Trom­bone Shorty makes it look so sim­ple

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Chris Smith

WATCH­ING a con­cert by Trom­bone Shorty and Or­leans Av­enue is like fac­ing into a wind­storm for 90 min­utes straight. It blows you away. Shorty and his tighter than tight band re­turned to the TD Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Jazz Festival af­ter last year’s success and topped that show, even though much of the ma­te­rial was the same. Maybe it’s just an­other year on the road, but the band ramped its playing up a notch, es­pe­cially gui­tarist Pete Mu­rano who nails that greasy funk rhythm so nec­es­sary to Shorty’s mix of funk, R&B and soul, grounded in the sig­na­ture New Or­leans sound.

Shorty (a.k.a. Troy An­drews) is a great trom­bone and trum­pet player, but he ex­cels as singer, show­man, band leader and crowd pleaser. Un­der­ly­ing all the show­man­ship, as en­ter­tain­ing as it is, is a rock solid band that makes it look so sim­ple.

Who else but a N’Awl­ins born and bred mu­si­cian puts together a band with a gui­tarist like Mu­rano who can ground a funk tune and rock out with the best; with sixstring elec­tric bass player Mike Bal­lard who can rock out with Mu­rano; with very good drum­mer Joey Peebles who, in the right light Thurs­day night, looks like Animal from the Mup­pets Show; and with sax­o­phon­ists Tim McFat­ter (tenor) and Dan Oestre­icher (bari­tone) driv­ing many tunes and fill­ing out a for­mi­da­ble front line with Shorty.

They mixed up their reper­toire with sings from the bands 2010 al­bum Back­a­town, such as Some­thing Beau­ti­ful, with New Or­leans sta­ples such as When the Saints Go March­ing In, and the Ray Charles hit I Got A Woman.

On Your Way Down, from Back­a­town, is a good show­case for Shorty as the slower tempo re­ally lets you ap­pre­ci­ate his vo­cals. But you still need the other Shorty, the one who wails and jumps and pumps his arms and exhorts his band­mates to play their best. Together you get the essence of Shorty’s New Or­leans.

Opening act blues­man Lucky Peter­son, a dou­ble threat on or­gan and gui­tar, sounded great on his in­stru­ments, es­pe­cially wail­ing on slide gui­tar. But his vo­cals were muddy, and it was hard to de­ci­pher the lyrics even to a blues clas­sic such as Dust My Broom.

Peter­son’s a show­man though, and he pleased the crowd by walk­ing up the aisles playing gui­tar in one of the blues’ best-loved shticks.

His singer wife Tamara joined him for about half the show and the pair rocked the house.

TD Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Jazz Festival Bur­ton Cum­minigs The­atre June 21 At­ten­dance: 1,000

out of five

AN­THONY FER­NANDO / JAZZ WIN­NIPEG

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