was twelve, he had a Ph.D. in the ways of the streets, which you can still hear in his music.
During a visit to a small New Orleans club, Bono and the Edge saw the 12-year-old trombone player. "We walked in and the place was jumping. There was this little funk band, but they were all playing brass instruments, which is something I'd never heard of or seen before," The Edge recalled. "We were just mesmerized by him. I ended up with Bono, after a few tequilas, dancing with a bunch of girls on the top of the bar. It was one of those sort of nights."
Now, at 23, Trombone Shorty has grown into a performer who commands the stage while emanating an elegance and class gleaned from his successful studies at the prestigious New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. As a graduate, he joined the ranks of alums like Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., and Nicholas Payton. Another alum, Wynton Marsalis, said of him, "Troy possesses the rarest combination of talent, technical capability and down home soul. I'm his biggest fan."
Shorty has attracted many such legends to his high-profile fanbase, and the diverse and notable names he has performed and soloed with include Norah Jones at Jazzfest 2007, Diana Krall at Madison Square Garden in 2005, and chart-topping rapper Juvenile at VoodooFest 2008.
THE FUTURE IS SUPAFUNKROCK
The here and now finds Trombone Shorty a fully developed performer bursting into the international consciousness. It's always a challenge to find an appropriate label for artists who make something uniquely their own from a variety of influences. In the case of Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, the band created its own tagline for its high-octane music: SupaFunkRock. The group's performances have been known to run for hours at an energy level that few others could sustain for a much shorter performance.
The seeds for Orleans Avenue were sown at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and the group has since evolved into a six-piece touring phenomenon. With Mike Ballard on bass, Pete Murano on guitar, Joey Peebles on drums, Dwayne Williams on percussion and Dan Oestreicher on baritone sax, their performances transcend the boundaries of generation and classification. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue have been drawing ever-growing crowds based largely on word of mouth excitement about their knockout shows, night after night. Making the most of limited time off, they are currently recording new songs that capture the band's rare combination of virtuosity and high-energy party intensity - the next accomplishment to watch for in the career of this unparalleled young artist.
Photo: © Ayano Hisa. Snarky Puppy, 2011 Newport Jazz