Listen to Lifted, Trombone Shorty’s second release for Blue Note Records, and you’ll hear the same ecstatic energy that runs throughout the release. Recorded at Shorty’s own Buckjump Studio with producer Chris Seefried (Fitz and the Tantrums, Andra Day), the GRAMMY-nominated NOLA icon and his bandmates tap into the raw power and intoxicating grooves of their legendary live show and channel them into a series of tight, explosive performances that blur the lines between funk, soul, R&B and psychedelic rock. The lyrics are bold and confident, defying hard times and losses with grit and determination, and the playing is suitably muscular, mixing pop sheen with hip-hop panache and second-row abandon.
As wild as it all sounds, Lifted is still the work of a master, and the album’s nimble arrangements and thoughtful use of guest musicians – from Gary Clark Jr. and Lauren Daigle to the rhythm section of Shorty’s high school marching band – ultimately make for a collection that’s as refined as it is stirring, one that balances technical virtuosity and emotional release in equal measure while celebrating music’s primal power to bring us all together.
“The whole time we were making Lifted, I couldn’t help but imagine how much fun it would be to get up on stage and play it in front of an audience,” Shorty recalls. “When I make an album, I usually record the songs first and then think about how we’ll present them live, but with this record, I imagined in the studio the lights flashing on the hits and the audience singing it all back to us. I could see the whole thing in my head.” (Trombone Shorty)