With a groove so sharp it cuts through the night, “Fire and Brimstone” bears no small amount of resemblance to the fonky-psychedelic rock style of Trombone Shorty’s former employer, Lenny Kravitz.
Of course, that’s not what makes this lead track from the forthcoming Say That to Say This (due on September 10, 2013 from Verve Forecast) such a tasty delight. It’s when Shorty’s smokey braggadocio gives way to that clear-as-a-bell, genre-jumping bone solo — as bright as a trumpet, as soulful as a sax, as comfortable around the tight corners of jazz as it is in the sensual curves of R&B as it is on rock’s mainstream neutral ground.
So, OK: Long-time fans will likely recognize “Fire and Brimstone” as simply another page out of the same playbook for Shorty, who’s working here with co-producer Raphael Saadiq (D’Angelo, John Legend, Mary J. Blige) on a follow up to 2011′s For True — a similarly layered effort which somehow topped the contemporary jazz list on Billboard, despite its unabashed focus on stirring a gumbo of funk, rock and R&B.
There are, however, promises for something more … much more: Say That to Say This is slated to include a rare studio reunion of all five of the 1970-era Meters, including Cyril Neville. Shorty joins them for an update of the group’s “Be My Lady,” solidifying a relationship with founding drummer Ziggy Modeliste that saw the pair collaborating in 2012 on Mark Ronson’s “A La Modeliste” with Erykah Badu, Mos Def and the Dap Kings.