Troy Andrews, better known as “Trombone Shorty,” has a word he uses to describe his music: “Supafunkrock.” On any given day, on any given song, he blends rock, pop, jazz, funk, and hip hop. The 31-year-old plays the trumpet, drums, organ and tuba as well as his signature trombone. On his latest album, “Parking Lot Symphony,” he also sings with his band Orleans Avenue.
We spent a day with him recently in his native New Orleans as he walked us through a “Second Line” — the quintessential New Orleans art form in which a band plays while onlookers join the parade.
Trombone Shorty, who had to retrofit a trumpet mouthpiece on his beloved trombone as a youngster, explained musical “tailgating” and “growling” and also riffed on the classic “When the Saints go Marching in.”
After he prepped his horn and gathered a few members of his core group at his Buckjump Studio, he set out for his childhood neighborhood of Treme, one of the oldest black neighborhoods in America. As shown in the recent HBO series of the same name, “Treme” remains an important center of the city’s African-American and Creole culture, especially the modern brass band traditions.
Trombone Shorty said he always makes a point of dropping by his old neighborhood when he stops home briefly from his tours.
To supplement the “first line,” the musicians had to seek out a tuba player in the neighborhood and then the “second line,” the music fanatics, followed. They played for us in front of the world-famous Candlelight Lounge. As part of the tradition, cars passing beeped horns in support.
Video by Jason Lelchuk, Chris Ford, Justin Scuiletti, Hannah Grabenstein
Below, watch NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown’s full interview with Trombone Shorty: