From Charlie Brown’s parents to his incomprehensible teacher, the only voice audiences will hear from adult characters in the upcoming Peanuts Movie will actually not be a voice at all. In fact, the repetitive sound of their brassy “Wah-Wahs” will be played by none other than musical prodigy Trombone Shorty.
A 29-year-old trumpet and trombone player from the New Orleans, Shorty is actually just the most recent trombone player to play the small-but-important role in the Peanuts universe; In the 50 years adult characters have existed on screen, they have always been voiced by the sliding brass instrument.
Given Peanuts’ jazz-heavy history — with pianist Vince Guaraldi writing and performing the vast majority of the now-iconic music for the Charlie Brown specials of the 1960s — picking another up-and-coming jazz musician to be a part of the new film is a logical choice.
Shorty, born Troy Andrews, began playing professionally as a young teenager, started touring with Lenny Kravitz at the age of 19, and then went on to play the major festival circuit with his own band, Orleans Avenue. And he’s not new to on-screen productions; the trombonist was also featured prominently on HBO’s New Orleans-based series Treme.
The Peanuts Movie will be the first feature film adventure for the cast of the much-beloved comic book franchise in over 35 years, and director Steve Martino wanted to keep the on-screen audio as authentic as possible.
But, because the name of the original trombone player that worked for Vince Guaraldi on the first specials has been lost to time, and the composer himself passed away in 1976, it took a little time to get the sound right.
“Trombone Shorty came in with a little arsenal,” said Martino in a recent interview with Mashable. “I didn’t realize there were so many different kinds of plungers or mutes. We tried many different styles and found one particular one that gave us just the right sound.”
So right, in fact, that the marketing team behind the upcoming film recently released an app called “The Wah Wah Machine,” which uses the new recordings of Shorty to make anything users say into a phrase of “Wah Wahs.”
It’s a fun little toy to keep fans excited until the film hits theaters on November 5. Just make sure you don’t use it too much on your significant other, blockheads.