Review: Trombone Shorty Backatown (Verve Forecast)

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews opens his spectacular album Backatown with the original instrumental “Hurricane Season”: It’s a wild ride where funk meets jazz meets R&B. You will be hooked. This release is a feast of great New Orleans music...
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Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews opens his spectacular album Backatown with the original instrumental “Hurricane Season”: It’s a wild ride where funk meets jazz meets R&B. You will be hooked. This release is a feast of great New Orleans music that definitely owes a good deal to groups like the Dirty Dozen, who have been blending soul and funk with NOLA jazz for years. But Andrews and his producer, Ben Ellman (of Galactic), blend that music with more modern R&B sounds (including Andrews’ vocal style) to create something really fresh and new. This record has all the full joy of a big jazz band recording, but with funk and hip-hop beats, rock guitars. New Orleans great Allen Toussaint plays piano on his own song “On Your Way Down,” and Lenny Kravitz adds backing vocals and guitar work to the song “Something Beautiful.” This record almost couldn’t get any cooler.

A story about the production of Backatown will appear in the June issue of Mix.

Producer/recording engineer: Ben Ellman. Mixing/mastering engineer: Count. Additional engineering: Mike Ballard, Charles Smith, Kyle Lamy, Alexander Alvarez, T-Bone Edmonds, Korey Richey. Recording studios: Number C, Shorty’s Studio (both in New Orleans, La.); Dockside Studios (Maurice, La.); Gregory Town Sound (Eleuthera, Bahamas). Mixing/mastering studio: Chocula (San Francisco, Calif.).

—Barbara Schultz