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Glen David Andrews

At 12, Glen David Andrews picked up the trombone. Rather than studying formally, he absorbed musical skills from neighbors such as "Frogman" Joseph, Harry Nance, Harold DeJean and other local heroes - "the cream of the crop," Andrews says. Soon he was playing for money alongside Tuba Fats in Jackson Square, in the middle of the French Quarter. He was recruited into a brass band led by his younger cousin, Troy Andrews, and has since played in both the New Birth and Treme' brass bands, among others, lending equal measures of musicianship and showmanship to each.

"Aside from being a great musician, Glen David has absorbed a fading tradition," says Ben Jaffe, who runs Preservation Hall, where Andrews used to play regularly on Sunday nights. "He's a link for his generation to something important. But he also has a rare enthusiasm and energy that makes it all special and exciting for even casual listeners." Though most contemporary brass-band musicians have embraced the more funk and pop-oriented sound of say, the Rebirth band, a shift that began some 30 years ago, Andrews sticks mostly to the old hymns, spirituals and trad-jazz tunes. He has just released a live gospel CD, "Walking Through Heaven's Gate", on Threadhead Records, that is probably the first CD to have captured on record the entrancing quality of Andrews' performances at venues like Preservation Hall, the Mid City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl or, most powerfully of all, on the streets.

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