Hip-hop to traditional Scottish music/rock fusion, a cappella to Japanese drumming, Mexican folklore to multisensory dance — from beginning to end, The Colonial Theatre’s 2019-2020 season’s offerings will keep audiences on their toes and at the edge of their seats.
Starting the lineup is a performance Sept. 13 by New Orleans brass/funk/blues/hip-hop artist Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews). Andrews recently attended the memorial service of Art Neville, founder of New Orleans musical giant, The Neville Brothers.
“He was an uncle, mentor and friend,” said Andrews in a recent phone interview with ELF. “They all looked out for me and taught me — they allowed me to play with them on-stage and I went on tour with them at 13.
“Those moments stick with me — eating meals at the family’s house. They were real family — not by blood but by love. It was unmatched.”
Andrews said he’s always been drawn to “anything that had sound” since he could crawl. Even prior to touring with the band, at 8 years old, Andrews, who grew up in the city’s Treme neighborhood, led his own band in parades, halls and even bars.
His brother played trumpet and taught him to play trombone.
“He put me at his side from day one,” he said. “He took me all over the world.”
Fresh out of high school (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts), he joined Lenny Kravitz’s band. In the last four years, Andrews played his fifth White House gig; backed Macklemore and Madonna at the Grammy Awards; played on albums by Zac Brown, Dierks Bentley and Mark Ronson; opened tours for Daryl Hall & John Oates and Red Hot Chili Peppers; and released “Trombone Shorty,” a children’s book about his life that was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 2016.
When he returns home to New Orleans, he notices more members of his family playing mostly brass music — usually in parades.
“I would love to share a stage with them,” he said.
Trombone is always closest to his heart, but he turned to several other musical instruments for his latest album, “Parking Lot Symphony.” He spent two weeks in his home studio setting up a “playground” that included tuba, trombone, trumpet, keyboard, B3 organ, guitar, bass and drums — with him in the middle. He recorded an album’s worth of ideas and then, well, walked away for a year.
“I like to get all the ideas out by myself and present them to my band and see if anything needs to be changed,” he said.
The name, “Parking Lot Symphony,” is a nod to the place where parades assemble.
“A lot of music in New Orleans is outside as much as it is in bars and theaters,” he said.
Andrews’ only vision as an artist is to honor the joyous spirit of New Orleans and the way its people celebrate life.
“If anything, I just want to continue to make people dance and smile,” he said.
Highlights of the rest of the season include some new artists to The Colonial stage, including The Red Hot Chilli Pipers’ fusion of traditional Scottish music and rock/pop anthems on Sept. 27; the Irish music band, Dervish, joined by their Celtic cousins further west, Le Vent du Nord, on Feb. 28; The Ballet Folcl rico “Nacional De Mexico,” which presents the traditions of Mexico’s folklore, dance, music and costumes on March 8; and A Cappella Live!, featuring Committed, The Filharmonic, Blake Lewis & Women of the World on March 13;
Among those returning are songwriter and storyteller Arlo Guthrie on October 5; the Led Zeppelin tribute band, Get The Led Out, on October 24; Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on November 15; New England comedian Juston McKinney on Nov. 23; founders and continuing core members of Hot Tuna, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, on December 6; New York Theatre Ballet, presenting two performances of “The Nutcracker” in December; the Japanese Taiko drumming and music of Yamato on Jan. 31; and Pilobolus dance company’s (“Come to Your Senses”) on Feb. 22.
Special events include a 25th anniversary concert, “On A Winter’s Night,” with veteran singer-songwriters Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Patty Larkin, Cheryl Wheeler and Cliff Eberhardt, on March 14; and “We Shall Overcome,” a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., featuring African American music and culture that includes traditional and modern gospel, classical, jazz, Broadway and spirituals, on Jan. 18.
For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit thecolonial.org.