I fell in love with the city of New Orleans a number of years ago. My parents had taken me there for Christmas. Christmas Eve it started to snow and because it hadn’t snowed in years in NOLA so we were not prepared for it. I remember frantically searching department stores for long underwear for my poor cold Dad. We hunkered down at the Harrah’s Casino and gambled Christmas Eve. We huddled in the dark crowded Preservation Hall listening to some of greats play jazz. It was simply perfect. Fast forward several years later; in 2009 I went to NOLA twice once for St. Patrick’s Day and the other for White Linen Night. The highlight of the city to me is the music scene which to me is the birthplace of American music. There is an authenticity to music and the people that touches my soul.
I was very fortunate to get tickets to the sold out Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave show at the Fillmore. The opening act was a cast of characters from Venezuela called Los Amigos Invisibles. They have this delicious hyper blend of Latin and funk dance music. The crowd was enchanted by them jumping in rhythm with them every step of the way. Even though I don’t speak Spanish I think I got the essence about what their music was about which is all fun.
After a brief break Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave graced the stage. Trombone Shorty’s real name is Troy Andrews and he received the moniker “Trombone Shorty” from his brother as a 4 year old trombonist playing second lines in New Orleans. Shorty is a commanding and graceful band leader as he has been doing so since he was a child. He effortlessly switches from lead vocalist to trumpet and to trombone within moments. I would compare his music more to the band Galactic then traditional New Orleans Jazz. He blends his New Orleans brass band roots with modern rock and funk creating a fresh genre all his own. Highlights were the song “Hurricane Season” which made me picture a brass band marching through the quarter at a feverish pace. He also provided vocals to “One Night Only,” the backing horn players and percussionists provided an excellent groove sailing under his sincere vocals. It is easy to forget how young Shorty is; he was nominated for his first Grammy this year at age 24 and commands his band with such ease. Shorty is truly not done yet with his fantastic live shows and I can’t wait for what he has in store next.
For further demonstration of the musicality that is Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave check out this fantastic behind the scene video of the group warming up for the show at the Fillmore.