Thursday, December 9, 2010

Album Review - Trombone Shorty - Backatown

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information after if needed but I will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:
Trombone Shorty
**** out of *****

The future sound of New Orleans music is here, Trombone Shorty's Backatown has announced the arrival.  The opening winds of "Hurrican Season" are intoxicating and will probably be sampled by a smart DJ before you finish reading this while the title track contains a haunted march over snapping snare and funked out keys, but this isn't a full instrumental album.  Shorty has managed to fuse rock/hip-hop/jazz to cook up the audio gumbo that will get you fat before you are compelled to dance off the calories.

Troy Andrews attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts but had his nickname earlier, playing the trombone before his arms could even hold it up, he is already a legend in New Orleans and attracted some major players to help him out here on his first major label release.  Allen Toussaint contributes on his own "On Your Way Down" and Lenny Kravitz pops in for the slow rock get down ballad "Something Beautiful".  Not all the guests add to the quality of things though, Marc Broussard's vocals and lyrics on "Right To Complain" take away from a great backing track.  When it comes to new lyrical tunes Shorty can still use some work, "One Night Only" works better live as a party tune then it does here, yet the playing is still world class. 

Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue shine brightest when they can control the tempo and flair like on the trumpet based "Neph" and balls out blasting of "Suburbia" complete with fuzzed up guitar and spastic horn breakdowns.  There is enough pop appeal to grab newbie's ears and enough experimentation to draw in jazz hounds creating an album that can really be enjoyed by all.  As Troy and the gang continue to grow and work with other great artists a lot will be expected as they have set the bar extremely high with Backatown.         

Sure there are artists I love that I constantly view through rose colored glasses, but I can admit when they drop a clunker (Dylan's last) but it is always a blast when someone you completely dig comes through with the goods.

2 years ago Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue was clearly the highlight of my annual Jazzfest trip, but for those who weren't there it was hard to describe the mix of Rock Funk Jazz and sprinkling of cheesy that made them great; and there was precious little I could play for them.  This release changes that.  Anyone who wants to get down to the new sounds of New Orleans needs to make a couple of purchases this year and Backatown is certainly one of them.   Enough words, let's party:


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