Trombone Shorty long on talent, showmanship

New Orleans’ wunderkind set to perform at Peristyle

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    Trombone Shorty a.k.a. Troy Andrews will be playing in Toledo Sept. 18.

  • Trombone Shorty a.k.a. Troy Andrews will be playing in Toledo Sept. 18.
    Trombone Shorty a.k.a. Troy Andrews will be playing in Toledo Sept. 18.

    Trombone Shorty might be the only person on the planet to whom you can pose this question:

    So, who’s more intimidating to meet face to face: Barack Obama or Mick Jagger?

    Shorty, aka Troy Andrews, the 27-year-old New Orleans jazz/​funk/​pop wunderkind, had the pleasure of meeting the President and Rolling Stones frontman at the White House last year, but he’s not biting on which one made him the most nervous.

    That’s because he also was sharing a stage with other luminaries such as Jeff Beck and B.B. King for the blues concert.

    “Just to be on stage with people like that, I’m already overwhelmed because I’m on stage and there’s Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck and B.B. King and I’m like, ‘Whoa’ and then I turn to the front and there’s the President and his wife, the First Lady, and I’m like, ‘Man, this can’t be happening, all this in one place.’ It definitely was one of the highlights of my career to have a dream come true in one setting. I don’t think it gets any better for me.”

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    Back to the question, Jagger or Obama?

    “I have no idea, I have no idea,” Andrews said, chuckling. “I was just honored to be there and to be in the same room. It was cool. All of them were intimidating to me. I was by far the youngest musician on the stage. I was just like, ‘Oh, time to get down to business.’”

    Thanks to the Art Tatum Jazz Society, Andrews will return to the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle on Wednesday night after putting on a blazing, rump-shaking, wall-rattling concert there two years ago. Along with his band Orleans Avenue, Trombone Shorty combines the best elements of New Orleans style funk — he pronounces it “fonk” — with vintage soul and rock.

    The show comes on the heels of the release of his third major label album, “Say That to This,” which was produced by soul/​pop star Raphael Saadiq and features the first studio reunion of New Orleans legends The Meters since the mid-’70s.

    Andrews is still buzzing from working with his idols.

    “To me and musicians in New Orleans, it’s safe to say that The Meters are kind of like the Beatles," he said. “They helped create that foundation for me to have something to base [my music] on and move forward. It’s unbelievable, everyone listens to the music as if their music came out yesterday. It was very powerful for us.”

    Over the course of his still young career, Andrews has played with Lenny Kravitz, Dr. John, the Marsalis family, Allen Touissant, and a variety of bands with whom he has spontaneously jammed such as Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. He’s comfortable in a wide array of genres and styles because of his insatiable musical curiosity.

    He said he gets categorized in a variety of “musical neighborhoods” such as jazz, funk, pop, and rhythm and blues and he’s fine with that because it reflects his diverse tastes.

    Fellow New Orleans trombone player Delfeayo Marsalis said that Andrews’ success is attributable to his deep study of various musical styles and his ability to blend them.

    “Shorty is the definite bridge between the New Orleans street brass band and the jazz band and rock band. He’s just a great entertainer and I would tell you I’ve learned a lot from Shorty since he’s come out. He has definitely influenced and impacted me,” Marsalis said in a recent interview.

    “He’s a great guy and he’s studied and he never lets what he’s studied get in the way of his music and that’s a great thing to be able to do.”

    Andrews said he routinely listens to older music and plays along with it on the keyboards or horn to try and figure out how someone such as Touissant or Dr. John wrote songs.

    “It’s really important because in order for me to completely move forward I have to know what happened before me," Andrews said.

    "I don’t necessarily have to play that music, but I like to go and dabble by myself if it’s on the keyboard or the horn or just playing along with the CD or whatever. I’ve always been interested in things that happened before me so I can try and use my imagination about what they were trying to do and allows me to move forward.”

    His goal is to not only evolve himself, but hopefully pass something down to other artists.

    “Sometimes I borrow some things from those musicians and try to make it my own and then hopefully youngsters after me will do the same thing and make it their own," Andrews said. It’s very important to me that I at least know the history of the music.”

    Trombone Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue will appear at the Peristyle at 8 p.m. Wednesday, bringing the Grammy-nominated musician's high-energy jazz and funk to the museum for the second time in two years. Tickets for the concert range from $25 to $75, and are available at, in person at the Stranahan Theater Box Office, or by phone at 419-381-8851.

    Contact Rod Lockwood at: or 419-724-6159.