Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Toledo Museum of Art, the old gals couldn’t help but start wiggling around on their canvases Wednesday night.
No doubt their Rubenesque rumps were shaking and shimmying, and the picnicking Monet ladies were getting funky. It’s safe to say even stodgy, old high-collared Dutch dudes couldn’t resist breaking into a smile and nodding along to the beat wafting in from the Peristyle.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue were in the house, and even the dead had to dance.
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Playing an immensely entertaining but relatively brief one-hour set topped off with a mini 15-minute jam with five Toledo School for the Arts students, Troy Andrews (Trombone Shorty) and his band managed again to conquer the stately but staid classical vibe of the museum’s concert hall.
The New Orleans horn player is a phenomenal talent, able to echo Sketches of Spain-era Miles Davis on trumpet during a tour de force solo on “St. James Infirmary” and then whip into a simmering Prince-style R&B jam that boiled over into ecstatic funk. He plays trombone and trumpet, sings, handles front-man duties, and is band leader while making it all look effortless and, best of all, fun.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to see more photos from the concert
An angular, handsome 27- year-old man who moves with fluid grace, he made eye contact with the audience, put his five piece band through a tight set that featured no wasted time between songs tuning or switching instruments, and clearly had a good time. It took about a half-hour for the bulk of the audience of about 1,000 to get up and start moving, which creates a strange juxtaposition between the music and the folks whose derrieres are planted in their seats.
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You kind of want to shake them and say, “This ain’t Rachmaninoff, people; you can move!” If that bothered Trombone Shorty and his band, it never showed over the eight songs in the first hour. Each musician — Mike Ballard on bass, Pete Murano on guitar, Joey Peebles on drums, Dan Oestreicher on baritone saxophone, and Tim McFatter on tenor saxophone — was given plenty of room in the arrangements to stretch out and jam. After an hour, the proper part of the set was over and Andrews called the TSA students up to the stage.
Ross Thompson, Kendal Smith, Jamie Dewyor, Taylor Fowler, and Kaiden Chase brought horns and guitars on the stage and each was given a brief solo during “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Then the students and the band proceeded to grab horns, cymbals, and a cowbell and Shorty led them in a procession through the crowd. It was a great touch from a guy who has worked with any number of musical luminaries and who recently played at the White House.
Touring behind his third major release album, Say That To This, he could have hustled his own music, but he devoted a solid 15 minutes to letting a bunch of high school kids have a great musical moment they’ll never forget. Kudos once again to the museum, Kay Elliott, and the Toledo Jazz Society for making it happen.
Contact Rod Lockwood at: email@example.com or 419-724-6159.