TO Jazz review: Trombone Shorty, June 27, Nathan Phillips


After wandering around the immediate vicinity of Nathan Phillips Square searching in vain for a desperately needed coffee, I entered the tented area after Trombone Shorty and his band had already started their set. As I entered, I was greeted by the sounds of a heavy guitar riff that sounded like it was lifted straight from some mid ’90s rap-rock tune. That combined with the horns had me wondering, had I accidentally walked into a Dog Eat Dog reunion or something? In fact at one point I’m certain they played the riff from RATM’s Bulls On Parade (it may have even been a full cover, I was too busy settling myself in to be paying full attention at that point). So yeah, this was a bit heavier than I expected it to be and probably the closest thing the jazzfest had all week to a full on rock show. My fellow PM writer Mark described the band as “badass trombone rock” and while I found that description to be somewhat ridiculous, it was also a fairly apt one.

Along with the aforementioned RATM shoutout, the band also covered “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” and The Guess Who’s “American Woman.” The band was pretty impressive to watch with Shorty switching between trombone and trumpet and often lifting both of them triumphantly as he gestured to the crowd. Trombone Shorty’s got alot of swagger onstage. Although I have to ask, what’s with all the trumpet playing anyways? Your name is TROMBONE Shorty, not Trumpet Shorty. False advertising! Though the whole band was talented, the highlight for me was watching the bassist play. I’m pretty convinced this guy must have played in some kind of funk metal band or something back in the day. He had the moves, he had the chops, this guy was rocking out.

And the crowd was totally digging these guys. Many in the packed house did their best to get funky … with mixed results. The oddest display of affection for the band I saw was one woman who had opened up her umbrella and was enthusiastically waving it in the air during their set. She would close it at times, then open it up again. I’m not sure what that was all about, but she was definitely enjoying herself. So were many others in the crowd. And from the looks of things, so were Trombone Shorty and his band.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Toronto Jazz Festival