Troy Andrews is a 29-year-old bandleader and jazz musician who has performed at the White House, the Grammys and with the likes of U2, Eric Clapton and Prince. He developed his own style of “SupaFunkRock” and, in a wonderful collaboration with award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier, shares his story in Trombone Shorty.
Addressing young readers in a warm, embracing style, Andrews integrates the sights and sounds of Tremé, his New Orleans neighborhood: “Anytime of the day or night, you could hear music floating in the air.”
Young Andrews begins by pretending to play instruments with his friends, and when the 4-year-old finds a broken trombone, his brother begins to call him Trombone Shorty. From that point on, “I took that trombone everywhere I went and never stopped playing. I was so small that sometimes I fell right over to the ground because it was so heavy.” In an exciting moment, Andrews’ young career takes off when he attends a Bo Diddley concert, and the famous musician calls him onstage to perform.
Collier’s magical pen-and-ink, watercolor and collage illustrations add perfect harmony to this memoir. In an informative illustrator’s note, he explains that he depicts “the sound of the music as beautiful colors and shapes that swirl out of Troy’s trombone.” Likewise, Andrews includes an author’s note that fleshes out his story and includes photographs of the budding musician.
Rarely do a picture book biography’s text, illustrations and endnotes unite so well to tell such an appealing, engrossing story. This book will no doubt speak to the soul of many young musicians waiting for their own turn to be called onstage.