Trombone Shorty – For True
Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews along with partners in crime Orleans Avenue deliver an album loaded with jazz, funk, splashes of hip hop, and of course, plenty of horns. It’s a slice of traditional New Orleans Jazz fusion, that tips its hat to the past, yet belongs very much in the here and now.
Trombone Shorty is one of those insanely talented multi-instrumentalists. And as if being blessed with that sort of musical ability isn’t enough, the kid can sing most comers under the table as well. True to the genre’s roots, this core of For True lies in its instrumental moments. It’s hard to go past the attention grabbing opening joint, Buckjump, an entirely instrumental number that has the horns blowing hard from the opening bars to the end. It’s based around a catchy riff that is accented by smatterings of cowbell and well played horn solos. The album’s title track For True is also an instrumental. Not as catchy as Buckjump but technically more difficult, this one will no doubt have any fellow horn blowers listening closely. The vocal tracks are well balanced, being punctuated by the solely instrumental jams right throughout. UNC and Lagniappe parts 1 and 2 are couple more well executed examples of instrumentals.
With the exception of a couple of guest spots, the vocals on the album are in the most part handled by Shorty himself. His voice has a similar soulful tonality to that of Jamie Lidell. Encore is the first track on the album where Shorty gets a chance to showcase his vocal gift. A bombastic hook interspersed with low-slung soulful verses. But the albums mid-point The Craziest Things is where Shorty’s vocals truly showcase their mettle. A mostly funk jam with an all in chorus, it ebbs and flows as the track builds to a big finish creating one of the overall highlights on the record.
Shorty has received some massive wraps from some big names over the years. So it’s no surprise to see a few of them showing up on For True’s collaboration guest list. Encore and Do To Me feature guitar solos provided by Warren Haynes and Jeff Beck respectively. Nervis features two of the brothers Neville , in the form of Ivan and Cyril , the track also features a co-writing credit for the latter. Lenny Kravitz lends a hand on Roses , playing a very funky bass. Whilst all the aforementioned artists all seem like logical fits for an album of this nature. The most left-field collaboration on the record comes from Kid Rock who lends his voice to Mrs Orleans. His short “rap-break” towards the end of the track isn’t anything to write home about, yet it’s also not a complete fail, which in the case of Kid Rock surely must be considered a win.
As mentioned before, For True has a great balance so it flows well from start to finish. If there is a downfall, it’s that the rest of the instrumental tracks don’t quite have the same catchiness of the opening number. This finds the listener wanting a little when the rest of the instrumentals are dropped throughout the album. It peaks so high with Buckjump that it was always going to be hard to get back to that level. However this is a fairly trivial complaint for what is an overall excellent album that proudly stands with one foot firmly planted in the past and one in the present day.