No high resolution image exists...
Trombone Shorty is blowing up. The onetime child prodigy (he started playing at age three, was a bandleader at age six and was touring the world with Lenny Kravitz at 18) is now 24, and he's everywhere. Maybe you saw him on stage with The Dave Matthews Band at the "NFL Opening Kickoff 2010." Or maybe you've seen him on HBO's hit show "Treme." Perhaps you caught him and his band, Orleans Avenue, on Letterman a few months back.
If you have yet to experience Trombone Shorty and his unique brand of "supafunkrock," despair not – you'll have plenty more opportunities, beginning with his show Friday night at Harlow's.
He agreed to take a few minutes out of his very busy schedule to speak with me from his Dallas hotel room.
But first I had to find him, which proved harder than expected.
I'd been told to call the hotel at 6:30 p.m. and ask to be connected to Troy Andrews' (his given name) room. At 6:30 on the dot, I made the call, and the following exchange took place:
"Can you please put me through to Troy Andrews' room?" I asked the nice lady who answered.
"It's Troy Andrews?'
"I'm sorry, there's no one here by that name."
At this point I was totally befuddled. Did I get the wrong number? I'd already had to reschedule the interview once, now this. Maybe this just isn't in the cards.
"Is he staying under another last name or another first name?"
"Well," I thought I might as well give it a shot, "how about Trombone Shorty?"
"Can you spell that last name for me?"
". . . Yes, please hold while I connect you."
A moment later, Troy picked up the phone.
The Sacramento Press: First off, I wanted to say thanks, I know you're really busy. I caught your set at High Sierra Music Fest over the fourth and was floored: You guys were amazing
Trombone Shorty: Aw, thank you man. I can't even remember that far back.
SP: Up in the mountains, Northern California?
TS: I remember, I can't remember everything that happened. . .
SP: Well, you know what? Neither can I. It was a good weekend, though, and you guys were amazing. You're coming out for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in a couple of weeks, too. Have you ever played that one before?
TS: No, I've never played that one before, but I've heard a lot of great things. My friends Galactic played it, I think last year, and they were raving about the festival. So, I've never played it myself, but I've heard great things about it, and I'm very, very excited to be able to come this year.
SP: Absolutely, It's an amazing thing that Warren Hellman is doing, putting that on for free for the fans. You actually played at Harlow's here in Sacramento earlier this year, do you have a soft spot in your heart for Sacramento?
TS: Yeah man, there's always a . . . the reception is good. It's a music town, you know? The people are great there. Whenever I come back, it always feels like home with the reception everybody gives me. A lot of love. It's a wonderful place.
SP: That is fantastic. Some people opine that we get skipped over a lot, so it's fantastic that you don't forget about us.
TS: Oh no, I can't.
SP: What can your fans expect at your show? And also, just a little something for people who maybe haven't heard you before.
TS: Well, the fans can definitely expect us to be doing a lot of material off the record ("Backatown"), also some impromptu stuff. Just high-energy funk, rock – make sure they bring their dancing shoes – it's gonna be a wonderful time. And for the new people . . . I guess they'll be a shock.
SP: I was hoping you could talk a little bit about "Treme." David Simon is amazing. "The Wire," I think, was the best show I've ever seen. What's that been like?
TS: It's been really good. When I go in and do my part, I only do my part. I don't know the rest of the storyline, and I'm not sure where I fit in at that particular moment, then when I see everything, it makes sense. David Simon, he's a great writer and producer. It's been a great opportunity for me and a great learning experience . . . learning a few things on the acting side of it. Also, it's very authentic about it. Some of the things I see is really real. It's what the New Orleansean people, what we see and what we do. They really got inside of it and found a way to translate it to TV, and nobody's ever been able to capture that. Ever.
SP: What was it like working with Wendell Pierce? (who played Det. Bunk Moreland in "The Wire" and plays Antoine Batiste in "Treme")?
TS: It was good, we're good friends. I've been knowing him for a couple years. I remember him telling me about "Treme" before "Treme" even came about. He said, "I'm working on this project we're gonna do called 'Treme,' and I gotta start playing Trombone." This is maybe two, three years before they even did it. I'm like, "Wow, we gonna have to practice together." It's been great. He always gives me some acting tips and always makes me feel very comfortable when I'm doing my scenes with him . . . very helpful, and I can't thank him enough for showing me some little tricks and different things – how to relax. He's a great person.
SP: How much of the final product have you actually had a chance to see?
TS: Well, I've only seen the first two of them. I did like four or five of them, but I've only seen two of them. From what I've seen, they did a very, very great job. Some of the things that happen on there . . . I can go right outside my house, and there's Rebirth Brass Band second lining up the street for a jazz funeral or somebody's birthday party, anything. I think they did a wonderful job.
SP: Who Dat?
TS: Who Dat?!?
SP: How'd the Thursday Night Football extravaganza go for you?
TS: Oh, it was good. To be able to come out with Kermit Ruffins and be a surprise guest with Dave Matthews in front of my hometown was a true blessing. Full of excitement, happy to be in town, happy to be able to make it work for me to be there during that time.
SP: Was the Saints championship big for you?
TS: It was big for everybody. It meant so much to everybody, people that's not from New Orleans were rooting for the Saints. It meant as much to us as those people. It was just one of those moments, you know?
SP: Are you excited to be going on tour with Dave Matthews Band this . . . ?
TS: I'm very excited. Earlier this year I was just thinking to myself, secretly to myself . . . I was like, "Man, maybe, one of these days, if we get a chance to play with Dave Matthews, open up for him, that would be amazing." Another amazing event that happened in life. I'm a big fan of Dave – I've watched his stuff. And then it came true! I've never told nobody that, and I just get a call out of the blue, and I'm like, "Whoa."
SP: You didn't make the call? Someone called you? Your wish came true?
TS: It was just me, thinking inside my head, and it came through this year.
SP: Aw man, dreams do come true. That's fantastic. How was Letterman?
TS: Letterman was good. It was fun. We got in there and did two or three minutes' worth of music. It was a great experience for us. Now that we got that out of the way, I think we'll be more comfortable on the next couple of TV runs we have. It was a great thing to be able to do that and represent my city on national TV. The whole city watched, and they were rooting for us, and I felt the energy all the way up in New York from New Orleans and around the world.
SP: Wow, that's beautiful. So you got Jimmy Kimmel and "The Tonight Show" coming coming up. You'll be ready for them?
TS: Oh, I'm ready. Ready.
SP: I know you're real busy. I'm gonna let you go. It was a real pleasure. Hopefully I'll get a chance to talk with you next week.
TS: Thank you my friend.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue are playing Harlow's at 9 p.m. Friday. Opening for him are local favorites The Nibblers. Tickets are $20 and can be bought here. It's going to be a phenomenal show. You should go. And don't forget your dancing shoes.
Photo property of Kirk Edwards