7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #421: Featuring Bryan Collier

h1 March 1st, 2015 by jules

“But first I needed an instrument. The great thing about music is that you don’t even need a real instrument to play. So my friends and I decided to make our own.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I normally feature the work of a student or debut illustrator. I’m breaking my own 7-Imp rules today, however, to … well, not do that — simply because I like this book and want to show you all some spreads from it. This won’t be on shelves till mid-April. Forgive me for posting about it a bit early, but hey, it’s already March!

Trombone Shorty (Abrams) is the picture book autobiography from Grammy-nominated musician Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. Illustrated by Bryan Collier, Andrews kicks the book off with “”Where Y’at?”, explaining that the folks in New Orleans have their own way of living and their own way of talking. Young Andrews grew up in Tremé, where “you could hear music floating in the air.” His older brother played the trumpet, and Andrews would watch and pretend to play his own. Andrews and his family would delight in the Mardi Gras parades, which “made everyone forget about their troubles for a little while.”

Andrews and his friends made their own instruments until the day Troy himself found an old, beaten up trombone. He joined a parade, his brother shouting, “TROMBONE SHORTY! WHERE Y’AT?” Thus a nickname was born.

Andrews goes on to describe the moment Bo Diddley called him out in a crowd at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Before he knows it, Andrews is on stage, playing with Diddley watching. The moment is illustrated, and in the backmatter readers are shown the actual photograph of this moment (two things I could show you today, but I’ll leave that for you to discover when you find a copy of this in April). “After I played with Bo Diddley,” Andrews writes, “I knew I was ready to have my own band.” Towards the book’s close, Andrews switches to present tense:

And now I have my own band, called Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, named after a street in Tremé. I’ve played all around the world, but I always come back to New Orleans. …

I don’t think it’d be possible for there to be a better illustrator for this book than Collier. And he’s on fire here. “Collier portrays the story of this living legend with energy and style,” writes the Kirkus review, “making visible the swirling sounds of jazz.” It’s a feast for one’s eyes. Below are some spreads from the book.

(If you purchase this book, come April, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Trombone Shorty Foundation.)

“And there was music in my house, too. My big brother, James, played the trumpet so loud you could hear him halfway across town! He was the leader of his own band,
and my friends and I would pretend to be in the band, too.
‘FOLLOW ME,’ James would say.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

“I listened to all these sounds and mixed them together, just like how we make our food. We take one big pot and throw in sausage, crab, shrimp, chicken, vegetables, rice—whatever’s in the kitchen—and stir it all together and let it cook. When it’s done, it’s the most delicious taste you’ve ever tried. We call it gumbo,
and that’s what I wanted my music to sound like—
different styles combined to create my own
musical gumbo!”
(Click to enlarge spread)

“From that day on, everyone called me Trombone Shorty! I took that trombone everywhere I went and never stopped playing. I was so small that sometimes I fell right over to the ground because it was so heavy. But I always got back up, and I learned to hold it up high. I listened to my brother play songs over and over,
and I taught myself those songs, too. I practiced day and night,
and sometimes I fell asleep with my trombone in my hands.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

“Today I play at the same New Orleans jazz festival where I once played with
Bo Diddley. And when the performance ends, I lead a parade of musicians around,
just like I used to do in the streets of Tremé with my friends. WHERE Y’AT? WHERE Y’AT? I still keep my trombone in my hands, and I will never let it go.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


TROMBONE SHORTY. Text copyright © 2015 by Troy Andrews and Bill Taylor. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Bryan Collier. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Being a part of Book ‘Em’s Read Me Day this week at Warner Elementary School in Nashville.

2) I’ll be speaking at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, NC, this weekend. Here’s the low-down.

3) The girls got another Snow Day this week.

4) House concert for a friend (though not at my own home). It was lovely to hear her play some new songs.

5) Lunch with an out-of-town friend, who actually served on the Caldecott committee this past year. She positively glows from the experience.

6) My nine-year-old made up another song on the piano, and my musician friend has a music program that allowed him to print out the sheet music for the song she made up. And he also put it onto CD. That was a nice surprise.

7) Giving good children’s books as gifts. Gotta share the love, don’t you know.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #421: Featuring Bryan Collier”

  1. What a cool looking book! Can’t wait to check it out!

    And another snow day- how fun for you and the girls!

    Ok… kicks.

    1. We are getting another snow storm today which is not the kick. We are over it up here but it is March- this must be the last one, right?
    2. We are holding an open house for a writing program that I have started here in town with friends who formed a similar program about an hour south of here- super excited!
    3. House of Cards!
    4. Fun indoor soccer tournament yesterday. It was fun to see friends I haven’t seen since the fall.
    5. I think coffee should make it on to the list every week 🙂
    6. Fleece lined tights.
    7. Snuggly dog.

    Hope you are all doing well! Happy Week!

  2. Good morning, Imps!

    Hello to Troy and Bryan!

    Jules: Have fun at the events! What are you going to read? Tell your composer I said brava.

    Stacey: Fleece-lined tights are amazing.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Proof
    2) Leslie Knope
    3) Photographs
    4) Truth
    5) Sights
    6) Sites
    7) Sure

  3. Speeding by here today since I’m out and about. Happy Sunday to you all!

    Here’s my latest lyric:


    Cabbies holler from yellow toboggans,
    “Uptown, downtown—where to, Mac?”
    Huskies tug them over slush piles,
    Sixteen mush-mutts to a pack.
    Sidewalk vendors deal in shovels.
    Shop signs lend a neon glow,
    Blue, to ice-encrusted buses
    Budged like bison through the snow.

    Bundled children riding reindeer
    Race from block to block. A bear
    Has blundered out of hibernation
    Snarling up the thoroughfare.
    A parliament of snowy owls—
    There!—awakes and shares a perch:
    A fire escape where I am watching,
    A street across from a buried church.

    © 2015 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  4. What a book, Troy and Bryan.
    Jules, I love the name of the book store! Good luck. How cool that your daughter’s song was printed out and recorded. She’ll remember that.

    Stacey, I think the open house for your writing program rocks.
    LW, photographs and truth.
    Steven, you definitely captured the city in winter in the east.
    My kicks:
    1. Deciding to embrace our spring like weather.
    2. Tossing aside the notion of a snowfall for this winter.
    3. My Poetry Rocks after school club.
    4. A drive out to Estacada and exploring Mike’s Second Hand Store.
    5. Sunshine.
    6. Varied thrushes grubbing in the patio moss.
    7. Daffodils.
    Have a great week.

  5. Good morning Troy and Bryan! I am so glad I have your title pre-ordered. Looking forward to its arrival in April.

    I would love to be able to pop in and hear you speak Jules. I know it went very well. And hooray for giving good children’s books as gifts.

    I have got to get a pair of fleece lined tights Stacey. Thanks for the reminder. Our winters are getting longer here in northern Michigan.

    I like the idea of photographs Little Willow. Moments seen, and sometimes not, captured forever.

    I think this may be one of my favorite poems of yours Steven. I really enjoy the images it creates.

    If those daffodils are in your yard Jone, I am pea-green with envy. Mine are under a foot of snow. Enjoy!

    My kicks:
    1. Lots of days of sunshine this week
    2. Wonderful new picture books being released
    3. Chats with friends
    4. The time of day when the sun is at your back and the moon has risen in front of you
    5. Celebrating reading with students in other states
    6. Days with temperatures above zero
    7. Walks with Xena

    Enjoy your week friends.

  6. Where y’at Imps??!! Seeing this post today made me so happy. I have had the great good fortune to see Trombone Shorty play many times, he is wonderful! What a great fun book. (And here’s a link to yats: ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yat_dialect )

    Jules – congrats to your composer! Have a great time speaking in NC – I agree, what a great name for a bookstore! And goodness, but Natasha has such a beautiful voice.

    Stacey – hooray for indoor soccer, coffee and snuggly dogs.

    LW – I like photographs and truth too, but your Leslie Knope kick is awesome. I have a friend who is working hard to be Leslie Knope, and is pretty darn close to achieving that. We should all be a little bit like Leslie Knope. 🙂

    Steven – lovely words, lovely images. I can see those kids on the reindeer.

    Jone – I too wish we’d gotten a real snow this year, but I am gonna soak up all this glorious sunshine while it lasts. Your Poetry Rocks club sounds great, as does drives out into the country.

    Margie – what a beautiful image of the end of the day, I can see you and Xena enjoying that time. Enjoy your walks and stay warm!

    My kicks this week:
    1) Beautiful sunsets.
    2) Sunshine, lots of sunshine.
    3) Unintentionally funny signs that make me laugh.
    4) Judging a round of the Jessup International Law competition at my old law school + the cocktail party afterwards. So fun to see such passionate, talented students, catch up with a favorite professor, and make new friends.
    5) Reading “The Razor’s Edge” for the first time, definitely enjoying it, curious to see how it ends.
    6) Finished “Pack of Two” by Caroline Knapp.
    7) The Good Wife is on again tonight!

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  7. Betsy, can’t stop to think of my “kicks” this week, but wanted to say the illustrations in this book are beautiful 🙂 I saw it featured on another blog (sorry, can’t remember which one!) and they posted a photo of the real shorty when he was a kid marching in a parade with this big trombone 😀

  8. Stacey, we are up to Episode 5 on House of Cards. A wild rude thus far. … Your open house and the writing program sound wonderful. Good luck, and keep us updated. Also, stay warm!

    Little Willow: I really want to watch Parks & Rec one day. I’ve never gotten around to it. There’s always Netflix. …. On Saturday, I’ll be talking about Wild Things (to answer your question).

    Thanks for dropping off another poem, Steven.

    Jone, I wish I could attend your poetry after-school club!

    Margie, glad you got lots of sunshine, and I hope it starts to warm up soon where you are. In the meantime, enjoy the winter walks!

    Ooh, Rachel! Jealous that you’ve seen Trombone Shorty. Lucky you. And so glad you’re getting lots of sunshine too. The judging sounds fun.

    Hi, Donna! Yes, that photo is in the back of the book.

    Have a good week, all.

  9. […] Author Information Video Interview with Bryan Collier. Interview with Bryan Collier. […]

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