Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, BC
August 15+16, 2009
by Donna Mair
I first heard of Trombone Shorty from my New Orleans friend Irene, who volunteered much of her time doing cleanup after Hurricane Katrina. As a volunteer she was invited to participate in the Half-time show for the re-opening of the Superdome where she met Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews). She was so smitten with his performance and personality, that she made me promise to go listen at his Myspace. I did and I was just as smitten.
Flash forward four years later, and I hear that Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue are coming to Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Fest, and I’m so excited; I can hardly believe it!
So… what was the show like? What is Trombone Shorty like? Incredible. Amazing. Hip. Stunning. Professional. Young!
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue performed early Saturday evening on the Main Stage to a packed out audience, and as the music permeated the Fair Grounds, more and more people wandered over to find out where the party was. The music was snappy; Jazz, New Orleans style, but with a youthful Rock/Funk exuberance to it that attracted many people that might not otherwise appreciate Jazz. Instrumentals are combined with lyrics in some songs, improptu Scat singing in others to create a style of music unique to this band.
It’s not just about the music though; it’s a complete performance. When I spoke with the band later that evening, Trombone Shorty explained that they often go out on stage with only a few definite songs in mind, and fill in the setlist as they perform- gauging the audience’s reaction to know which direction to take and what sort of performance to gift them with.Each audience is unique; why should each performance be the same, is their philosophy.
Our show included a very cool ‘duel’ between Peter ‘Rabbit’ Murano on guitar and Mike ‘Bass’ Ballard on bass, which ended with Mike flat on his back (still playing exceptionally, I might add), and Trombone Shorty and Trixzey (Clarence Slaughter/sax) in the background in stitches. Drummer JoJo (Joey Peebles) got into the action by standing up to watch the exchange, pounding the kit to maintain a perfect backbeat for the two to work off of. It was an unexpected finale that left me (and the crowd) wanting more.
I was fortunate enough to catch two Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue shows at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues festival - the band played Sunday afternoon on the Blues Stage - and just as they had stated the night before; the setlist was not the same, nor was the performance of the band - how could it be? The audience vibe and reactions were completely different than the evening before! This time, the show was brass heavier, with Trombone Shorty switching easily between trombone and trumpet, and more sax by Trixzey with the band at one point all dancing the same moves and Trombone Shorty easily getting the audience to it’s feet to join in the dance moves. The show culminated with a New Orleans style procession of brass - Trombone Shorty and Trixzey jumped out into the audience to wind their way through the crowd, picking up followers along the way, then jumped back on stage to finish it off as only they could - each band member traded his instrument with someone else - Trombone Shorty on drums, drummer Jojo on lead guitar, Peter ‘Rabbit’ moving to saxiphone, Trixzey giving up his sax in favor of bass guitar and Mike hitting the trombone - and the amazing thing is they sounded ‘almost’ as good!
This band has been together since 2000, since high school. They play together, jam together, travel together, and you can cleary see they enjoy being on stage with each other. This was their third time in Canada in less than three months; on average, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue play 100-160 shows a year nationwide.
Jojo, Peter 'Rabbit', Trixzey, Trombone Shorty, Mike
You can find more info about Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue at the links listed below. And you can listen (for free) on their Myspace so be sure to check them out.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue website
Trombone Shorty Myspace