About Us

“But before you can understand how much music means to me, you have to know how important it is to my hometown, my greatest inspiration.”

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

In New Orleans, music is everywhere: the clubs, the churches, the streets, the schools, and in the air. It’s celebrated as an essential part of life—past, present and future. Louis Armstrong said it best: “What we play is life.” America’s original musical art form—jazz—originated here, and over time so did many other styles-rhythm and blues, funk, and rock and roll.

Through the years these traditions have been handed down from one generation to the next. New Orleans musicians understand the importance of teaching the younger ones this heritage, allowing them to carry on the city’s vibrant musical culture that continues to make our city such an exceptional place.

At the Trombone Shorty Foundation, we proudly contribute to this time-honored tradition of passing it on. Although many kids in New Orleans play an instrument, it’s a select few like Troy “Trombone Shorty” who have the opportunity to pursue music as a career on a national stage.

The Foundation strives to preserve and perpetuate our way-of-life by instilling an understanding of the importance of our musical culture in the next generation of New Orleans musicians—empowering them to play it forward.

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

Founder & Instructor, Trombone Shorty Foundation

Troy is a product of the music-rich Treme neighborhood and has been playing trombone since it was bigger than he was. Today, Troy and his band, Orleans Avenue, are a nationally celebrated mix of ‘Supafunkrock’ playing sold-out arenas, joining the world’s biggest pop and rock bands, authoring an award-winning children’s book, and still leading the hometown second line.

 

Musical Inspiration: My family and my city. They didn’t just introduce me to the greats, they were the greats. From my grandfather, Jessie Hill, who made R&B hits back in the day, to my cousin Herlin Riley, who played drums for Wynton Marsalis, my family gave me the inspiration and the tools to make New Orleans music.

Memorable Moments: I love seeing kids make musical careers a reality. The path to making it is so different today than it was when I was a kid, but they’re using these tools to make their own way.

Bill Taylor

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Bill Taylor has served as the Trombone Shorty Foundation’s Executive Director since its inception in 2011, overseeing all aspects of the organization. He has a long history of involvement in the New Orleans music community, from the Tipitina’s Foundation to producing the Fats Domino tribute recording “Goin’ Home” to co-authoring the Caldecott-winning Trombone Shorty kids book. A graduate of Princeton University, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and an honorary member of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, Bill’s passion for New Orleans and its music is a lifetime pursuit.

Musical Inspiration: At 7:45 am at the Maple Leaf on the first day of my first visit to New Orleans, I saw Walter “Wolfman” Washington start his final set as the sun was rising. I’d never seen anything like it. My mind was blown, and I knew that I’d found my home.

Memorable Moments: I’ve collaborated with Troy (Trombone Shorty) since he was a teenager. With all those years of memories, I may have to write a book.

Asia Muhaimin

Musical Director, Trombone Shorty Academy

Asia is the glue of the Foundation, ensuring that the students get where they need to be and organizing all logistics. Since earning her degree from Jackson State University, she has served as the Band Director at Warren Easton Charter High.

Musical Inspiration: Alvin Batiste, my clarinet instructor growing up. The way he would talk to me about music was so amazing – I felt like he WAS music. My dad is also a musical inspiration, I grew up in New Orleans and to me, music is everything. My dad encouraged me to play and take part in local culture. Now I am a part of the city.

Memorable Moments: I love seeing the students’ faces when they complete a piece of music and they know it sounds good. I love watching them get compliments on how good they sound, and I know how hard they worked to get there. The best part is that it happens all the time.

Edward Lee

Instructor, Trombone Shorty Academy

Edward is bandleader and sousaphone player for MainLine, who take on traditional brass band, funk and hip hop from a New Orleans point of view. As a musician who has undergone the challenges of starting a band from inception, traveling, dealing with booking agents and club owners, he credits the Academy for teaching the business side of music and showing the next generation how to negotiate, receive proper compensation and set themselves up for long term financial stability. 

Musical Inspiration: Tuba Fats was a big mentor to me. I’ve always admired his ability to take control of a whole band, lead, and adapt to younger musicians. He was one of the guys, definitely, that was about passing the torch. I am glad that he took the time to mentor me – he showed me that it’s always important to give back.

Memorable Moments: When they get on the stage at the center or House of Blues, they are a whole different animal. They turn into something that we didn’t think we were going to see so fast. It’s incredible to see that hunger when they’re on the stage with a big crowd. As their teacher, it’s something I’ll never forget.

Julian Gosin

Instructor, Trombone Shorty Academy

Lead Trumpeter for Soul Rebels, Julian has performed on The Late Show and Conan as well as with Nas, Maceo Parker, Talib Kweli, DMX and Metallica. The New Orleans native graduated from NOCCA in 2003 and Dillard University in 2009, and credits the city of New Orleans and his informal mentor, Troy Andrews, for his success in transitioning from being a star marching band member to a working musician.

Musical Inspiration: the people of New Orleans – on any given day you’ll see or experience something that will inspire you.

Memorable Moments: The overall growth of the kids has been amazing to watch – they’ve grown as the program has expanded. It’s great to see them embracing the new opportunities to go on the road and have a more hands-on experience about what it’s really about.

Glenn Hall

Instructor, Trombone Shorty Academy

The Grammy-winning trumpet player for Rebirth Brass Band is a member of the extended Andrews family, and when he’s not touring internationally with Rebirth, is also the bandleader of Lil Glenn and Backatown. Glenn, who attended NOCCA and graduated from University of New Orleans in 2016, has been playing shows since age 6.

Musical Inspiration: My family is definitely my greatest inspiration. From Glenn David giving me my first horn, to playing with James Andrews, my family’s tradition of playing for the moment has created moments of joy and celebration for so many people. In New Orleans we have influences from all over the world, France, Spain, Africa — we have a gumbo and made it our own.

Memorable Moments: I love the look on the students faces when they are seeing great musicians teach. It inspires them to see that they can do the same thing we are doing. At the same time, no one’s up on a pedestal. They know they can come and talk to us about anything.

Erion Williams

Instructor, Trombone Shorty Academy

Saxophonist for both Soul Rebels and MainLine, Erion strives to showcase a new sound for New Orleans, by mixing multiple genres of music and stretching the form. Growing up in a musical family (his cousin is Kermit Ruffins), Erion was a St Augustine High School Drum Major and graduated from Xavier University in 2007.

Musical Inspirations: Being a sax player, you have to look up to Coltrane and Charlie Parker. I also love hip hop – basically, anything that’s funky. We are in the birthplace of jazz. Jazz transcends any style of music. NOLA is always going to be on the map as the place where everything came from.

Memorable Moments: It’s a pleasure, man… working with them, seeing their growth. Every week they come with different questions on how to play. It’s so much watching them grow and develop their professional skills, and knowing that if they want do this for a living, they are going in the right direction.

Chris Finney

Director, Fredman Music Business Institute

A multiple Grammy award winning producer and engineer, Chris directs the Fredman Music Business Initiative, teaching the students the ins and outs of the recording industry. As the Recording Academy’s Memphis Chapter Governor and co-chair of the producers and engineers wing, Chris shares real-world knowledge about the business of music. An adjunct professor at Tulane University, Chris has owned and managed his own recording business since 1993.

Musical Inspiration: The “Creole Beethoven” Wardell Quezerque. He was hands down the most talented musician I’ve ever worked with, and simultaneously, the most humble and beautiful guy.

Memorable Moments: I love watching the kids on stage with Troy at Shorty Fest. It pulls something out of them they didn’t even think they had.

George Wilde

Assistant Director, Fredman Music Business Institute

The Tulane graduate has lived in New Orleans since 2010, fully immersing himself in the musical culture of the city, including stints at Preservation Hall and booking bands at venues throughout the city. Currently the Assistant Director of the Fredman Music Business Institute and an instructor at the Academy, George is also the leader of funk band Sexual Thunder.

Musical Inspiration: My high school music teacher from Bobby Broom gave me the tools to become a professional musician. Also Allen Toussaint, he had the raw talent, heard what could be and invented it. It is a rich experience to be a part of a musical community, and it’s what makes this city exceptional and participating in it inspires me every day.

Memorable Moments: When the kids got to know the Soul Rebels as instructors, I think we really turned a corner. Through that band they can really see a direct line all the way from high school marching band to world renowned, professional musicians. It showed them that all of the work we’re doing is towards an attainable goal, and seeing them recognize that for the first time was really special.

Herlin Riley

Pathways to Careers Program Instructor, Trad Fridays Program Instructor

Herlin Riley is an acclaimed jazz drummer and native of New Orleans. Riley started on the drums at the age of 3 and grew up in a musical family. After graduating college, he worked with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis as a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, performed with pianist Ahmad Jamal, and recorded with artists Dr. John, George Benson, Harry Connick, Jr., Benny Wallace, and Marcus Roberts. Riley has led lectures for percussion in the jazz studies program at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, and is still a regularly featured musician at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Wendell Brunious

Pathways to Careers Program Instructor, Trad Fridays Program Instructor

Wendell Brunious is a renowned jazz trumpeter and bandleader. Brunious was born into a Louisiana Creole family, his father was a talented trumpeter who studied at Juilliard and played with some of the local legends. Brunious performed with Chief John and the Mahogany Hall Stompers in the 1960s, studied at Southern University (where he played with Danny Barker) and played dance music in clubs on Bourbon Street and Preservation Hall in the 1970’s. He’s shared a stage with the Eureka Brass Band, Lionel Hampton, Linda Hopkins, Michael White, Chris Barber, Papa Don Vappie, Bob Wilber, and the Pfister Sisters.