The first time I heard of Trombone Shorty, he was a recurring character on the HBO Series “Treme”. At first I thought he was fictional character, but as I did more research on the music played in the show, I discovered that he was, in fact, a highly acclaimed trumpet and trombone player who grew up a child prodigy from a musical family. I can truly say that a television show helped me delve into New Orleans R&B, Funk, Soul and Jazz. I watched many videos of him perform (like the one immediately below) and I knew that talent like that needed to be seen live. When I heard he was to have a free concert on the Santa Monica Pier, I “penciled” it into my calendar.
I love horn sections. Earth Wind and Fire, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago. They each had amazing horn sections that gave their hit songs an extra something. Every so often, I’ll hear a popular, modern album that utilizes a great horn section, and I think that there’ll be a resurgence or renaissance of that type and style of music, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Dustbowl Revival did a great job warming the crowd up, and when Trombone Shorty took the stage the audience was adequately lubricated for some funky, jazzy goodness and with the first note, the dancing began.
Trombone Shorty and his backing band, Orleans Avenue, wowed the audience with their musical prowess. While his singing was good, it was his work on the trumpet and trombone that truly mesmerized the audience. The highlights of his set, for me at least, was when he showcased his impressive circulatory breathing, holding notes for what seemed to be forever. A partial video clip is in the highlights I posted below, and they are partial because I had to stop filming as I had to watch him hold that note with my own eyes instead of the through the lens of the camera. It was amazing.
He played to the audience’s local leanings by covering snippets of popular Los Angeles hip hop standards by Snoop and Dre and added his own flare to classic jazz standards (snippets of each are included in the video montage below).
Watching Trombone Shorty perform made me long for another trip back to New Orleans. When that trip happens, I’ll make sure it coincides with a Trombone Shorty performance at a New Orleans club.