Trombone Shorty hopes audiences can leave their troubles at the door when he takes the stage at Newport Music Hall alongside his band Orleans Avenue.

Trombone Shorty hopes audiences can leave their troubles at the door when he takes the stage at Newport Music Hall alongside his band Orleans Avenue.

"I try to play music in the spirit of unity," said Shorty, born Troy Andrews 28 years ago, reached by phone on an early December tour stop in Boston. "When you come to my show it's a place where everyone is on the same page. There's no white or black or Democrat or Republican or whatever it might be. It's my job to bring a fun atmosphere. Coming from New Orleans, we just try to keep those problems over there and keep our music here to make us happy."

To illustrate this point, the trombonist pointed to his hometown's embrace of second-line funeral parades, generally cheerful affairs designed to celebrate a life rather than mourn a loss, as well as the never-say-die spirit that exhibited itself most strongly in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a 2005 storm that devastated the city and left some pundits questioning whether a rebuild was worth the effort.

"It was hurtful to hear some people wanted to let [the city] go, but I think overall people understand the culture and the realness of New Orleans, and what it means to the United States," said Shorty, who joins his bandmates for a Newport concert on Saturday, Dec. 13. "It would be weird to have a United States without New Orleans, but we weren't going to let that happen. It's a hard place to let die, and the people there are built tough. We were going to do whatever we had to do on our own and stay strong to make sure the city came back just like before the storm."

Even so, Shorty admitted certain areas of the city have been irrevocably altered - particularly his childhood neighborhood of Treme, a French Quarter-adjacent region that served as the setting for the David Simon HBO series of the same name. This despite the fact the 'hood was one of the few areas left relatively intact following the storm.

"Treme didn't get affected because it's close to the [French] Quarter, which is near the top of the crescent; there was some wind damage at most," Shorty said. "But because it was one of the neighborhoods that didn't get affected, and because it's so close to the French Quarter, the landlords were taking the opportunity to price gouge. We have the people that were the heart and soul of the Treme, and 95 percent of 'em weren't able to pay what was asked. So you come back and it's different."

The relentlessly optimistic jazzman's tone curdled noticeably when he went on to describe a second-line parade in honor of a local musician who had recently died being cut short by police when it passed through Treme.

"I knew it was a different neighborhood when the cops were called on Rebirth Brass Band and about 100 other musicians who got together to celebrate this person's life," he said. "Before the storm you'd have 400 to 500 people sitting on the porch enjoying themselves … and it's just not like that now. Now I can drive through the neighborhood and it feels like a ghost town."

Shorty's music, like the parts of the city he now frequents, remains a spirited mashup of styles and cultures. On his latest full-length, Say That to Say This, released in 2013, the trombonist casts a wide net, incorporating elements of jazz, funk, R&B, hip-hop and rock 'n' roll. It's an anything-goes ethos he's absorbed from childhood, when he served as accompaniment to his trumpeter brother back when he was still dwarfed by his chosen instrument.

"As a kid, my lips were so small that even a trombone mouthpiece was too big; it would take up my whole face," said Shorty, who has held to his childhood nickname though he now stands at a taller-than-average height of six feet. "To be able to get some sound out of it, my brother had the idea of putting a trumpet mouthpiece on there. When he did that, it sounded really strange and rare, like an elephant, but I was excited just to be able to make some noise."