New Orleans is known for its musical families—think the Marsalises and the Nevilles. Tonight at The Hamilton, a member of another great Crescent City lineage will perform.
The Glen David Andrews Band is led by its namesake singer and trombone player, whose cousins include Trombone Shorty Andrews and James Andrews. Glen David’s brother Derrick Tabb plays the snare drum for the Rebirth Brass Band, and his grandfather is the late soul singer Jessie Hill.
Though the 33-year-old has been playing trombone since the age of 12 (he got his start playing for tourists in Jackson Square and in second-line parades), his career has only come together since he went through what he calls a “life-changing experience”: After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Andrews lived in a FEMA trailer and had addiction problems that led to a stint in rehab. But his recovery led to a position as a bandleader after years of being a supportive member in both traditional and hip-hop-influenced brass bands. In 2009 he recorded a gospel album, Walking Through Heaven’s Gate, and in January of this year released Live at Three Muses. He’s also appeared in every season of the HBO show Treme.
Andrews is a flamboyant live player who transforms tunes from New Orleans musicians like John Boutte and Dr. John with his own additional lyrics, raspy Louis Armstrong-influenced vocals, and blues and rock accents. He’s also adding more originals to his repertoire.
He doesn’t hesitate to mention his more famous younger relative’s impact. “My cousin Trombone Shorty is breaking down a lot of barriers being out there. I just want to capitalize on that. I want people at The Hamilton to be dancing. We’re gonna have a ball,” he says. “This ain’t my hobby or what I just do for fun. I live the Louis Armstrong philosophy. I come to play.”
Ever the Big Easy player, Andrews says he’ll play music anywhere: “I will perform at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and if you have a funeral, we’ll get you a funeral home and a coffin and give you a great send-off.”
The Glen David Andrews Band performs tonight at 7:30 p.m. at The Hamilton, 600 14th Street, N.W. $22.50