Secret language of trombone
Since its origin in the ‘20s, there has been a belief of how a true jazz record should sound. Local trombonist Audrey Ochoa’s latest album Afterthought, released with the Canadian boutique label Chronograph Records, is here to challenge that belief.
With an enjoyable blend of pop, psych, Latin, funk, and electronica, Afterthought stands out from the classic jazz sound. Ochoa’s adept trombone playing may be the album’s focus, but her willingness and openness to explore other musical dimensions is what truly makes Afterthought shine.
“I wanted to experiment when making this record,” Ochoa says. “Beyoncé is one of my influences and I cried when I saw her live. All she had to do was walk and she immediately had this presence about her to make the crowd listen. I don’t know why jazz shouldn’t be approached that way.”
Ochoa collaborated on a few tracks with Victoria, B.C. electronic artist, Dallas Budd (a.k.a. Battery Poacher), adding a surprising progressive synthesizer layer not often found in jazz.
“I realized that the songs with only trombone needed something else,” Ochoa says. “No one is going to like only trombone even if they’re a trombone player, and I like the perspective of a non-jazz guy sort of doing what everybody else is doing. Electronica, basically, has the same principles of jazz, it’s just not happening concurrently, but it really worked.”
Budd will be present during Ochoa’s show at the Yardbird, meaning the audience will experience the electronic parts of the songs constructed live.
The electronic work on Afterthought may be subtle, but it pairs well with Ochoa’s trombone, bass, and drum trio. The title track begins with a catchy, bare bones horn melody underneath accentuated electronic keyboard chords, ending with a more voltaic computerized outro.
“It’s my favourite track for sure,” Ochoa says. “I plan to make an entire album with that sort of electronica, more pop feel. I wanna do more of that writing and collaborating.”
Ochoa also has her backing band—local jazz legends Mike Lent on bass and Sandro Dominelli on drums—to thank for the sounds that make up her latest album.
“I grew up watching these guys play and I would say, over the course of a decade, we have become friends and can play really well together,” Ochoa says.
Raised by her trumpet-playing father, Romeo, who frequently played with Canadian pianist icon Tommy Banks, and her mother and sisters each playing their own respective instruments, Ochoa’s childhood was constantly surrounded by music.
After picking up the trombone in junior high band, Ochoa realized she found her musical calling.
“It sounded the most like my voice, if that makes sense,” she explains. “My sisters and I all had to take piano too, but I felt I was most at home with the trombone.”
Now with her trusty copper patchwork trombone, Ochoa has made her mark as one of Edmonton’s most abounding freelance trombone players.
“My horn has followed me everywhere,” Ochoa says. “It was crafted by the guy who owns Frankenhorn in town and it’s made out of a bunch of different trombones. So it’s a literal ‘frankenhorn.’ I just love it. It’s copper and there’s no varnish so it’s unique.”
Ultimately, Ochoa wanted her instrument to explore a different feel of the jazz voice.
“In the jazz canon, a lot of the language has been defined by saxophones, trumpets, and pianos,” Ochoa says. “That’s just the genre’s evolution and who the style makers were, but trombone-specific tunes haven’t gotten their spotlight. So I’m trying to give them some.”
Sat., May 20 (7 pm)
Audrey Ochoa album release
The Yardbird Suite, $26