Jazz on Jay hosts The Trojan Horns on June 8th
Two Troys figure in the music of the Trojan Horns.
This horn-powered quintet plays mostly in Troy, NY, but their New Orleans-inspired sound shows the fun, funky influence of New Orleans giant Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.
Founded in 2020 by past members of the Silver Arrow Band, Stop Drop & Groove, Arbutus and Vines, the Center Square Jazz Collective and the Empire State Youth Orchestra, the Trojan Horns settled into their current lineup last year. They are Thomas Eaton, trombone; Oz McClamrock, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Derek Wolfe, trumpet; Nicholas Dwarika, Sousaphone; and Liam Fitzgerald, drums. (Playing New Orleans parade chants without a Sousaphone may be illegal….)
Eaton hails their influences as Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews (of course!), Tower of Power, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, the Cat Empire, J.J. Johnson, Kamasi Washington, Chet Baker and Louis Armstrong.
His teachers also helped shape his musical vision: Michael Blostein, Charlie Vatalaro, Troy Fichette, Mike Lawrence and Jean Laurenz.
The Trojan Horns played their first show at the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market in 2021 and have been busy ever since.
Eaton says they play “some traditional brass band and second line music, some brass band arrangements of pop songs and a smattering of originals.”
One such original is “Ode to Troy;” other onstage favorites include “Brooklyn,” “Crazy in Love,” “Killing Me Softly,” and “Bourbon Street Parade.”
Eaton explained, “We often play standards with a New Orleans-esque feel, in which the tenor sax is swapped out with the clarinet.” He said, “Our approach to standards is very improvisation-heavy, with the clarinet and trombone often improvising around a trumpet melody.”
Eaton pointed out, “Brass band music is based around collective improvisation, which means improvised harmonies, background figures, and sometimes even melodies. Our arrangements are written organically in rehearsal or even on stage!”
Their free show today is part of Schenectady ArtsWeek.
All Jazz on Jay concerts are free through support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Schenectady County, the Upstate Coalition for a Fairgame, the Schenectady Foundation, and the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation. www.nippertown.com is the series media sponsor.
Showtime is at noon at the Jay Street Marketplace, where Jay Street meets State Street. Rain site: Robb Alley at Proctors adjacent to Apostrophe. Free.