I first learned about Trombone Shorty from his appearance on Good Morning America during Mardi Gras 2006. This was the first Mardi Gras following Hurricane Katrina, so there was an increased national interest in the city's recovery six months after the disaster. Trombone Shorty was tapped to play intro & outro songs from commercial breaks during the show being broadcast live from Jackson Square. The appearance was great exposure for the artist, and his "Orleans & Claiborne" album turned out to be only the second album I'd ever purchased from iTunes.
For context, I cut my teeth on the No Limit Records and Cash Money albums of the late 90s. These rap recordings were known for their unique style of syncopated beats and clear influences from the New Orleans R&B and jazz styles. On "Orleans & Claiborne", Trombone Shorty captures that same sense of rhythm and beat style, but infuses it with the classic New Orleans brass band sound. It is a powerful combination.
You may already be familiar with Trombone Shorty from his appearances as himself in HBO's Treme or from his song "Hurricane Season" which is the theme song for this season of MTV's Real World in New Orleans.
Since this Sunday marks the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, selecting this album from perhaps my favorite modern New Orleans musician seemed like a clear choice. Music like this is what makes the city great.
You can purchase the album from Amazon below:
Trombone Shorty - Orleans and Claiborne