Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Reviewed By Evelyn Miska Krieger
For the uninitiated, Trombone Shorty is truly unlike anything they’ve heard before. The project is the brainchild of New Orleans’ native Troy Andrews and is an astounding mix of jazz, Motown, rap, soul and even a little bit rock. Even if the album isn’t a total home run, there’s so much that genuinely works for Andrews that a few slip-ups are easily ignored.
“Buckjump” which features the Rebirth Brass Band and 5th Ward Weebie is a smart start for the album. Immediately listeners get that jazz vibe, but it’s clear that there’s something more coming. As the track develops, a decidedly modern beat and vocal style meld into the song, creating something like a mash-up that began with jazz. Like many of the songs, the album’s title track focuses on the music and doesn’t let vocals overshadow the brilliance of the composition. Another great example of Andrews’ talent at mixing genres, “For True” takes a nod to history while looking forward at the same time.
One of the more surprising collaborations on the album is with Kid Rock on “Mrs. Orleans.” Oddly enough, the rap provided by Rock benefits the song with it’s somewhat more gritty sound. However, if the rap interlude had been much longer, it might have overpowered things, but, as with most of his songs, Andrews knows when to add and when to stop. “Big 12” is one of the coolest tracks on the album by far, so cool in fact listeners gain points just by association. The funky mix of the horns, a great little riff that the song builds off of and you’ll feel like you’re transported to a styling, smoky little jazz club that only the very coolest people know about. The beat makes you want to bob your fedora-clad head as Andrews plays off the main melody.
For True is an intriguing album since it likely will find an audience with some jazz and soul fans, but has enough edge that it may also find fans in less-expected places. Even with a variety of collaborators, the best part is that each track is so clearly Andrews’, just with different twists. Sure, there are one or two tracks that just don’t grab listeners in the way that a track like “Big 12” does, but they’re still quality songs true to Andrews’ approach.