Thursday, June 28, 2012

Trombone Shorty review

Photo by Tracey Nolan
Last night I went to the Mainstage at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto to see Trombone Shorty as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival. The opening act was Toronto singer Saidah Baba Talibah. She is the daughter of local music legend Salome Bey. She is trying to do what I could best describe as edgy soul. Of course there's a difference between edgy and just plain noisy. And I thought the rock elements didn't work for me. As a singer, Saidah is channeling Nona Hendryx but I think she's trying too hard. In doing a little research about her, I noticed Saidah likes to experiment with odd instruments like cello or sousaphone. On this occasion, they had a tuba on stage. There are tuba players in jazz like Bob Stewart and Howard Johnson. But this band was trying to use it for the bassline. That doesn't work. A tuba doesn't have the depth of a bass. Saidah has a new video out of the song Revolution that was in a Chevy commercial. I think she has talent but that talent is misdirected in the name of supposed edginess. Just sing the song and don't try so hard to be different. Opening acts are always a mixed bag. Didn't like this one. Troy Andrews AKA Trombone Shorty comes from a long line of New Orleans musicians. His grandfather Jessie Hill had a hit single in 1962 with Ooh Poo Pa Doo. Shorty's music is a mix of various styles grounded in New Orleans street music. So when he comes to town, it's gonna be a party. His band New Orleans Avenue has been together since 2009 and includes Mike Ballard on bass, Dan Oestreicher on baritone sax, Tim McFatter on tenor sax, Pete Murano on guitar and Joey Peebles on drums. Shorty plays trombone, trumpet and sings. There's no pretension in Shorty's music. He's not trying to be edgy. He's just trying to have fun. Some musicians are so serious they lose sight of that. It's not a big band but they have a big sound. He played some originals and some New Orleans classics. We wanted a party and that's what we got from Trombone Shorty. Check him out the next time he comes to town

1 comment:

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