"Amazing Game" - Trombone Shorty

“Amazing Game” (PDF) from the Mindi Abair album, Wild Heart.
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A special thanks to Patreon member Jesse for being a Glissando!-level supporter and requesting this transcription!

Saxophonist Mindi Abair has been an established pro in the music industry for nearly thirty years. She’s performed, toured, and collaborated with pretty much everybody, and it can not be denied the influence that she has had for women in music. Despite her reputation for smooth-jazz, the 2014 album Wild Heart shows off her more aggressive, rock & roll chops and captures the high-energy excitement of her live performances.

Following the Grammy-proven model of collaboration albums, Wild Heart opens with a guest appearance by Trombone Shorty on the tune “Amazing Game.” To my ears, the opening drum pattern sounds nearly identical to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” which was released later that same year and makes me skeptical of the coincidence. T-Swift has already defeated multiple claims of theft with the song’s lyrics, so borrowing drum patterns isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but she’s untouchable.

Still, haters gonna hate.

All that to say that it’s refreshing to hear an original voice like Trombone Shorty’s to open the album with some additional flare. The music itself isn’t complicated, however its performance is what excites an audience; the growls, the unrelenting rhythms, and the impossible bends. What makes Shorty’s performance so unique is the New Orleans sense of phrasing, that lilt that falls somewhere in between a straight and swung feel. To be honest, I still don’t know where the laid-back phrases in the trombone solo fall against the rock beat, but it feels natural and exciting every time that I hear it.

Dude’s got amazing game.

Here is a YouTube video of Mindi Abair’s highlight reel including an appearance by Trombone Shorty.

Recommended reading: The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper. Published by Featherproof Books.