Album Review: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue’s “Say That to Say This”

Say That to Say This, the newest studio offering by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews & Orleans Avenue and co-produced with Raphael Saadiq, takes the New Orleans brass band’s jazz foundations, layers their sound with funk grooves and old school hip hop vocals and vibes, and then fuses it all together with smooth soulful R&B tones. Though a clear departure from Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue’s previous releases, it simply works.  While different musical styles are highlighted on each track on Say That to Say This, Saadiq’s R&B influence is readily apparent throughout and makes for a cohesive flow.  Say That to Say This is an album that feels as though it is meant to be played from start to finish in one sitting and then looped several times over without a second thought.

The first and title track is a microcosm of the album as a whole. “Say That to Say This” opens with tight beats, punching horns and rocking guitar rhythms and then switches off into smoother R&B laced jazz tones before picking up the tempo again. The high energy R&B-meets-rock centric theme carries over to “You and I (Outta This Place)”, which features Andrews’ old school vocals and catchy hooks that motivate the mind, body and soul. “Fire and Brimstone”, the lead single from Say That to Say This, blends Andrews’ and Saadiq’s vocals with heavier grooves and horn accentuations. Lenny Kravitz’s influence on Andrews from their prior work together is evident on this track and it rocks accordingly. “Get the Picture” takes a darker, funkier tone, while still keeping a well-paced beat.

Interspersed with the higher energy tracks are lower key and jazzier offerings.  Most notably, “Be My Lady” is a remake of The Meters’ 1977 soulful hit featuring the band’s original members with Andrews on vocals and horns. The track marks the first time The Meters have reunited in their original lineup since 1977. “Long Weekend” is a take on classic R&B and serious ‘get down’ music on an otherwise ‘get up and go’ album. “Sunrise” is aptly named:  a slow jazz tune that would perfectly complement the first cup of coffee on Sunday morning. “Shortyville” closes the album with its only all-instrumental offering showcasing Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue’s prowess as a brass band.

Key Tracks: Fire and Brimstone, You and I (Outta This Place), Long Weekend

Pick up the album on Trombone Shorty’s website