Trombone Shorty plays Vail
Vail CO, Colorado
Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, was a child prodigy whose musical talents became apparent around the age most of us face our first days of kindergarten.
Around the age of six he was already playing in his brother’s jazz band and playing multiple brass instruments. But Andrews had no idea where those instruments would take him during those early years on the streets of New Orleans.
Only 22, Andrews has already toured in Lenny Kravitz’s horn section, played the “Late Show with David Letterman” with the Neville Brothers and the Superdome with Green Day and U2.
He calls the musical collaboration with his band Orleans Avenue super funk-rock. It’s energetic dance music that blends hip-hop, rock, funk and jazz to achieve a sort of musical gumbo for the soul.
We spoke with Andrews before his show in Telluride to find out more about what makes this budding star tick.
1. Vail Daily: You started playing the trombone when you were only 4. What made you so interested in playing that instrument at such a young age?
Troy Andrews: My brother James Andrews is a trumpeter and I was playing in his band at a young age. Most bands in New Orleans that’s playing jazz ” he’s playing more jazz than I am now but ” he had a Louis Armstrong setup, it was trombone and trumpet and I was his trombone player. We had musical instruments around the house and I basically banged on all of them or blew on a few of them … I’m just in love with music and I just want to be able to be a part of it my whole life.
2. VD: When you look back are you ever blown away by how far you’ve come in such a short time?
TA: Definitely. I’ve looked back and I am amazed because I’m only 22 and I’ve been playing for like 16 years and I’ve done everything professionally so I was never treated like a kid. I was actually playing real shows, getting that real experience. I was in Europe with my brother every summer. I was playing different shows and really getting the real deal and not getting treated like a child. And looking back at all the experience that I’ve gained from that … I’m just excited to be able to have that experience and get it to me firsthand.
3. VD: Besides your brother, who were some of the biggest musical influences in your life growing up?
TA: I would have to say the Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, the entire city of New Orleans. Everybody there is a community, even people that was non musical, that was not musicians, they had an effect and a big part of my career, even if they couldn’t show me nothin’. The people in the community from where I’m from have people that love music so much in Treme and they just will come to me and make sure that I practice or if I sounded bad they’ll tell me that too. And they’ll inspire me and keep tellin’ me to always go further. This whole city is looking forward to you being able to come out on top and represent as well.
4. VD: I’ve heard a lot of musicians that come from New Orleans say they owe the city a debt of gratitude for what they’ve accomplished. What is it about that city that makes you feel so connected to it in every way?
TA: Only thing I can say is without New Orleans and the people in it I wouldn’t be here today doin’ what I’m doin’. You learn a lot from them, they teach you a lot, they come out and support you and they will let you know when you’re sounding bad. That’s one thing about a musical city; you can’t fool them.
5. VD: Has that forced you to constantly go above and beyond what you’ve already accomplished and how good you think you are?
TA: I have to. It’s forced me to keep going and keep practicing and try to become the best that I can possibly be at what I’m doing. Me personally, it’s an infinitive process to me. I can only get closer and closer which makes me better and better but I’ll never be able to reach ” no musician will ever be able to reach where we really feel comfortable if you really serious about the music … I’m always trying to reach something and the closer I get the further it gets away which means I gotta keep working.
6. VD: You graduated from the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, a school which many other great musicians attended. How did your time there improve your playing?
TA: It definitely pushed me because the thing is I started off natural, I didn’t know nothing. Only thing I could do is play … so when I got to NOCCA they taught me everything technically on a college level or higher about music. I was writing orchestrations, I was reading music, we had sight reading classes, we played classical pieces, we had to do everything that had to do with fundamentals so once I took everything they taught me and added it with my natural capability it was a special thing.
7. VD: What should people expect from a Trombone Shorty show?
TA: What they should expect is high-energy, dance, funk, rock music that’s going to have ’em dancing, so they should bring their dancing shoes. It’s a big party. It’s like Mardi Gras all year ’round. It’s definitely dance music and it’s about fun with us. We gonna put on a good fun show, you gonna dance, you gonnna sweat, I might even stage dive. It’s all about fun.
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or email@example.com.