"Tripped Out Slim" - Trombone Shorty
Trombone Shorty has come a long way, from Troy Andrews’ mostly-instrumental first few albums to his recent arena rock and Blue Note release, the prolific musician has grown from a student of traditional jazz to a global celebrity. As his musical voice has matured, Shorty’s trombone has noticeably taken a step back from the spotlight. Despite the lack of innovative trombone playing on this album, compared to his previous superhuman efforts, it is always a delight when Shorty features another Supafunkrock instrumental.
This disco-funk-rock groove, perhaps a nod to Prince, settles into the pocket as tightly as The J.B.s would do during a Godfather of Soul costume change. Most prominently is the use of the resolving 9ths in the rhythmic riffs behind the trombone solo, much like any funky J.B. groove. The melody itself evokes a Tower of Power or Earth, Wind & Fire level of dexterity along with some “Joe Avery Blues” thrown in. Shorty’s solo also relies on the resolving 13th (G natural) and 11th (Eb) in the style of Maceo Parker. Perhaps lost in the echoing arenas and stadiums, it’s best to stress the rhythmic resolution rather than the chromaticism of jazz melodies.
Here is a YouTube video from 2012 of Trombone Shorty sitting in with Maceo Parker.
Recommended reading: Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews. Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.