Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue bring the beat to Beaver Creek
If you go ...
Who: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
More information: Visit www.vilarpac.org.
As a kid marching in parades in New Orleans, Troy Michael Andrews was about half the size of the horn he blew, thus earning him the nickname Trombone Shorty.
From the age of 4, Andrews emulated the musicians he heard playing in the “second line” parades in Treme — the historic neighborhood in New Orleans where he was raised. His older brother James, who is also a skilled performer, was one of his first influences. By age 6, Andrews was a bandleader; at age 12, he was touring internationally, and he spent his teenage years playing with brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz.
Andrews, who isn’t even 30 years old yet, has had his own band, Orleans Avenue, since 2009, and they’ve toured across the Unite States, Europe, Australia, Russia, Japan and Brazil. He performs with them in Beaver Creek tonight.
“We’ve been trying to get Shorty to our stage for years, and as soon as he was willing to come during the holidays, we jumped on the opportunity to have him and his band in Beaver Creek,” said Vilar Performing Arts Center Executive Director Kris Sabel. “The day after Christmas is a great time to let loose and have some fun after all the stress of the holidays. This is going to be such an energetic show. The dance pit will be open, so you can come out and dance the night away to these great New Orleans beats.”
Andrews took the time to answer some questions for the Vail Daily.
Vail Daily: Tell us about your beginnings as a musician. We hear you became a bandleader at the age of 6. How did that happen?
Trombone Shorty: Well, I grew up right in the heart of Treme, so it was a real music neighborhood, and there was a bunch of bands like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Rebirth Brass Band. My family played music growing up, so I’ve been playing and marching around the streets in the parades since I was 4. Everything I do is influenced by my musical upbringing there; that’s my life. Without Treme, I don’t think I would have my sound or be where I am today.
VD: You are arguably among the most well-known of modern trumpet/trombone players. How does your style and music differ from the previous generation of brass players, and how do you draw inspiration from them?
TS: A big part for me is the experience people have at my shows. I want to be an entertainer. I was a natural musician first, then I went to school and learned the music at the same school where legends like Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick went. I learned about both playing and showmanship from my brother, James Andrews. And I’ve studied tape of James Brown and Michael Jackson so that my show is not just about me playing the horns.
VD: Beaver Creek is nearly at 9,000 feet in altitude. Have you ever performed at that high of altitude, and do you expect it will affect the concert? I know your show is pretty energetic.
TS: I think the farthest up we’ve been was in Quito, Ecuador. So we’ve been up over 9,000 feet for shows. Coming from sea level it can be a workout playing at altitude, but we drink a lot of water and the show is the same high energy as if we were down by the ocean.
VD: What has been your favorite piece to perform live and why?
TS: It’s hard to pick favorites because we have had amazing crowds in unexpected places. But Paris is always amazing. We were just there and even though it was colder than I like, the people are always so cool and give us a great response.
VD: What have been your favorite collaborations with other musicians and why?
TS: My band and I were just in Europe touring with Lenny Kravitz, and I was lucky enough to get to play on his set a couple nights. We closed in Paris with “Fly Away” and that was pretty cool. He’ll always be my mentor, about two or three months after I graduated high school I got a call to play with his band. I don’t know what my music would sound like today without that experience with Lenny and having him as both a mentor and friend.
VD: Can you tell us a favorite backstory or background to one of your songs?
TS: We had one on the first album called “928 Horn Jam” that is reference to a saying in New Orleans you use if maybe you are trying to avoid someone. The elevated Interstate 10 runs through the edge of the neighborhood. So you say, “Tell ‘em to meet me at 928 under the Interstate!”
Vail Daily Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong contributed to this story. High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 970-748-2984. Find her on Twitter @caramieschnell.
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