Aubrey Logan Lampoons L.A.


Aubrey Logan critiques Los Angeles and the entertainment industry on her new album.

(Photo: Jeff Xander)

In a city recognized worldwide as the locus of glamour, success and superficiality, Los Angeles-based trombonist and singer Aubrey Logan is determined to forge a career on her own terms.

Raised near Seattle by two music teachers, the 31-year-old grew up hearing everything from Beethoven to Linda Ronstadt and Ella Fitzgerald. Logan sang in children’s choruses and landed paying gigs in professional children’s musical theater by age 9. “I just had this need to be onstage,” she said by phone from her L.A. home.

Later, Logan took up the trombone in middle school, where her band director introduced her to the music of Count Basie. “I realized that all of these show tunes that I learned in Broadway musicals have been reinterpreted by jazz artists,” she said.

Hooked on the genre, Logan continued her studies at Berklee College of Music, choosing a trombone performance major “because trombone just kicks my ass, and I needed to do something that was hard,” she explained with a laugh. “But I sang constantly—I need them both in my life.”

While still a student, Logan made it to the finals of American Idol, and won the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in 2009. Hoping to take her career to the next level, Logan moved to L.A. in 2012. Using connections she’d made previously, the trombonist quickly immersed herself in the bustling music scene, performing with an eclectic array of artists, including the Boston Pops Orchestra, Josh Groban and Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. “Not only is her voice technically astounding, but the way she uses it to breathe new life into a melody is completely her own invention,” Bradlee wrote in an email to DownBeat.

In 2017, Logan released her debut, Impossible, and it hit the top 10 of the iTunes, Billboard and Amazon charts. In March, she issued Where The Sunshine Is Expensive (Resonance), detailing her impressions about the uber-competitive entertainment scene in L.A. and her disappointment with the music industry.

“What I have learned is that things aren’t what they seem,” Logan said. “Hollywood tells the world what they think should be normal, and the glamour and the glitz and the façade—people make an effort to be that way. However, it’s still full of human beings with real feelings, real struggles, and I’m trying to unveil the truth a little bit in the album.”

Logan penned most of the tunes on the album (and did all the arrangements for the seven-piece band), demonstrating a masterful mix of both playfulness and sincerity, and a blend of styles encompassing jazz, r&b, funk and pop. Saxophonist Dave Koz and vocalist Casey Adams sit in on a couple of tunes, including a rambunctious arrangement of Joe Sample’s “Put It Where You Want It” and Logan’s precocious love song, “Laundry.”

Despite her misgivings about L.A., Logan plans on staying put, playing music and staying authentic: “I’m going to be creating music and trying new things for as long as I am on this earth,” Logan said. “It’s important to me to keep on creating music that’s true to me.” DB

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On Sale Now
August 2019
Cécile McLorin Salvant
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