The Grammy Awards are always chock full of beautiful performances and the 62nd annual show will be no different. One of the most emotional segments is sure to be the In Memoriam reel honoring those in the music industry we lost this past year. Friday, January 24, the Recording Academy announced the performers for the 2020 In Memoriam segment: Trombone Shorty and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Trombone Shorty was born Troy Andrews in January 1986 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is primarily known for his talent on the trombone, but he also plays drums, organ, trumpet, and the tuba.
Shorty grew up in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, an area you may remember from the HBO series of the same name that focused on the lives of Treme’s residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It is one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods and is known for its rich brass band tradition.
Shorty began playing trombone at the age of four, which is where he derived his stage name. “My parents pushed me toward trombone because they didn’t need another trumpet player,” he says on his website.
He became a bandleader by the age of six and attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Before he was even 20 years old, he became a member of Lenny Kravitz’s horn section and went on to perform alongside the Neville Brothers, U2, Green Day, Jeff Beck, the Dave Matthews Band, Aerosmith, LeAnn Rimes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Madonna, Queen Latifah, Zac Brown, Hall and Oates, Dierks Bentley, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Better Than Ezra and dozens of other artists.
He was featured in a memorable episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip where he performed a beautiful rendition of “O Holy Night.” He has also performed on pretty much all of the various late-night shows, and in February 2012, he performed at the White House’s Black History Month celebration. That was his first of several performances at the White House. In 2010, he was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and a children’s book about his life was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 2016.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
This New Orleans-based band was founded by tuba player Allan Jaffe in 1963. Its name comes from Preservation Hall in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Jaffe played with the band until he died of cancer in 1987, then his son Ben became artistic director of the band after graduating from Oberlin College in 1993. The band has a rich tradition of both playing in New Orleans and also touring nationally and internationally.
In 2006, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was awarded the National Medal of the Arts from President and Mrs. Laura Bush. Over the years, the band has collaborated with many well-known artists, including Blind Boys of Alabama, Andrew Bird, Del McCoury Band, Dr. John, Pete Seeger, Tom Waits, and the Foo Fighters.
Current members of the band include Ben Jaffe, Charlie Gabriel, Walter Harris, Ronell Johnson, Branden Lewis, Clint Maedgen and Kyle Roussel.