During last year’s Jazz Fest, Offbeat ran a piece (which I mulled at the time) about three different versions of “SJI” played in different musicians’ sets within minutes of each other. One of those was Trombone Shorty‘s take, and I remember at the time thinking “I’d like to hear that.”
And now, I have heard it, because the Trombone Shorty version subsequently appeared on Live at Jazz Fest 2007.
It did not disappoint: It’s a truly exuberant eight-and-half-minute take that’s simultaneously traditional and innovative, with a very funky wah-wah-ing guitar chugging through the whole version, a sweet trumpet solo, liberal helpings of hi-di-hi-di-hi-di-ho call-and-response with the audience, and a Latin-sounding horn motif. Good stuff.
There was also one lyrical tweak I have to mention here. As is traditional, the narrator lists the things he wants to be buried with, or wearing: The signifiers that he died successful (or at least “standing pat”). Trombone Shorty does include the box-back coat and Stetson hat, and upgrades the $20 gold piece to a $50 one, and adds:
With a Playstation 2,
A pair of Nike tennis shoes…