Born into a musical family in New Orleans’ historic Treme neighborhood, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews turned music pro and band leader when he was still in elementary school. The French Quarter street performances and children’s parties he played then bloomed into the worldwide career he enjoys today.
Last year was another busy time for the singer, trombonist and trumpeter, packed with touring and TV appearances.
In 2017, Andrews, 32, and his band, Orleans Avenue, traveled to Europe four times. In April, Blue Note Records released Andrews’ brassy, jazzy, grooving new album, “Parking Lot Symphony.” In August and October, he shared “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” stage with his childhood friend, “Late Show” musical director Jon Batiste. In December, Andrews joined a huge cast of music stars for the 25th anniversary of BBC-TV’s “New Year’s Eve Hootenanny” with Jools Holland.
Following more tour dates in the states and Europe in November and December, Andrews made it home to New Orleans in January. While he’s home, he and Orleans Avenue will perform at 9 p.m. Saturday at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel's Event Center in Baton Rouge.
Are you glad to be home?
It’s been a long year. Being gone so long, I get back in town and don’t know what I like to do anymore. I feel like I should still be on the road. And when I’m on the road, I can’t wait to get back home. But I’m excited to be here and eat red beans and rice whenever I want.
You’ll be home during Carnival time. How do feel about riding in the Krewe of Orpheus parade again and performing at the Orpheuscapade NOLA 300 Jam Fest?
It’s a long ride, but it’s always great for me because I see people in the crowd I’ve haven’t seen in years. They’re like, "Shorty! Shorty!" It’s a big reunion for me. And I love the culture of New Orleans, and I’m a part of it. The show after the parade, that’s going to be fun because I’ll see friends and share the stage with them.
Your new album, “Parking Lot Symphony,” features genre-stretching original songs, but you also remake two New Orleans classics: the Allen Toussaint-composed Ernie K-Doe song “Here Comes the Girls” and the Meters’ “It Ain’t No Use.”
I grew up listening to Ernie K-Doe and the Meters. And K-Doe was always around the neighborhood, always dressed as if he was going onstage. That was crazy. I don’t think I ever worked with K-Doe, but the Meters were on my album before this (“Say That to Say This”). Those Meters and K-Doe songs are the foundation from which I’m moving the music forward. It feels like they were written for me to play now with my band.
You knew and worked with Toussaint, the late songwriter, pianist, producer and arranger who was a major figure in New Orleans music. Last Sunday, he would have been 80.
Mr. Toussaint was a good friend of mine. He’d call me to do certain things, and he always gave me great advice. He may not be here physically with us, but it’s like he’s with us because he left a great legacy and beautiful moments that will never die.
Do you aspire to the kind of career Toussaint had?
I do aspire to that. Mr. Toussaint has always been one of my heroes, on and off the stage. Whenever I got a chance to talk with him and see how he handled himself and ask him questions, I thought, "I want to be like Mr. Toussaint."
TROMBONE SHORTY AND ORLEANS AVENUE
WHEN: Saturday. Doors open at 8 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m.
WHERE: L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Event Center, 777 L'auberge Ave., Baton Rouge