By Andy J. Gordon
Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Ave. may not have won a Grammy (Backatown was nominated in the 2011 Best Contemporary Jazz category,) but they definitely won over the audience at The Conga Room on February 12, 2011. Co-headlining on a tour with Los Amigos Invisibles, Shorty and his funky band showed why they have achieved widespread success by blasting both new and old songs that are best characterized as “Supafunkrock.” Both bands delivered infectious rhythms and funky beats that kept the crowd dancing throughout the night.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave. (www.tromboneshorty.com/) came out first and Troy Andrews grabbed hold of the audience with his blistering trombone mastery. The band nailed “Orleans & Claiborne,” and “Right to Complain” from Backatown. They also did solid covers of American classics “St. James Infirmary” and Rebirth Brass Band’s “Feel Like Funkin’ it Up.” Andrews, who is equally prolific on trumpet, is thought of by many as a modern day Louis Armstrong, so when the band played the jazz standard, “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” it felt like he was paying tribute to, and accepting the legend’s proverbial torch. The set ended with the catchy single “Something Beautiful,” which showcases Andrews’ growing vocal talent, great stage presence, and his extraordinary horn playing.
Los Amigos Invisibles (http://beta.amigosinvisibles.com/english/) came out after a brief break to thunderous applause. The audience was ready for the Venezuelan dance band to bring it, and they did. Julio Briceño, the lead singer, said the band was celebrating their 20th anniversary and loved coming to LA. They played older songs from their popular albums and newer ones including “Plastic Woman,” “Vivire Para Ti,” and “Merengue Killa” from 2009s Latin Grammy winning Commercial. It was a very entertaining show that brought together two talented bands. They each played a mix of music that crosses genres and will continue to please a diverse audience. Definitely check the bands out when they come to your town.
Los Amigos Invisibles released a new album, Not So Commercial on March 15, 2011. It contains material they kept from their sessions for Commercial that did not make it onto that album.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon, Jen Parsons, and The Conga Room