Freret Street Festival
Troy Andrews and Orleans Ave.
April 03, 2004
Pianist David Torkanowsky gingerly sat behind the drum kit and began to experiment with a few beats. With only a few minutes until gig time, it seemed like he was getting his rocks off until returning to his native instrument. But, when bandleader/trombonist Troy Andrews approached the microphone and began the first song, it was clear Torkanowsky was back there to stay. Apparently, the drummer for Andrews dropped out fifteen minutes before star time. A few people by the side stage barricades who knew Torkanowsky started to shout, "Tork! Tork!" to egg the weird reality on.
Luckily, Tork kept a decent beat. He played a drawn out fifteen minute solo-saturated blues number with saxophonist James Martin and bassist Michael Ballard. Drummer Jamal Batiste ran up a side street and relieved Tork before the second song started. As expected, though very enjoyable with Andrews' solos, the first number was a little sloppy. The band tightened up and rocked the second funky jam, which was street jazz at its best.
The audience pulled out their best second line dances. Andrews represented for the sixth ward on the cloudless day, and it felt nice to be back in shorts again dancing to New Orleans music.
Andrews stuck to blues and street jazz numbers for the rest of the set, but most interesting was a beautiful Latin/Salsa-tinged version of "St. James Infirmary."
Young Andrews was trying to put his old "Trombone Shorty" moniker to rest, but he had a long way to go as a showman to become a supreme professional. Even though he encouraged the crowd to move up, he was a little unconfident and flummoxed by the dead nature of the audience at the beginning of the show.
Andrews was an amazing talent, and he's got lots of time to become a legend. Just as long as he keeps surrounding himself with multi-taskers like Tork.