In a city whose spirit world is as old as Mother Africas children, Glen David Andrews, a native son of New Orleans, has made a compelling case for his own deliverance with a powerful new project that correlates his own reclaimed life to his reclaimed city.
A warrior for cultural preservation in New Orleans at a time when indigenous traditions are being threatened, Andrews is standing up now for his own salvation. As the journalist Larry Blumenfeld, a Katrina Media Fellow with the Open Society Institute, has written: Long before he began trying to save himself in earnest, Andews's music projected the promise of redemption...His remarkable singing voice and commanding trombone sound (both powerful, direct, resonant, and with just enough rasp) as well as his disarmingly honest manner have provided whatever the situation calls for: beauty, truth, compassion, anger, joy or all of the above.
Andrews comes from a storied extended family of musicians. He was born in the historic Trem neighborhood which many consider to be the oldest black community in the United States where the struggle to survive is older than the mighty oak trees in the Crescent City. According to family folklore, Anthony Tuba Fats Lacen, a patriarch of modern New Orleans music, directed the bell of his horn toward Andrews's mother's belly as a way to induce labor. Andrews was born the following day. Transfixed by the magic and mystery of the city's second-line parades, Andrews and his older brother, Derrick Tabb of the Rebirth Brass Band, along with their younger cousin Troy Trombone Shorty, soaked up life's musical lessons by learning the history of the brass band tradition firsthand from iconic figures like Tuba Fats. They also learned the power of the city's Mardi Gras Indian culture.
The musicians I heard coming up literally brought me out of the womb, Andrews says. Jesus was born in a manger. I was born in a second line.