Trombone Shorty | For True

Album Review: Trombone Shorty | For True

By Peggy Oliver

(Advance review: CD to be released on Sept. 13th, 2011)

Andrews has that contagious, monstrously incredible bundle of energy
every time he hits the stage. Besides his remarkable talent to back up
that Energizer Bunny power supply, he has fed off his childhood musician
friends, family and mentors in a city where their music history is
highly celebrated and immensely embraced on a daily basis. Nicknamed
Trombone Shorty at the age of four by his older brother James, Troy was
undoubtedly destined to make his birthplace of New Orleans proud by
educating and encouraging future generations of brass players. Though he
is a product of the New Orleans’ brass band tradition, Shorty’s ball of
energy and other musical inspirations have expanded his unique musical
vision. Playing with The Rebirth Brass Band, the Marsalis Family and
many New Orleans legends, as well as touring with Lenny Kravitz, the sky
was way past the limit for Shorty. Now at only twenty-five year old,
this songwriter/musician/vocalist is already building upon his legacy
with an ambitious urban recipe that encompasses funk, hip-hop, pop, jazz
and blues; topped with in your face rock attitude.
of the biggest honors thus far was being the youngest musician pictured
on an official New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival poster. Shorty
also appeared on the HBO documentary, Treme
(Shorty’s neighborhood growing up), which examines New Orleans beyond
the French Quarter. In 2010, he was nominated for his major label debut,
Backatown; bringing plenty of props to New
Orleans’ prolific history in his trademark Supafunkrock style. Since
then, Shorty and Orleans Avenue — which includes childhood friend
— Dwayne Williams, have toured the U.S. and several continents.
Just over a year later, Shorty returns with For True, which picks up where Backatown
leaves off; only with some more musical meat. Best described as hip/hop
big band jazz, “Buckjump” seamlessly marries two generations of New
Orleans with bounce rapper 5th Ward Weeble and The Rebirth
Brass Band. The title track paints a vivid picture of passionate
bullfighting with Shorty’s majestic trumpet and Pete Murano’s furious
guitar strokes. Kravitz’s rock funk influence bleeds all over “Roses”
anchored by Kravitz’s slinky bass lines. “The Craziest Thing” smartly
packages soul with that New Orleans flair, thanks to Shorty’s trombone
swagger. At times, the horn section goes beyond just laying tight hooks
and locks into more animated improvisations and soundtrack type bites
for “Big 12” & “Unc.” Ledisi’s astonishing vocal depth and Shorty’s
gutsy musicianship fully bring the studio house down on “Then There Was
You.” Never forsaking their New Orleans roots, Shorty and Orleans Avenue
stir their distinct brass band gumbo with two interludes entitled
Lagniappe; the latter spiced up with thicker drum hip-hop tinged beats.  
Besides the inspired musicianship, producer Ben Ellman (who also produced Backatown) provides an extremely sensitive ear to For True
because of his experience with another New Orleans-based eclectic band
Galactic. The energy level Shorty contributes to all his concerts also
translates to the studio setting without a hitch. New Orleans certainly
has plenty to rave about with a remarkable talent like Shorty’s. And
taking everything into account, For True definitely does not suffer from the sophomore slump.                 
Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene

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