Trombone Shorty - Backatown (2010)

Trombone Shorty
Trombone_Shorty_Backatown.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

Like the angel Gabriel, when Trombone's Shorty blows his horn much is revealed about the young musician's once dreamlike native home and its uneasy future. The legacy of both pre-and post-Katrina Naw'lin's can be heard far beyond the referential titles like "Hurricane Season," "The Cure" or the title track, "Backatown." Through the energetic Shorty, the city's boxing instinct can be felt in the mischievous French Quarter sway of the swinging on "In The 6th" and the celebratory funeral dance playing through Shorty's triumphant blares. The tragedy of Katrina does haunt this bold project with cyclical dark undertones and doubting indigo moods as black as the oil spill confronting the Gulf city's shores; and yet, in Shorty's hands, there is little sadness to be heard amidst his home's fighting spirit.

Like the angel Gabriel, when Trombone's Shorty blows his horn much is revealed about the young musician's once dreamlike native home and its uneasy future. The legacy of both pre-and post-Katrina Naw'lin's can be heard far beyond the referential titles like "Hurricane Season," "The Cure" or the title track, "Backatown." Through the energetic Shorty, the city's boxing instinct can be felt in the mischievous French Quarter sway of the swinging on "In The 6th" and the celebratory funeral dance playing through Shorty's triumphant blares. The tragedy of Katrina does haunt this bold project with cyclical dark undertones and doubting indigo moods as black as the oil spill confronting the Gulf city's shores; and yet, in Shorty's hands, there is little sadness to be heard amidst his home's fighting spirit. A recurring guest on HBO's Treme as himself, the spit-shined performer has shared stages with-and learned from-some of the top acts in the business, from Alan Touissant to Lenny Kravitz (both of whom pay due diligence here).

The project defies easy characterization with jazz, funk, and even the brassy sounds of the Southern marching band all merged together in Shorty's spicy gumbo. Still, there's radio to consider, and so the project does cleanly and clearly veer into rock territory from time to time, as with the PJ Morton co-penned "Right To Complain" (featuring Marc Broussard), Regardless of how you name it, Shorty Trombone is exceptional at making and writing a joyful noise that never gets boring, even when he colors within the lines, like with funky mid-tempo groove "Something Beautiful" (featuring Lenny Kravitz) and the hip hop tinged "Neph." There isn't really anything on the market quite like Backatown, and no miraculous hornblower better positioned to tell the tale of both New Orleans quite like this revealer of a thousand Magnolia dreams. 

Notable Tracks: "Neph," "Something Beautiful," "In The 6th," "Quiet As Kept" and "Fallin'"

Vocals: 3.0 stars
Music: 4.0 stars
Lyrics: 4.0 stars
Production: 4.0 stars
SoulTracks Call: Highly Recommended

By L. Michael Gipson

 

Leave a comment!