Trombone Shorty, "Parking Lot Symphony" (Blue Note Records)
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews reinforces his commitment to New Orleans on "Parking Lot Symphony," a rich, energetic collection of funk, R&B, and even dirges and pop. As is his calling card, Andrews broadens the city's musical traditions without straying too far as his voice finds new hues and shades of expression.
Andrews tips his hat to the city's legends by covering The Meters' "It Ain't No Use" with that band's Leo Nocentelli on acoustic guitar. The sparking celebration of "Here Come the Girls," Allen Toussaint by way of Ernie K-Doe, has Ivan Neville on piano.
Instrumentals like "Fanfare" and "Tripped Out Slim" also dig deep into Andrews' NOLA roots and along with the dirges bookending the album — the first mournful, the closer hopeful — showcase his skills across an orchestra of instruments, from trumpet and keyboards to glockenspiel and vibraphone.
If "Where It At" sounds more than a bit like an 'N Sync production, it's on purpose but still creepy, and if you're reminded of Lenny Kravitz on "Dirty Water" or "No Good Time," chalk it up to Andrews' long-ago stint in his band.
Part of a large and prominent musical family, Andrews' involvement in his native city — he's from its Treme neighborhood, a cradle of jazz and brass bands — goes far beyond his allegiance to its musical styles. There's his foundation and music academy, mentoring work as well as collaborations with a project to improve low-performing schools through arts programs.
Should they pave paradise to put up a "Parking Lot Symphony," you won't hear a peep out of me.