Bumbershoot Music Loung 2011, Saturday: Trombone Shorty

photos by Dave Lichterman

Trombone Shorty, real name Troy Andrews, a classically-trained New Orleans trombone prodigy who began playing on the streets and in local clubs since he was practically a toddler. Now 25, he tours with his band Orleans Avenue playing a unique fusion of jazz and funk highlighted by Trombone Shorty’s magnetic stage presence and virtuosic trombone chops. Orleans Avenue has a lot of members and a lot of horns, but if we learned anything from the Budos Band’s performance in the Music Lounge last year, it’s that ensemble groups with horns and energy can absolutely bring it in the intimate confines of the Lounge. In March, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue played live on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters. For video of that performance, click here.

The Music Lounge was at capacity when Seattle mayor Mike McGinn took the stage to introduce Trombone Shorty, who bounded out from backstage to join Orleans Avenue amidst a huge ovation. While Vusi Mahlasela’s set was more meditative in nature, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue were an unstoppable force of jazz and funk from beginning to end, exploding from one song to the next with little respite. After getting things going with “Slippery Lips,” they paid homage to New Orleans piano legend Allen Toussaint with “On Your Way Down.” An already energetic set was taken to new heights during “Hurricane Season,” when Trombone Shorty played an uninterrupted, circular-breathing-aided trumpet solo that brought the crowd into a rabid frenzy that lasted throughout the rest of the set. With the crowd sufficiently riled, Trombone Shorty engaged the audience with his one-of-a-kind dynamism, calling for hand clapping, call-and-response, and a general getting down of everyone in attendance. By the time they finished their final song, “Do To Me,” the entire Music Lounge was on their feet, cheering wildly as a visible exhausted Trombone Shorty left the stage.

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