Vancouver International Jazz Festival – Trombone Shorty at the Vogue Theatre, June 27 2011
– by Shawn Conner/photos by Robyn Hanson
Trombone Shorty rode into town on a wave of hype, most of it coming from my friend Eugene. “The second coming of Prince,” crowed the Winnipeger. The fine print should have read “as a performer, not necessarily as a songwriter.”
But whatever; Trombone Shorty (aka Troy Andrews) and Orleans Avenue’s show with the 2011 Vancouver International Jazz Festival was still a fantastic, high-energy spectacle, the kind of concert where the encore is nearly as long as the set itself, or at least seems so.
Trombone Shorty‘s talents lie in his explosive, action-packed trumpet and trombone playing, and his ability to work the stage like a pro – like Bruce Springsteen, actually, the performer who came most to mind as Shorty took a child’s delight in the chops of his expert band. He also has strong, soulful voice that worked well on both the blues of Alain Toussaint’s “On Your Way Down” and the sultry sleaze of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”. No doubt more than a few of the females in the audience went home thinking about Shorty’s version of that song, along with the singer’s rather ripped arms.
So okay, maybe a few of the songs were nothing but expertly and energetically played funk/soul workouts for their own sake. Still, by the end of the night, the band was cooking with uranium – the last 30 or 40 minutes were as exciting as anything I’m likely to see this year.
Through the two hours of spine-tingling brass, funky drum-and-bass and sizzling guitar breaks, the audience kept up their end of the deal, bee-lining it to the dancefloor in front of their stage and bopping along. In particular, the band’s anything-goes version of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout!” had us all acting like happy dancing rocking fools.
In those moments, there wasn’t a nonbeliever in the house.