Though now one of the New Orleans' most popular exports, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews was greeted like a conquering hometown hero at the 9:30 Club on Friday night by a romping, stomping, capacity crowd.
Even so, the roar that erupted when the 24-year-old strutted onstage, trombone and trumpet audaciously hoisted over his head, was no match for what followed: a near-deafening, funk-charged blast of percussion, brass, reeds and guitar distortion that might have knocked the crowd sideways had there been any room to move.
Few musicians from New Orleans or anywhere else possess the level of energy, stamina and showmanship that Andrews displayed Friday night. He not only worked tirelessly for his fans, he worked smart, cleverly pacing a two hour-plus show that built to an exhilarating, Louis Armstrong-inspired encore of "When The Saints Go Marching In."
Joyfully serving as trombonist, trumpeter, vocalist, conductor, choreographer, impressionist, Crescent City tour guide and funk-jazz ringmaster, Andrews primarily used tunes from recent CDs, including "Hurricane Season" and "Something Beautiful," as touchstones. He emphasized free-wheeling arrangements and the bone-rattling thrust generated by his Orleans Avenue sextet. Improvised tangents, parade-strutting antics and an unusually colorful mix of stylistic allusions - everything from seminal jazz brass groans and smears to wah-wah pedal funk and dissonant baritone sax outbursts - came into play.
At one point, after acknowledging the presence of actress Angela Bassett in the crowd, Andrews softened the mood by saluting Washington native Marvin Gaye with a sexy, falsetto-laced rendition of "Let's Get It On." But the ballads were easily outnumbered by the tunes that packed a ferocious wallop, sting and drive.
--Mike Joyce, Aug. 2010