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Trombone Shorty Revamps a New Orleans R&B Classic, From His Blue Note Debut

Trombone Shorty has never made a secret of his affinity with New Orleans: the man and the milieu are inextricable, in musical as well as attitudinal terms. So it’s no surprise that the first single from his forthcoming Blue Note Records debut is a revamped classic from his hometown, “Here Come the Girls.”

Written by Allen Toussaint and first recorded in 1970 by Ernie K. Doe, the song acquired a contemporary sheen about a decade ago, when it formed the core of a single by the British girl group Sugababes. So it’s easy to frame Trombone Shorty’s version as a reclamation: a return to the grit and terroir of the original, with all appropriate swagger.

As on the original, the track begins with a military parade rhythm on snare drum, before the horns kick in. Trombone Shorty brings pep to the lyrics, which are playful and spirited, in a gender-retrograde way. Where Shorty has the clear advantage is in a brief but killer trombone solo, which starts at 2:40 and leads into some sturdy horn-section maneuvers.

Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue, are currently on tour opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They’ll headline the Bowery Ballroom in New York on April 24 — four days before the release of their new album, Parking Lot Symphony, which was produced by Chris Seefried (Fitz and the Tantrums).

On May 7, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue will close the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, an honor previously granted to hometown heroes the Neville Brothers. For more dates and information, visit tromboneshorty.com.

A veteran jazz critic and award-winning author, and a regular contributor to NPR Music.