"You and I (Outta This Place)" - Trombone Shorty

"You and I (Outta This Place)" (PDF) from the Trombone Shorty album, Say That To Say This.
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It's called the sonic-masquerade, the act of disguising the truth behind a wall of sound.  Do not confuse it with the sonic-doppelgänger, the lifelong quest to mimic another musician's sound through extensive knowledge of their gear.  While the urban myth of the sonic-doppelgänger is retold through the generations, the reality is that it does not actually exist.  It is an apparition, the fleeting dragon.  The sonic-masquerade, on the other hand, is an all-too-frequent occurrence.

Often spotted in the wild, the sonic-masquerade is an untamed beast fueled by a fear that leads it to project a deceptive image of dominance and mastery as a defense mechanism.  In most cases, it will appear in the form of a rock and roll guitarist attempting to improvise a guitar solo.  If provoked, there will be an obvious moment of panic for the guitarist, like a deer in headlights.  He then becomes territorial, often extending the left leg towards a magical stompbox, usually a Dunlop Crybaby wah pedal.  When this device is triggered, the threatened guitarist instantly disappears behind its grin like a Cheshire cat, and the likeness of the-greatest-electric-guitar-player-ever is invoked through a series of sweeping frequencies.  The sonic-masquerade is then able to evade its deadly criticism and will live to see another day.

The most ear-jarring element of Trombone Shorty's solo on "You and I" is the emergence of multiple trombones accompanying the solo, an unusual artistic choice that can not be replicated in the wild and only within a controlled environment can it be recorded, unless Shorty does indeed possess the human-hybrid technology of independent polyphony.  Regardless, the disorienting effect of the trombone solo is another documented case of the sonic-masquerade meant to overshadow the actual music being played.  In Shorty's case, however, the actual music being played is what makes this a significant solo.

The tune itself remains dormant in the G minor harmony, using the minor-third relationship between its chords to suggest influence rather than employing the resolute dominant-tonic relationships.  And thus, any outside tension must be re-introduced by the soloist into the musical landscape.  Here, we can see the dominant D7 chord be tagged in third bar of the solo, outlined and traced down the scale, back towards its natural habitat.  And even in the midst of the other trombones, the D7 reappears in the seventh bar to establish its dominance over herd.  The sonic-masquerade is over, and the law of natural musical order prevails.

Here is a YouTube video of a nice long interview with Trombone Shorty from Jazz FM.

Recommended reading: Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within by Kenny Werner.  Published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz.