Life+Times caught up with Trombone Shorty to talk about his new album, Say That To Say This,and the influence of hip-hop on his music.
Trombone Shorty is just 27-years-old but he’s been in the music game for two-plus decades, and while he’s watched peers and elders struggle to continue to push the music, he’s made sure he hasn’t fallen into the same trap. Since day one, he’s looked to shift the boundaries, especially hailing from New Orleans, a cornerstone of American music, where one could easily feel pressured into simply playing to appease the “tradition.” Bucking the norm has allowed Trombone Shorty – born Troy Andrews – to work effectively with musical pioneers like The Meters, progressive contemporary groups like Rebirth Brass Band, and New Orleans hip-hop legends like Master P and Mannie Fresh.
The result of all of this has been Shorty’s own brand of music, supafunkrock, and his new record, Say That To Say This (in stores now), is full of it. Bringing in Raphael Saadiq to spice up the musical gumbo, Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue, successfully managed to craft another batch soulful, unique and original records. Shorty described the album as “really funky, like James Brown mixed with The Meters and Neville Brothers, with what I do on top, and we have a bit of R&B from Raphael’s side.” The horns are classic New Orleans, but the drums and grooves are derived from funk and hip-hop; Shorty plays several other instruments, including drums and trumpet, in addition to his trombone.
Life+Times: You’ve recorded a lot of music despite still being very young, what’s significant about Say That To Say This, especially working with Raphael Saadiq?
Trombone Shorty: I’ve been a big fan of Raphael Saadiq, even before he knew who I was. I’ve been listening to his music since I was a kid – we have some mutual friends that introduced me to him a couple years ago. Being able to record with him was an unbelievable experience because my band and I, we’ve been listening to his music on the tour bus for years, picking it apart, learning things from it, and for us to have chance to work with him, we had to step up our game because we know one [we’re working with] one of our favorite heroes. It was wonderful. With him being a great musician and great producer, he just added himself to our band during the sessions and we were able to take each other to different musical things. We gave him a little New Orleans knowledge and he taught us some things. It was great and I wanted to record it in L.A. with him at his studio so we could focus and have that time to create some things and go deep into the music to see what we could come up with. It was a real blessing and honor to work with someone of his caliber.
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