Review: Trombone Shorty and Salt Lake City get it on
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews strode out on to a warm, breezy stage to a musical introduction, arms raised with a trombone in one hand and a trumpet in the other.
And like greeting a familiar friend, he shouted, "What's up Salt Lake?"
Many in the Red Butte Garden crowd Sunday night rose to their feet and welcomed back repeat visitors Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. The band launched right into covering The Guess Who's 1970 "American Woman," with a healthy dose of brass from Shorty, Dan Oestreicher on baritone saxophone and Tim McFatter on tenor sax.
Most of the audience stayed on its feet for songs off the band's most recent albums, "For True" and "Backatown," including the funky "On Your Way Down," during which Andrews showed off a few James Brown dance steps.
The current makeup of this band has been recording and playing live together for about a decade, and they're clearly in tune with each other.
It's such a joy to hear a band that defies being cast in one musical genre. Red Butte concertgoers heard funk, jazz, rock and soul, and drummer Joey Peebles even threw in a good old-fashioned extended solo of his own to close out the tune "Encore."
While it was Andrews' incredible abilities on trumpet and trombone that defined the evening, he showed that he can also sing like way up high with a surprising falsetto that worked.
"I tell you what," he said. "Can we take it old school for you one time?"
And that high voice ushered in a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," drawing out the tune for several minutes.
Before, after and sometimes during each song, Andrews involved ticketholders, asking, "Are you feelin' all right?" or getting them to clap or sing in a call and response, as in Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher."
Although somewhat of an unlikely pairing with the band from New Orleans, the co-headlining Colorado-based band Big Head Todd and The Monsters offered up a healthy dose of energy in a 15-song set sprinkled with plenty of excellent guitar solos from leader Todd Park Mohr.
Their set included a few new songs from a forthcoming album, including an ode to the late Amy Winehouse called "Black Beehive" and the song "We Won't Go Back to the Way it Was," which had a compelling American Indian feel.
Review: Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
Bottom line • If it could be played on brass, they played it. And the crowd enjoyed it.
With • Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Where • Red Butte Garden Amphitheater, 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City
When • Sunday