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Trombone Shorty: Lifted (Blue Note)

A review of the first album from New Orleans horn man and singer in half a decade

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Trombone Shorty: Lifted (Blue Note)
The cover of Lifted by Trombone Shorty

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.

Like Shorty’s concerts, Lifted is something of an eager-to-please variety show, from the wah-wah guitar, heavy grooves and partly falsetto vocals of opener “Come Back” to the churning hard rock of the title track, the mid-tempo sentimental swagger of “Forgiveness,” the bouncy pop-rock of “Miss Beautiful,” and the zippy funk of “Might Not Make It Home.” Go ahead, try not to like this party platter. Dare ya.

Learn more about Lifted at Amazon and Apple Music

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Trombone Shorty: Living for the Crescent City

Philip Booth

Philip Booth is a longtime arts journalist and bass player based in Florida. Formerly the pop music critic for the Tampa Tribune, he has contributed to many national publications, recently including the Washington PostJazziz, and Relix. His byline also has appeared in DownBeat, Bass Player, Billboard, Variety, Spin, Rolling Stone, and several academic journals. Sharkskin, the second album from his long-running band, Acme Jazz Garage, has aired on radio stations across the U.S.