sat 02/07/2022

Album: Trombone Shorty – Lifted | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Trombone Shorty – Lifted

Album: Trombone Shorty – Lifted

Relentlessly upbeat first album in five years from US sideman

Trombone Shorty: wholesome showboating to the max

Trombone Shorty has been described as “part Jimi Hendrix, part James Brown and all New Orleans”. I can’t vouch for the New Orleans part of this description, but on the evidence of this album, part Lenny Kravitz and part Bobby Brown might be closer to the mark.

While Trombone Shorty has put out 12 albums in the last 20 years as a bandleader, his main day job is a sideman for numerous other acts, from Harry Connick Jr to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Hence, Lifted is actually his first solo album in five years.

Within its grooves, there is funk, soul and even some psychedelic rock. Mostly, though, there is a huge dollop of showbiz, with Trombone Shorty and his collaborators relentlessly showboating and forever pushing an enthusiastically upbeat philosophy of self-improvement. “What It Takes”, which has vocals from contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle, is the most obvious example of this with its “Are you ready to go through the darkness? / Are you ready to go through the pain?” lyrics. But there are plenty of other examples, and “Good Company” and especially “Forgiveness” both challenge Michael Franti’s Spearhead for overly sugary, slick positivity.

It’s not all hopelessly naive “everybody just needs to be nice to each other” stuff, though. “Come Back” is a big soul number with a hefty dash of funk and “Lie to Me” is a lively slice of R&B. “I’m Standing Here” even takes a psychedelic funk lead from Sly and the Family Stone, while “Lifted” lays down a huge slab of Lenny Kravitz-like rock with a cracking trombone solo. However, much of Lifted actually sounds like it’s meant to be a brassy tribute album to '80s R&B. It’s just too polished and wholesome, though. Ultimately, it sounds like the kind of light entertainment fayre that might accompany some hapless TV D-lister as they wobble through their dance routine on Strictly Come Dancing.

Within its grooves, there is funk, soul and even some psychedelic rock. Mostly, though, there is a huge dollop of showbiz

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Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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