“I've been hearing hip-hop music since I was born.” So says Trombone Shorty, the brass-playing band leader who grew up in the Tremé district of New Orleans' 6th Ward and has already amassed a Grammy nomination for his debut jazz album, Backatown. But while Shorty's second-line-style jazz chops are in fine fettle and well established, he's also very much part of the hip-hop generation — musicians who grew up listening to the sound of rap, and are as at home interpolating a riff from Weezy as deferring to any jazz standard. So with shows in S.F. tonight (Dec. 30) and tomorrow (New Year's Eve) at the Fillmore, we checked in with Trombone Shorty and ran the rule over his rap credentials.
Throughout your career you've worked with hip-hop artists. Can you remember the first time you heard hip-hop music?
Yeah, my brother Buster [Andrews], he plays the drums with a band in New Orleans called the Lil' Rascals Brass Band and he's always been a big hip-hop fan, so I was listening to Ice Cube and N.W.A. and a whole bunch of hip-hop growing up in my house. I definitely heard hip-hop more than anything. Like, my brother would listen to it and I'd be around in the house, so he'd be in his room and I'd just catch the music and the styles that was going on.