Interviews

Interview with Trombone Shorty

By Zaki JufriEvents - 15 March 2012 2:01 PM | Updated 16 March 2012

Interview with Trombone Shorty

It hits you like a suckerpunch. Just when you were expecting a jazz riff, a rock guitar solo comes out or when a funk jive on the trombone is playing, a bebop melody comes flying in from nowhere.

Trombonist Troy Andrews calls his brand of music ‘Supafunkrock.’ The barrage of bleats, beats and riffs are so infectious that anybody (discerning music lover or not) can’t help but to get on their feet and dance; and that’s what exactly happened last year at the Timbre Rock & Roots music festival.

Described as “a musical gumbo played at high energy” by originator and music artiste Andrews, “Supafunkrock” exemplifies New Orleans, the city he, or otherwise known as Trombone Shorty was born and raised in.

“It’s a direct reflection of the spirit of New Orleans, or least my interpretation of it,” explains Andrews in a telephone interview with inSing.com.

The 26-year old artiste will be bringing “Supafunkrock” back to Singapore for the upcoming Timbre Rock & Roots music festival come March 30-31. This will be his second appearance at the festival.

“I wish I had more time to spend in the city the last time I was here. Singapore is such a great place to be and the audience at last year’s festival was just awesome. I was quite sad that we didn’t have more time to hang out in the city and see more of it,” says Andrews as he talks about his experience here last year.

"Trombone Shorty was, in our opinion, the most exciting discovery for Timbre Rock & Roots last year. His explosive performance blew everyone away and won him many new fans. No one expected it so we thought it’s great for him to come back again with a bigger band and a brilliant new album. This time round, folks are buying tickets just to catch him in action again as a rising star," enthuses Danny Loong, Timbre Group's Chief Creative Director.

A natural born musician, Andrews grew up in a family of musical performers and he picked up the trombone when he was four years old. “My brother James Andrews was a trumpet player and he gave me a trombone one day as my mum thought that we didn’t need two trumpet players in the house. I just fell in love with it and it has been my favourite instrument to play ever since,” he recalls.

He also revealed the significance of growing up in the Tremé neighbourhood in New Orleans: “The neighbourhood was very special to me because it was a very good place for a kid to grow up around music. I had access to a lot of great musicians growing up such as The Rebirth Brass Band and my brother James Andrews among others. It’s just an amazing place to be and it’s also great to be in a musical family where everybody’s there to show you how it’s done.”

By 15, Andrews was already playing professionally around New Orleans' jazz/bar circuit, and by age 20, he was touring with Lenny Kravitz and Aerosmith. In 2009, he officially formed a band of guys he'd been working with for a while into The Orleans Avenue band, most possibly the hottest and hippest live act to come out of New Orleans.

“I wanted to develop my music so I thought that it would be great to form a band with my friends so that we don’t have to play the same old songs all week,” he says when asked the reason for forming the band.

He adds, “Some of us have been playing together in music camps around the city when we were kids and when we got older we went to do different things. I always thought that they were the best musicians in the class when we went to summer camp in high school.”

Today, the trombonist is hailed for bridging old and new styles of jazz into the unique sound he calls "Supafunkrock." He and The Orleans Avenue have also been busy travelling the globe performing at music festivals, concerts as well as appearing on television shows including “Conan”, “The Late Show with David Letterman”, “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Their latest album, “For True” released in September last year features Rebirth Brass Band, Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes, Stanton Moore, Kid Rock, Ben Ellman and Lenny Kravitz.

The album’s just a big party—just like New Orleans; like Mardi Gras season where we’ll party all day. It’s a record you play during a barbeque, something you play to enjoy the vibe of New Orleans,” says Andrews.

He is also quick to dismiss those that calls his music—‘Supafunkrock’—a type of ‘jazz’. “A lot of people say that my music is some type of jazz but I just happen to play a trombone. And being from New Orleans—the birthplace of jazz—doesn’t help and just confuses people about my music.  We do play a lot of solos but if you do listen to the music properly, you’d know it’s not jazz. My music revolves around the types of music that you can hear in New Orleans, which is basically everything,” he insists.

What can music fans expect from him at Timbre Rock & Roots?

“It’s going to be a big party with lots of booming, high energy music. Everyone should come in their dancing shoes as we’re going to have loads of fun.”

Dance to Supafunkrock with Trombone Shorty & The Orleans Avenue at Timbre Rock & Roots 2012.