STARRED REVIEW
June 19, 2018

The magic of a New Orleans childhood

By Troy Andrews
Review by

In this inspiring companion book to the award-winning Trombone Shorty, published in 2015, Grammy-nominated jazz musician Troy Andrews, who performs as Trombone Shorty, re-visits his childhood in “magical” New Orleans with help from his co-author Bill Taylor.

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In this inspiring companion book to the award-winning Trombone Shorty, published in 2015, Grammy-nominated jazz musician Troy Andrews, who performs as Trombone Shorty, re-visits his childhood in magical New Orleans.

As a child, Shorty played jazz with his group of friends in the Tremé neighborhood of the city. They called themselves the 5 O’Clock Band. Recalling his neighborhood and its culture with deep reverence, he describes an afternoon of getting “so lost in his own music” that he forgets to meet his band and is left pondering what precisely makes a good bandleader. As he strolls through the city streets, he talks to the friendly faces he passes—a musician, a chef and the chief of the neighborhood Mardi Gras Indian tribe—who give him advice on the subject. A love of tradition (knowing where the music comes from) and a dedication to the craft: These are the things that make a bandleader, he learns.

The use of repetition and the dialects local to his neighborhood (“WHERE Y’AT?” people call to Shorty) add flavor to the lengthy text. Andrews shares abundant details and leisurely paces the story, as if readers are walking along with him. Capturing the sights, sounds and smells of the Tremé neighborhood—the red beans and rice, the steamboats along the banks of the Mississippi River—both he and illustrator Bryan Collier bring this New Orleans neighborhood to vivid life. Collier’s kinetic and stylistic mixed-media illustrations use energetic lines and rich colors to bring the music and the people of this community to the page.

The 5 O’Clock Band is an unforgettable journey.

 

Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.

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The 5 O’Clock Band

The 5 O’Clock Band

By Troy Andrews
Abrams
ISBN 9781419728365

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