The Ballad of Glen David Andrews

Here’s yet more from me on a musician who stole my heart and captured my attention in New Orleans — trombonist and singer Glen David Andrews: A cover story for the August digital edition of Jazziz magazine.

I’ll give you a taste of the beginning:
Midway into his set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May, trombonist and singer Glen David Andrews left the outdoor Congo Square stage. “Surrender,” a ballad of his that sounds like a spiritual and forms the emotional high point of his recent CD, “Redemption,” (Louisiana Red Hot Records) began with his disembodied voice accompanied by his onstage band
Soon Andrews could be seen wading into the crowd below, singing softly at first and then with raspy intensity about faith and hope, his white suit jacket flapping at his sides in the breeze like tiny wings. As he implored a higher power to “take my troubles away, take me away,” he stepped up on a small platform. He hovered above the gently swaying bodies and waving arms, and pointed up toward a blue sky. During past jazzfest performances, he and others — from Bruce Springsteen to Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews (another homegrown hero, and Glen David’s cousin) — have taken to crowd-surfing at climactic moments, letting fans literally carry their weight. Here, Andrews seemed to do the reverse. He wanted to support his listeners, lift them up….
And of the end:Andrews doesn’t want to be called a “New Orleans musician.” He doesn’t think that term adequately characterizes his current music and, besides, “it limits what you can accomplish outside New Orleans,” he says. Yet he knows he carries his city in “the way I play and sing, even in the way I walk.” He knows that the Tremé neighborhood of his youth, which has quickly gentrified, will never be what it was. And he’s learned from the trenches of civic squabbles that he can’t take street parades or Jackson Square for granted. “The things I fought for after 2005 may have been losing battles,” he says. “But Tremé taught me how to entertain. It taught me how to be happy and how to have reverence for each moment. And that’s what I’m learning all over again by focusing on my own sobriety and my music. I can’t worry anymore about my neighborhood or my city right now, but I know I can bring my New Orleans, my Tremé, my true self, to the rest of the world.”
For the full story, go here.

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