Post-Katrina and with the rise of the acclaimed TV show Treme, New Orleans has been in the news like never before.
So too has been Trombone Shorty--one of the city's most conspicuous musicians (trombone, trumpet, apparent shortness), and one who between his acclaimed new Verve Forecast album Backatown, onstage appearances with the likes of U2 and this year's appearance on Treme, is in the spotlight in a major way.
Born Troy Andrews 24 years ago, Shorty, like many in New Orleans, grew up in a musical household where both instruments and audible music were never in short supply. That he's so young puts him in an interesting place, musically, as he's as fluent in the world of hip-hop as straight jazz. As he told the Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot recently, "I'd put on the headphones and play solos over the beats of (New Orleans MCs) Mystikal, Master P, Juvenile. I was responding to the rhythmic approach of these guys. Mystikal reminds me of Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, the way he phrases and how he moves rhythmically. I was trying to imitate that on my horn."
For your pleasure, then, check out these three live performances by the man himself at the recent French Quarter Festival in New Orleans. The largest free music event in Louisiana, the festival showcases local music on 17 different stages and--one suspects--some of the finest food you'd ever want to eat.
And keep your eye on Trombone Shorty!