Glen David Andrews – Redemption
15th April 2014 · 0 Comments
By Geraldine Wyckoff
“None but ourselves can free our minds…”
New Orleans hugely talented trombonist and vocalist Glen David Andrews offers a heads-up on what’s in store on his new album, Redemption.
“Don’t be shocked when you don’t hear me doing any second line,” he warns. “This is just the beginning. My music is only going to get bigger and broader in spectrum and style.”
Andrews, who grew up and honed his chops in the Tremé neighborhood, has previously delved into other genres though the image of him blowin’ his horn on the streets with any number of brass bands remains fairly indelible. He is, after all, the guy who penned the second-line anthem, “Knock with Me – Rock with Me” with the stick-with-you lyrics, “Gimme a dime, I only got eight.”
On Redemption (Louisiana Red Hot Records), Andrews rocks out, goes back to his gospel roots, brings great bravado as a soul man and funks it up. Having no hint of a second line beat on the entire CD could come as a surprise.
“This is not about a New Orleans thing,” he explains. “That’s not where my brain is right now. I am New Orleans. It would never go away. But right now I have the opportunity to explore different music that I’m passionate about with different musicians, a top-rated producer, top-rated engineers. I want to touch the world with this music, not just touch New Orleans. It’s about not being a big fish in a small pond but being a shark in the ocean.”
Redemption stands as a very personal album for Andrews as his first release following rehab and two years of sobriety. As the title of the disc suggests, several of the tunes such as the strong, self-penned “Surrender” reflect on the troubles of his past and his new outlook on life.
“Surrender” opens with Andrews softly whistling on this powerful, modern yet old-school style gospel number on which he and guest artist Jamison Ross trade vocal leads. The talented Ross, the winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, is also heard on this cut playing drums and organ and turns up in many capacities all over the album. His and Andrews’ voices come together again on one of the recording’s three covers, Gavin Degraw’s “Chariot.” It illustrates the close relationship between soul and gospel music and why placing them side-by-side on Redemption really works. Andrews is most definitely a soul shouter and a gospel testifier in the tradition of vocalists like Solomon Burke and Al Green.
Guest artists play an important role on the album with each bringing their particular brand of expertise. When it comes to funk, there’s few better than Ivan Neville who contributes his instantly recognizable voice, Hammond organ and clavinet to another original, “Bad By Myself.”
“It’s a testament to truth in relationships,” Andrews explains. “Don’t bring negative energy. My mama always says you can make a positive out of any negative.”
Guitarist Anders Osborne comes in on another soul number, Andrews’ “You Don’t Know,” the intro of which is reminiscent of Wilson Pickett’s hit, “Knock on Wood.” “You don’t know what I know and you ain’t been where I’m goin’,” sings Andrews with a great sense of honesty. On his solo, Osborne, renowned as a rock guitarist, changes the flavor of the tune then softens his approach.
Andrews explains that his selection and the function of these guest artists was done strategically. He chose Ivan Neville, he says, because he didn’t want an gospel organ player or “somebody who sounded too church. I wanted somebody who’d come in and match my energy. That’s exactly what he did and he upgraded it. Ivan is like the Marines, he’s going to go in and f**k everything up first. Anders Osborne is like the Air Force he’s going to be bombin’ them to death and Jamison Ross is like the Navy, he comes to clean it all up.”
When Andrews warned about the absence of a second-line rhythm, he might have added that his trombone plays a lesser role on Redemption than it has on past recordings and his live shows.
“I decide when to pull it out and when to put it away,” he explains adding that he’s blowin’ the ‘bone on four of the 10 selections though primarily in the background.” I enjoy singing. That’s what I like doing.”
Andrews’ obvious passion for the music is key to Redemption, an album produced by noted Grammy-nominee Leo Sacks. “Leo was able to help me bring out that soul,” Andrews acknowledges mentioning the importance of the renowned mixing engineer Ray Bardani. The colorful, eye-catching cover illustration was created by Varion Laurent, who also did this year’s French Quarter Festival poster of Dr. John.
“It was the right team of people,” he states. “Troy (his cousin Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews) told me to perform as if you’re in a stadium every night. Play to please your soul because if you play your soul everybody else’s soul will be melted like butter.”
Andrews returns to his home turf on Thursday, April 17, 2014 when he launches the spring season of Jazz in the Park free concert series at Armstrong Park.
“I’ll be performing right where I made my name,” Andrews says excitedly. “Me and Troy used to practice right there in that park. To be able to practice there as a child and then grow up and draw 7,000 or 8,000 people out there to see you, that’s just a beautiful feeling for me. From the time I pull into the park to the time I pull out, I’m like in heaven.”
At the performance, Andrews and his band — bassist Barry Stephenson, saxophonist James Martin, drummer Alex Joseph Hall, guitarist Josh Starkman and trumpeter Ricio Frog – will give the audience a full sampling of Redemption. He will do “Rock with Me – Roll with Me,” the only number in his current show that reflects his second-line beginnings. Originally recorded by the Lil Rascals, Andrews plans to record it on his own and has cut a spin-off to it dubbed “Ride with Me.” And here’s a flash – he joined jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater in the studio to record her version of “Rock with Me.”
Andrews is on a roll musically while he proudly describes his life as “drama-free.” Club dates and tours fill his schedule that includes travel to Europe and Brazil. He’s moved up from playing Jazz Fest with his cousin Troy and brother, drummer Derrick Tabb (Rebirth) when he was eight years old to this year performing before thousands at the Congo Square Stage on Sunday, May 4, 2014.
“Everybody is wishing me well and I appreciate it,” says Andrews, a creative soul on the New Orleans or any scene.
This article originally published in the April 14, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.