Just as you half-imagined there would be, there’s music seeping from the entryway to Troy Andrews’s Buckjump Studio, just off St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans’s Lower Garden District. Big, lush, 10-fingered piano chords swell out under the heavy metal door and onto the sidewalk, a sonic cloud you can almost picture following Andrews, better known as Trombone Shorty since he was a four-year-old prodigy lugging his oversize namesake instrument through the streets of the Crescent City.
When the tones subside, Andrews answers the door apologetically, wearing a navy blue Nike tracksuit and a white T-shirt. He is lean and muscular and, even at rest, maintains something of the pugilist’s bearing he assumes when playing his horn onstage. The snatch of piano, he explains, was something that came to him only a minute earlier and he just needed to hear it out loud. Does he need some more time to get it down? “No, I know the shape already,” he says. “I might finish it tonight.”
The recording studio is filled with keyboards and horns, and Andrews seems at home but restless. Last February he and his band, Orleans Avenue, worked on their upcoming album here, which they had hoped to release in time for the 2020 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. That, of course, was canceled, along with the rest of the band’s normally relentless touring schedule. Three and a half weeks into lockdown, Andrews—one of the world’s foremost ambassadors of New Orleans music—had already been home for a longer continuous stretch than at any time since graduating from high school and going on tour in Lenny Kravitz’s band.
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