Trombone Shorty, “Lifted” (Blue Note)
Call it the feelgood jazz-ish release of the year. Lifted, the first album from New Orleans horn man and singer Trombone Shorty in half a decade, is a celebration of the musical influences and family roots that gave rise to a popular entertainer who played Jazz Fest in New Orleans with Bo Diddley at age four and led his own brass band at six.
Three decades later, the musician born Troy Andrews sells out shows and headlines festivals around the world, and turns in recordings that neatly capture the joyous spirit of his concerts.
For Lifted, dedicated to Andrews’ late mother, Lois Nelson Andrews, he elicits solid performances from several guest artists.
His raucous ’bone playing makes a suitable foil for the blistering, nervy guitar playing of Austin blues sensation Gary Clark Jr. on “I’m Standing Here,” which hints at Hendrix-esque rock. Singer Lauren Daigle, a fellow Louisianian, digs deep into “What It Takes,” a catchy gospel-tinged tune that benefits from a punchy horn section and the leader’s trumpet solo. And Andrews honors his musical beginnings with the funky, street-beating “Everybody in the World,” featuring the New Breed Brass Band; it incorporates hip-hop and nods to the sunny, multicolor soul of Sly and the Family Stone, as do other tracks here.
Read my full review for JazzTimes magazine here.