Review: Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue – Eric’s, Liverpool – 23 Sep 2011

Posted on: Monday, Oct 3, 2011

Eric’s, Matthew Street, Liverpool: 23.09.11

Something of a coup this for the newly-reopened Eric’s . . . . one of only two UK dates for the supremely talented Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews and his superb Orleans Avenue band . . . the singer, writer, trombone and trumpet player is without a doubt the ‘real deal’ on a fast climb to super-stardom, and here he and the band delivered a great 75-minute set based on the jazz, funk and soul grooves of their native city of New Orleans.

As with all the best music from the ‘Crescent City’ Shorty and band place a lot of emphasis on brass and percussion – provided by Dan Oestreicher (baritone saxophone), Tim McFatter (tenor saxophone) Joey Peebles (drums), and Dwayne Williams (percussion), the band rounded off with Pete Murano (guitar) and Michael Ballard (bass), together they must surely make one of the tighest outfits around as they powered through material from both of their albums – the debut “Backatown”, and the current, guest-laden “For True”, featuring the likes of guitar legends Jeff Beck and Warren Haynes, a sprinkling of Neville Brothers and Kid Rock!

At Eric’s the very healthy audience in the extremely hot basement were grooving to the music from the off . . . a mix of hard-edged New Orleans funk, some impressive instrumental workouts, and perhaps, best of all, a James Brown piece of inspired breakneck soul that went down a treat. Shorty of course impressed on his main instrument trombone, but is a force to be reckoned with on trumpet too, with a mammoth solo containing some spectacular circular breathing when it looked like his cheeks were about to explode! Shorty gives his band mates lots of space and we were treated to some fine solos, particularly from the saxes of Oestreicher and McFatter.

He and the band saved a couple of gems for the latter part of the show, the gorgeous ballad, “Something Beautiful” from the “Backatown” release, which ended the set; a much demanded encore was the current single, “Do To Me”, from his new “For True” album, with some chunky guitar from Pete Murano . . . . the fretwork on the recorded version by no less than Jeff Beck. That was that, despite demands for more the band were gone, but sent several hundred people home very happy. Only one slight quibble, that doesn’t detract from a great night and fine band, that the sound wasn’t great . . . I’m no expert but was in the company of four musicians! I suppose it is early days for this newly reopened venue and these things can be ironed out.


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