One Track Mind: Trombone Shorty, “Fire and Brimstone” from Say That to Say This (2013)

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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.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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