New Orleans Brass Bands S/D

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Though they don't have to be from New Orleans. Does anyone listen to this music much? Who are your favorites?

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 01:51 (12 years ago) Permalink

I know very little about the subject, but I wanna see some answers!

charlie va, Wednesday, 4 September 2002 02:10 (12 years ago) Permalink

Rebirth Brass Band is definitely classic, they were probably the first brass band music I heard (initially on Maceo Parker's record I believe). Lately some friends have hipped me to Soul Rebels (there is no such thing as too many hip-hop brass bands) and New Birth, and I just heard some Treme Brass Band that's are on the more traditional tip.

I can't go without mentioned the (however unlikely) on the level Wisconsin brass band scene, Mama Digdown's and Youngblood. I'm sure I've hyped up Youngblood on other threads, but they really are something these days, the new Def Jux album will be tight. It wasn't until after I started listening to a lot of other brass band music that I realized how unique their sound is, clean and precise instead of greasy and raucous (both are great in their way of course).

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 02:39 (12 years ago) Permalink

Jordan, you're not supposed to answer your own question! But thanks for the primer. I did hear the last Rebirth Brass Band album, and it was really great. I think our station's copy came with a parental advisory sticker, which was sorta weird, 'cause I can't imagine too many minors buying that album.

charlie va, Wednesday, 4 September 2002 02:52 (12 years ago) Permalink

I just wanted to get things rolling. :> I think my main intent was to see if anyone else was into this music and hopefully get some recommendations for bands I haven't heard.

Speaking of which, what about brass bands from neither New Orleans nor Wisconsin?

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 03:17 (12 years ago) Permalink

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band blows the roof off just about every joint they play -- i've only heard a couple of their recordings, but they translate well, too. ¥

christoff (christoff), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 11:44 (12 years ago) Permalink

Hey, Jordan, cool thread. I know nothing about this stuff, but I'm curious as hell now. why are there all these bands from wisconsin? know of any good websites where I can get an overview of brass band stuff? any compilations you'd recommend?

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 22:29 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'm from Madison, Wisconsin, and I know those bands. You can't find a Southern accent in Madison, but you got all these brass bands and New Orleans restaurants popping up. Youngblood and Mama Digdown's even go down to Mardi Gras and perform, though I don't know how seriously they're taken.

The parallel in Minneapolis (where I live) is the Jack Brass Band. I'm all for this kind of thing, but these groups are to Rebirth what Antibalas is to Fela.

I lived in New Orleans for a year and my favorite Rebirth album is still Take It To the Street. Ex-Rebirth member Kermit Ruffins has his own band which is pretty great, too. I find Dirty Dozen boring on CD and in concert, sorry.

My favorite Rebirth story was seeing the guys perform in the bywater one night when members of the Afghan Whigs were in the audience, then seeing the band again in the Zulu parade the next morning. Turns out Rebirth had literally performed all night and went straight to the parade without rest. A float got stuck on a tree, and Rebirth were still energetic enough to challenge a high school band to a battle while the parade stood still. Guess who won.

Pete Scholtes, Wednesday, 4 September 2002 23:50 (12 years ago) Permalink

The Rebirth Brass Band are indeed genuinely great. The Nutley Brass, probably from somewhere like Yorkshire, did at least one punk cover - Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment - that was fun.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 5 September 2002 17:55 (12 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...
Saw the Dirty Dozen Brass Band a few years ago and they were superb.

I still listen to 'New Orleans Album' quite regularly, but it's the only one I've got.

I don't suppose anyone's heard the new one (Medicated Magic)?

James Ball (James Ball), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 17:18 (12 years ago) Permalink

I haven't heard Medicated Magic, but some of the brass band guys I play with weren't too up on it (they would have admittedly picky tastes about this sort of thing). I do wish they would still use a bass drummer and a snare drummer, even though their drummer is great. I'm going to see them here soon, with Youngblood Brass Band is opening up which is cool.

I've been listening non-stop to the New Birth Brass Band record, it is HOT SHIT. Totally on Rebirth's level or more so, and it's probably the most spontaneous, live sounding studio album I've ever heard.

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 22:21 (12 years ago) Permalink

i'm gonna start talking out of my ass because i've never listened to new orleans brass bands nor have i listened to Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, but wasn't he doing this sortsa stuff. brass interpretations of popular songs like madona and marilyn manson.

or was it not so brass band-y?

JasonD (JasonD), Wednesday, 13 November 2002 00:48 (12 years ago) Permalink

I've only heard one track by Brass Fantasy (on a brass band comp, heh), but it was very brass band-y and very fantastic.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 13 November 2002 04:42 (12 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...

Recommend me some New Orleans funeral jazz, please!

And I know this is rockist of me, but the older and more authentic, the better..


Adam Bruneau (oliver8bit), Tuesday, 23 November 2004 11:05 (10 years ago) Permalink

Um, I don't really listen to much of the old stuff, but I've heard it. Get the Eureka Brass Band, the "This is the first authentic recording of a New Orleans Black brass band that was active at the time of recording. Recorded in New Orleans on August 25, 1951 by Alden Ashforth and David Wyckoff. This compact disc is the best example of the music at a jazz funeral and it defines tradtional brass band music." There are older recordings, like the country brass band from the turn of the century that fills out the Baby Dodd's "Talking and Drum Solos" disc, but really, it's shit.

Other than that, just go to Louisiana Music Factory and check out anything by Treme Brass Band (the most well-known band playing in a really trad style that's still around) or Dejan's Olympia Brass Band.

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 23 November 2004 15:12 (10 years ago) Permalink

I really liked the song that Jess put on his blog, from your Rough Guide, Jordan.

Sanjay McDougal (jaymc), Tuesday, 23 November 2004 15:31 (10 years ago) Permalink

Thanks, Jay. I put another song from that Rebirth album up here along with a couple of other things for some friends.

I'll send you a mix if you want to e-mail me, I'm always happy to spread the gospel. Also my brass band should be playing at the Green Mill again in the next couple months.

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 23 November 2004 17:50 (10 years ago) Permalink

i just wanna say that the mix that Jordan sent me is probably one of the most listened cds i've gotten this year

JaXoN (JasonD), Tuesday, 23 November 2004 17:57 (10 years ago) Permalink

That's great to hear, Jason. I just listened to the Liquid Liquid disc before work today, btw.

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 23 November 2004 18:07 (10 years ago) Permalink

Just sticking in another vote here for the ReBirth Brass Band album that has the song on Jordan's comp -- it's called Hot Venom, and it's fantastic. It definitely deserves the parental warning sticker, though (many f-bombs; "Pop That Pussy"). Live, at least here in the North, they are much less hip-hoppy, more of an old-school soul party vibe ("Let's Do It Again / One Love" on the album is representative of that).

Vornado (Vornado), Tuesday, 23 November 2004 19:18 (10 years ago) Permalink

True, they stuck all the street-est stuff on that one album. It also has my favorite production job of any brass band album, not to mention the four 'bone lineup.

I really hope their 20th anniversary show dvd comes out, the show was sort of a mess but Cheeky Blakk came out and did Pop That Pussy for 15 minutes, humping trombone cases, Kabuki riding on her back, etc. :>

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 23 November 2004 19:26 (10 years ago) Permalink

I played some trumpet in school but disdained the marching band (late summer, they're getting ready for football season, marching around in the mud in red wool uniforms, ughh). Have long regretted that, but garage soul/preppy-frat rock was good."Soulfinger" and "Grazin' In The Grass" my faves. Buckinghams' "Mercy Mercy" led me back to Adderley & Zawinul's original, yclept "Mercy Mercy Mercy", and from there to other Blue Note (the cliche of jazz and pop parting ways WWII never otm). Much liked (first albums of) Electric Flag, Blood Sweat & Tears (pre Clayton Thomas), and Chicago. Now collect high school marching band records, which is among what ("lab bands, stage bands" also) gets LANGLEY SCHOOLS equiv, except for the acclaim, on SCHOOLHOUSE FUNK, compiled by Motorcycle John (AKA DJ SHADOW). From the 70s. Uneven, but amazing. Something I'd heard and thought it was the Dirty Dozen 'til I got it: David Byrne's MUSIC FOR THE KNEE PLAYS. TKP being a segment of Robert Wilson's intercontinental stage/satellite TV cycle, "the CIVIL warS" (broadcast live in sequence, but the Reagan Admin pulled plug on our part). Turns out this music was "inspired by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band." Involving old pros like Chuck Findley, Ernie Watts, Pete Christlieb, and Fred Wesley, and, even though it's got some of that one-size-fits-all ECM train station echo, here it does fit (boomin' in the gloom, and after all it's about life going on during wartime). Also Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy's AVANT POP and others; even getting to recastings of hiphop and that big parade drum for "Beautiful People, Beau'ful PeePUL" on ODYSSEY OF FUNK AND POPULAR MUSIC, his last album (which I reviewed for; put your Search subject in quotes if you go there)I've always wondered about Mike Westbrook's settings of Blake, and his Drinking Gasoline review, with singer Kate Westbrook. Were those good? (Regis Brass Band is one from New Orleans I've heard live, but never knew of any records. They were really young and firey when I saw 'em.)

don, Wednesday, 24 November 2004 07:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

Also my brass band should be playing at the Green Mill again in the next couple months.

Yeah, remind me! I've missed you guys a few times now!

Sanjay McDougal (jaymc), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 07:36 (10 years ago) Permalink

Wow Don, it sounds like you've heard a lot of stuff on the periphery of/influenced by N.O. brass band. You should jump into the real shit, I bet you'd be into it (NB: I don't really like the Dirty Dozen for the most part, and I haven't heard of Regis) --

New Birth Brass Band, D-Boy
Rebirth Brass Band, Hot Venom
Stooges Brass Band, It's About Time
Soul Rebels Brass Band, No More Parades
Lil' Rascals Brass Band, Buck It Like a Horse

Also a word about Derrick 'Kabuki' Shezbie - he's the main trumpet player for Rebirth, and he was in New Birth as a teenager (he's all over D-Boy). He's SO MUCH LOUDER than any trumpet player I've ever heard, not to mention the fire. His sound is completely wide-open and really sums up the brass band sound for me (he takes the solo on the Rebirth tune I posted above).

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 16:45 (10 years ago) Permalink

What I mean to say is, he can blow eight notes on one note and suddenly every other trumpet player and every tricky run becomes irrelevant.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 16:46 (10 years ago) Permalink

oh yeah, that David Byrne "Music for the Knee Plays" is great

JaXoN (JasonD), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 17:48 (10 years ago) Permalink

and how great is The Ying Yang Twins new song "Halftime". are brass bands and marching bands at all related?

JaXoN (JasonD), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 17:49 (10 years ago) Permalink

I shy away from the comparison just because it makes people think of their bad Midwest high school pep band and assume that they know what it's about. I'm also sick to death of people saying "oh, you guys must have been in the UW band" or "what drum corps did you march in?" when no one in the band comes from that background at all.

HOWEVER, yeah, they take marching band pretty seriously down south and a lot of those kids have incredible chops. We were standing outside of Tipatina's during a parade last Mardi Gras and this high school trumpet line came by blowing high F's and we were like WHAT?! I think that a huge majority of New Orleans brass band musicians came up in those bands and always check them out during parade season, etc.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 18:05 (10 years ago) Permalink

jordan -- is that yr actual email addy? (I'll do a trade for a copy of that mix).

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 21:01 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yep (change gmale to gmail obv.). That sounds good Julio, I'm sure you have some stuff I'd love to hear.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 21:05 (10 years ago) Permalink

Jordan is 100% otm re: high school bands. New Orleans has like the Delta Force marching bands--all the best music during Mardi Gras can be heard by avoiding the clubs (most of which are hosting jam bands anyway) and hitting the parades further Uptown (before the kids playing are all worn out).

I am also interested in Jordan's mix.

adam (adam), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 22:21 (10 years ago) Permalink

by avoiding the clubs

But still go to Donna's and the Maple Leaf and Le Bon Temps and Cafe Brasil!

most of which are hosting jam bands anyway)

Oh god this is so horribly OTM.

I am also interested in Jordan's mix.

Send me your address.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 22:37 (10 years ago) Permalink

Dude, Le Bon Temps has the crunkest quesadillas in the city.

adam (adam), Wednesday, 24 November 2004 23:32 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yas yas, that's what I like about the South. Alabama's Public TV used to broadcast an annual marching band contest, live from Bessemer High School's football field. That sound, across the stadium (and airwaves), not just horns but the drums, it moves me man. Reminds me that Bessemer is the disembarkation point of Sun Ra (and my father). As far as non-high school, don't forget Mississippi's late (and maybe last of a kind) Othar Turner. And I always suspected that those early N.O. parade bands, "soloing" in different keys simulanteously for *one* thing, were an influence on free jazz (Ornette Coleman had played in proto-R&B bands in his native Texas, and toured in a medicine show band, according to A.B. Spellman, and also lived in New Orleans in 1950 or so, when he could have heard some of those guys live, although there was no revival then, was there? And old guys don't usually have the wind to flip out, I know from my own brass, but his wife Jayne Crotez was known to have a killer collection of 78s.Think also of ASCENSION, esp. the better version, eventually relaesed with the *relatively* tamer, more familiar take. And Gary Giddins said that his Jazz History students hit a wall when they got to Air, etc. but loved Henry Threadgill's JELLY ROLLS, which I think was one of the earliest Free-to-Ur foldovers. And some of them got intoFree per se, with JR as their gateway. I was always fascinated by Archie Shepp & Horace Parlan's albums of spiritual and gospel, and notice elements of these primogen. influences in Ayler (listening to the boxset single-disc promo, for inst). Reminds me: don't know how widespread this trend is, but in the CD store where I was working last year, noticed a jazz X gospel trendette, coming from "Jazz" section *and* from gospel (and of course the latter's had crossover from Blind Boys of Alabama and Robert Randolph and the Family Band, but that's getting away from horns altogether)

don, Thursday, 25 November 2004 01:06 (10 years ago) Permalink

Erm, that would be Jayne Cortez, not "Crotez." Charlie Haden said that before anybody could borrow one of her records, they had to promise to learn to play the songs on it. (She eventually put out her own albums, like the killer early jazz-rap MAINTAIN CONTROL, with mebers of Prime Time, and Ornette as special guest on "There Are No Simple Answers." Again, off-topic, but great[and o course he does play a horn])

don, Thursday, 25 November 2004 06:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

Fixed the link above for that Rebirth & Slim tune.

Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 26 November 2004 13:56 (10 years ago) Permalink

We have People TV in Atlanta, and last year I spent a lot of time taing random things off it, marshing band videos being one of them. The beats truly were crunk, and the dancing that accompanied them was straight out of the club.

Adam Bruneau (oliver8bit), Friday, 26 November 2004 17:47 (10 years ago) Permalink

Marching band videos? You mean like single songs, like pop videos? Whole concerts? Never heard of People TV, is that local to Atlanta?

don, Friday, 26 November 2004 21:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

Thanks for the links, Jordan. Also, on Public Radio's "Beale Street caravan," I just heard NRBQ with horns, live from Coney Island (the one in Cincinnati, not NY). They kept adding extra beats to "swing"; pretty funny. I'd forgotten, they used to have the Whole Wheat Horns, or maybe they're playing horns themselves, like Z Z Top. Reminds me of HIP-BOP-SKA, by the Skatalites, with guests like Lester Bowie and David Murray. Lester does some of this approach on James Carter's COVERSIN' WITH THE ELDERS, which also has Harry Sweets Edison on trumpet, Buddy Tate on clarinet, Hamiett Bluiett on baritone, and JC plays various reed instruments from his storied collection. It ain't Storyville but it ain't bad. Chicka-boom!

don, Saturday, 27 November 2004 06:43 (10 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

In Tower Records I noticed in the new Downbeat magazine a nice article on New Orleans brass bands and more. The Stooges Brass band, Hot 8, and Soul Rebels are all here. I haven't checked to see if the article is online.

As a contributing supporter of I get a weekly e-mail thing from them. This week they have a nice photo-essay by Ned Sublette(musician, musicologist and author of that immense book on Cuban music) on New Orleans. Sublette is living there for awhile and studying the Caribbean roots of New Orleans. He's got an interview with Donald Harrison and some others. I think you can check it all out at

steve-k, Saturday, 26 March 2005 17:48 (10 years ago) Permalink

Brass Bands - C/D

steve-k, Saturday, 26 March 2005 17:53 (10 years ago) Permalink

I wish I had time to go down to Jazzfest at the end of April and into early May and check everybody out. Plus that other fest with swamp pop and Blood Ulmer and more is going on at the rock n bowl.

steve-k, Saturday, 26 March 2005 20:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

Kermit Ruffins is now on tour...

Pete Scholtes, Sunday, 27 March 2005 02:00 (10 years ago) Permalink

He's got a new cd with Rebirth I believe. I doubt they're together on tour though

Steve-k (Steve K), Sunday, 27 March 2005 02:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

I downloaded a ton of stuff for free online a while ago. It is great stuff. Can't remember any names, though. I just filled two cds and labelled them New Orleans Jazz 1 and 2. It sounds drunk and it sounds happy and sometimes it stumbles along like a sad drunk but still manages to sound fun. Right after I saw "Wild Man Blues" I decided I should have some of that.

I think one was called Yarl River Blues Band.

Lemonade Salesman (Eleventy-Twelve), Sunday, 27 March 2005 04:08 (10 years ago) Permalink

Lemonade Salesman (Eleventy-Twelve), Sunday, 27 March 2005 04:10 (10 years ago) Permalink

Thanks for the heads up Steve! Hot 8 in Downbeat, who knew.

I'll be going down to Jazzfest the first weekend to play with Mama Digdown's and see brass bands, can't wait.

Jordan (Jordan), Sunday, 27 March 2005 13:07 (10 years ago) Permalink

It should be great.

From the April issue excerpt on Downbeat's website:

Next Generation New Orleans Brass Bands
Brass Beyond The Streets

By Jennifer Odell

Philip Frazier honks his sousaphone on a chilly January Sunday on the corner of Daneel and 3rd streets. Musicians start to shuffle away from the crowd milling outside the Bean Brothers Bar and strap on horns and snare drums, ready to get their roll on. Dancers for the Undefeated Dicas Social Aid and Pleasure Club come around the corner and tubas, sousaphones, saxophones and bass drums fall in line as the Divas belt out The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There.”

Winding past Mary’s Nightowl Bar, Candlelight Bar, Sandpiper and The New Look, the parading community group hits all of the Uptown neighborhood’s brass band stops. Ostrich plumes fan the air above the Divas in time with Frazier’s non-stop vamps. When the dancers slow down and form a circle, trading moves with kids, the band plays even harder, echoing braay swueals off the projects across the street. This is how brass band music was born.

But it’s growing up. And while playing the second lines and funerals remains important, many of today’s hottest brass players are concentrating more on polishing their CDs and getting national recognition than on stealing the show on Sunday afternoons. The current generation is following the successful business model created by the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth brass bands; updating a traditional sound to make the music relevant to a larger audience. And with each step forward, another cross-breed of the brass band sound is born. Mardi Gras Indian bands like Big Sam’s Funky Nation are based in funk, the Soul Rebels are purveyors of hip-hop and the Hot 8, New Birth and the Stooges hold down the street scene with their bebop-heavy takes on the traditional style.

Steve-k (Steve K), Sunday, 27 March 2005 16:07 (10 years ago) Permalink


MARDI GRAS 2005: a photo essay by Ned Sublette
Also Check out Interviews with Joseph Roach, Donald Harrison, and Vicki Mayer by Ned Sublette

Steve-k (Steve K), Sunday, 27 March 2005 16:14 (10 years ago) Permalink

there was some sorta Folkways record i checked out in Fredericksburg, Texas, and it dirged and dirtied heaving heavier than a mule cry, as syrupy and sun-stroked than just about anything i could think of (though that recent Sub Rosa Tibetan ceremony thing is sorta close). one of those New Orleans series ones. don't know if a single tortoise tune clocked in under eight minutes...

imbidimts, Sunday, 27 March 2005 16:30 (10 years ago) Permalink

Pricey but looks good-- A revised and expanded edition of his 1992 monograph The Jazz People of New Orleans, Playing for the Benefit of the Band features over 200 photographs taken by Friedlander between 1957 and 1982, many of which are published here for the first time. Storied figures such as Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson have been captured by Friedlander’s disarming lens, and Sweet Emma Barrett, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Johnny St. Cyr, and other luminaries are seen in their homes and the back rooms in which they gathered to play. Also included are photographs of the city’s second-line parades, whose jubilant dancing has long been a defining aspect of New Orleans jazz culture.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 18 March 2014 14:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

That's a beautiful book. I have the first one.

A Perfect Ratio of Choogle to Jam (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 18 March 2014 15:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

Jazzfest stage "cubes" schedule just popped into my inbox. Used to be one of my happiest days of the year, but skimming past Robin Thicke, Christina Aguilera and Vampire Weekend, plus lengthy sets by Phish and String Cheese Incident, I'm wondering if there's much left for me there anymore.

A Perfect Ratio of Choogle to Jam (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

Still some brass bands, gospel and old jazz & r'n'b folks, but its a predictable lineup of locals and its obscured by all the big touring names above (they didn't take a hint from Ponderosa Stomp re seeking out obscure locals; plus so many old-school New Orleans musicians have passed on)

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yeah, I'm sure I could still pass a good time with Feufollet and a bowl of Crawfish Monica, but it's a pretty uninspired schedule. Santana again, it must be Jimmy Buffett's off year.

A Perfect Ratio of Choogle to Jam (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

Young Fellaz Brass Band on Frenchman St. controversy.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 April 2014 13:51 (11 months ago) Permalink

this band is not very good. that said, all frenchmen st business owners are assholes. the important takeaway here is that dat dog, who by building on the vacant lot where young fellaz used to play started all this trouble, sells artisanal hot dogs for $8 each. rip new orleans.

adam, Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:58 (11 months ago) Permalink

Wish I coulda been in New Orleans this weekend for Jazzfest; or in Seattle for this EMP Pop Conference presentation:

Matt Sakakeeny is an ethnomusicologist, journalist, and musician in New Orleans, and an Assistant Professor of Music at Tulane University. His book Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans was published by Duke University Press in 2013. Matt has also contributed to Wax Poetics, Oxford American, and NPR’s All Things Considered, and is the guitarist and bandleader for Los Po-Boy-Citos.

“The New Orleans Brass Band and Old Technologies of Mobility”
The New Orleans brass band is the ensemble responsible for mobilizing the local cultural traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade. As these processions move through the city streets, their pace is determined by the tempos set by the drummers, and the ecstatic dancing of the participants that make up the “second line” is propelled by the syncopated rhythms and improvised melodies of the musicians. These ensembles are entirely acoustic, and the processions they perform in can be connected to West African burial rituals that predate slavery, but the instruments themselves were once cutting-edge technologies. Marching drums, sousaphones, and other wind and percussion instruments were specifically designed to mobilize crowds, and most originated in military bands and developed through technological advances in metallurgy, woodwork, and synthetics via industrial design and automated labor. As products of Ottoman, European, and American innovation, these instruments were appropriated by black musicians whose presence in the New World was, of course, a product of their ancestors' forced mobilization from Africa. As an inherently mobile ensemble, the brass band has facilitated the movement of black New Orleanians through public spaces where lynchings, race riots, segregation, and gentrification have all taken place. The many vectors of mobilization that intersect with the brass band ensemble problematize contemporary equations of mobility solely with “new” media. We have always been mobile.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 27 April 2014 19:51 (11 months ago) Permalink

Saw praise for Matt's presentation on twitter

curmudgeon, Monday, 28 April 2014 13:43 (11 months ago) Permalink


festival culture (Jordan), Monday, 28 April 2014 14:14 (11 months ago) Permalink

Golden Star Hunters Big Chief Larry Bannock passed away on April 30, just three days after performing at Jazz Fest 2014.

funeral is Saturday for this Mardi Gras Indian, according to Offbeat

curmudgeon, Thursday, 8 May 2014 20:09 (10 months ago) Permalink

unflattering closeups on public television:

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 8 May 2014 23:10 (10 months ago) Permalink

From Offbeat Mag email:

the brass band—the Young Fellaz Brass Band—that seemed to have caused a lot of problems with some of the local businesses, has proclaimed that the band is interested in being part of the street and that it will stop playing around 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. They’ve also promised not to play as loudly as they have been. Sam Jackson, the leader of the Young Fellaz, has made a sincere attempt to meet and talk to the other business owners on the street to assure them that the band is making an effort to be a part of the Frenchmen Street community of businesses.

The animosity towards the band from some of the businesses on the street seems to have been ameliorated somewhat. I think this is great news. Talking to each other and trying to get along with your neighbors is key to making Frenchmen Street a great destination for music and culture. It’s starting to happen. It just takes time and patience.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:44 (10 months ago) Permalink

They’ve also promised not to play as loudly as they have been

good to hear in general, but trust me, this is a promise that no brass band can keep.

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:46 (10 months ago) Permalink

More from Offbeat editor Ramsey:

I personally like the idea of letting the brass bands play in the flea market of the French Market. as t he vendors there go home every evening, and the area is vacant, lighted, and covered. Adding some food trucks in that area could create a destination attraction. Of course, this idea needs development and support by the city, the French Market Corporation and the bands themselves.

It would add another night-time entertainment area if there could be some traffic flow from Frenchmen to that area of the flea market if there was music and some food there. Another obstacle is the presence of the Old U.S. Mint. Let’s face it: it’s poorly lit, and pretty forbidding (even during the day). It’s almost a “blockade” between Frenchmen Street and a “Brass Band Alley.” The Old Mint needs to be made a lot friendlier. How about adding some lighting on its Decatur Street and Barracks Street sides in the evening? How about adding some signage on the corner of Decatur and Esplanade as well as on the Barracks Street side?

The Old Mint has great programming during the day (the National Jazz Historical Park has regular programs about New Orleans music); there also events occasionally in the evening. Why are they not capitalizing more on this contribution to the musical offerings in this area? Why couldn’t the Old Mint also get involved in developing a place for brass band to play at night?

curmudgeon, Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:49 (10 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Larry Blumenfeld re the ongoing battles re sound decibel regulations, changing New Orleans neighborhoods and more:

Back at City Hall, the outlook for policy reforms remained cloudy at best once the city council deadlocked, 3-3, thus balking at a proposed ordinance revision.
The revisions would have dictated new methods of measurement and acceptable decibel levels for sound along a particularly loud section of the French Quarter’s Bourbon Street (based on an exhaustive study by acoustician David Woolworth, whose Oxford, Miss.-based firm was hired by the city council).

curmudgeon, Saturday, 31 May 2014 15:13 (10 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Saw Glen David Andrews perform in Rhode Island Friday night and while I enjoyed the show immensely, I’m curious: Is he considered more of a draw for tourists or is he a favorite of NOLA locals, too? We basically heard the greatest hits of New Orleans — “Basin Street Blues,” “St. James Infirmary,” even “Saints.” Wondering if he dumbs down the set list while touring? Dynamic performer, though. Opening the show was the Funky Dawgz Brass Band from UConn, which played a great set of original material.

Jazzbo, Monday, 16 June 2014 14:22 (9 months ago) Permalink

Jordan might be able to say more, but Glen used to play on the street a bunch and got arrested once for violating rules on second lining, so I'd say he is a favorite of both locals and others. He also has always been more into some traditional songs than other brass band players are (though he probably also thinks that when he's on the road that is what folks want to hear). He's never been as funky/hip-hop oriented as some. I saw him many years ago with the Treme Brass band on tour in DC doing the songs you mentioned,plus years later with a band at another DC club, and I've seen him do them onstage in New Orleans at Jazzfest and clubs as well.

curmudgeon, Monday, 16 June 2014 14:35 (9 months ago) Permalink

well, on the one hand he's a legend, basically brass band royalty (same family as trombone shorty, derrick tabb, many others), best singer to come out of the brass band scene, great trombone player, been playing in New Birth and other bands for years. and he wrote this classic:

on the other hand, his solo shows can be a little...much? can definitely feel pandering, and then he'll do things like play his 'rock star' tune for 20 min and crowd surf.

festival culture (Jordan), Monday, 16 June 2014 15:45 (9 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

RIP Lionel Ferbos at 103

Trumpeter Lionel Ferbos, who enjoyed a late-in-life celebrity as the oldest active jazz musician in New Orleans, died early Saturday, July 19. He celebrated his 103rd birthday two nights earlier, on July 17, at a party at the Palm Court Jazz Café, a favorite venue of his.

Mr. Ferbos was the personification of quiet dedication to craft. Even some residents of his 7th Ward neighborhood, he once said, didn't realize he was a musician — they knew him as a master tinsmith who had taken over his father's sheet metal business. That occupation sustained him and his family for decades.

But he always nurtured a musical career on the side.

"He proved that the greatness of the city of New Orleans is that ordinary people can be extraordinary on a daily basis," said trumpeter and New Orleans Jazz Orchestra founder Irvin Mayfield. "Everyone has an opportunity to be something special. The culture gives us the opportunity. He was an example of that."

His life in music spanned the Roosevelt administration to the Obama administration, the Great Depression to the Internet era. Louis Armstrong was only 10 years his senior, but Mr. Ferbos outlived Armstrong by more than 40 years.

curmudgeon, Monday, 21 July 2014 03:29 (8 months ago) Permalink

Last time I was was in NO, in 2008, I made it point to see not only his Jazzfest set, but also went to see him at Palm Court, figuring it would probably be my last time, if not his. RIP.

Both jaunty and authentic (Dan Peterson), Monday, 21 July 2014 13:58 (8 months ago) Permalink

New Orleans drummer Jamal Baptiste is playing (the still alive) drummer for James Brown, Jabo Starks in the new James Brown movie

curmudgeon, Thursday, 24 July 2014 13:25 (8 months ago) Permalink


curmudgeon, Thursday, 24 July 2014 13:25 (8 months ago) Permalink

Idris Muhammad, whose drumming crossed over several musical styles including funk, jazz, and rhythm and blues, died Tuesday (July 29).

Williams said that Muhammad got his first national touring gig with Sam Cooke before moving on to Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield and beyond.

"He was eclectic in terms of his playing," Williams said. "He mixed the New Orleans sound, that sound of the street music, with jazz music and rock 'n' roll, and had all that intertwined," Williams explained. "He tuned his drum to get the sound from the New Orleans street bands, the marching bands, and he'd get that kind of sound that would come from New Orleans. That's why he was so sought after.

"He had the syncopation of New Orleans."

The news devastated the WWOZ-FM staff, who had gotten to know Muhammad personally and through his music. After learning of the news, Wednesday's (July 30) "Morning Set" jazz show featured plenty of Muhammad's work.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 2 August 2014 15:26 (7 months ago) Permalink

More on his New Orleans drumming roots here

curmudgeon, Monday, 4 August 2014 16:55 (7 months ago) Permalink

x-post-- that WWOZ dj in the Muhammad obit shoulda included Earl Palmer in his list of legendary New Orleans drummers (even if some of his impact was from after he moved from the Crescent City to L.A.)

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 5 August 2014 13:55 (7 months ago) Permalink

Jordan posted this on the 2014 jazz thread

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 5 August 2014 14:07 (7 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

starting to upload some brass band classics to youtube just because they're not on there:

i thought some of these records were more or less out of print, but it looks like there are digital versions now on Amazon/iTunes/etc, which is good.

festival culture (Jordan), Sunday, 21 September 2014 20:29 (6 months ago) Permalink

Some nice photos (online) from way back and from recently in this exhibit--Keeping Time: Extraordinary Images from Louisiana’s Musical Past at the Old U.S. Mint,

curmudgeon, Thursday, 2 October 2014 16:50 (5 months ago) Permalink

this thread is a roller coaster man. every time it gets updated it's either someone dying or some crazy amazing youtube.

adam, Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:31 (5 months ago) Permalink

also thx for the heads up, just bought d-boy on amazon mp3

adam, Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:31 (5 months ago) Permalink

nice. i'll bet i've listened to 'd-boy' more than any other record ever, and it never gets old.

for awhile i thought about doing some kind of oral history on it, talking to everyone involved while they're still around, but i just don't have the time for that sort of thing right now.

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 2 October 2014 19:50 (5 months ago) Permalink

i would read that.

did anyone ever get around to that matt sakakeeny book? i like the idea but sometimes new orleans music people writing about new orleans music are can get

adam, Thursday, 2 October 2014 20:05 (5 months ago) Permalink

pretend that image is the poster for _in too deep_ starring omar epps and ll cool j

adam, Thursday, 2 October 2014 20:05 (5 months ago) Permalink

lol. haven't read it, curious though.

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 2 October 2014 20:11 (5 months ago) Permalink

I haven't read it yet either, but have been impressed with Sakakeeny writing I have seen

curmudgeon, Friday, 3 October 2014 13:46 (5 months ago) Permalink

This just popped into my email:

It’s brass bands galore at our seventh annual Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival, taking place Nov. 8-9 in New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong Park. The Soul Rebels, the Stooges, the Hot 8, To Be Continued, the Pinettes, the Brass-A-Holics and the Tremé brass bands all will be there. So will New Orleans jazz/funk trumpet phenom Shamarr Allen. We’ll also present winners of our third annual Class Got Brass student brass band competition. And don’t forget the gumbo. Ten great local restaurants will showcase their interpretations of New Orleans’ signature dish. Plus, we’ll host our second annual Vegan Gumbo Competition. Don't miss a special performance by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra's new brass band (play that funky music, classical dudes!). All that plus a huge arts market and special activities for the kids. Admission is free.

Dick Clownload (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 15 October 2014 20:20 (5 months ago) Permalink

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra's new brass band (play that funky music, classical dudes!)

this should be hilarious

festival culture (Jordan), Wednesday, 15 October 2014 20:22 (5 months ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Just got around to listening to Rebirth Brass Band's 2014 album Move Your Body. Sounds good. Various guests are on it--James and Troy Andrews and a woman vocialist whose name I have sadly forgotten

curmudgeon, Thursday, 18 December 2014 19:59 (3 months ago) Permalink

4 weeks pass...

Another festival (and yes brass bands are kinda involved)

JazzFest lineup got announced too. Elton John and the Who with the Stooges Brass band together! OK, not really.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 15 January 2015 14:47 (2 months ago) Permalink

I don't dislike Elton or The Who, and have seen both perform, but the prospect of seeing them at Jazzfest would hold zero appeal for me. Thanks but no thanks: Pitbull, John Legend, Ed Sheeran.

But digging down the lineup: Sturgill Simpson, Vintage Trouble, Jimmie Vaughan, Taj Mahal... I could still have an excellent time. But not going, again.

Losing swag by the second (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 15 January 2015 15:33 (2 months ago) Permalink

I am with you on all that (seen Elton, the Who etc.), although seeing Springsteen there was exciting. I haven't studied the list, but one can't go wrong seeing brass bands and John Boutte and Irma Thomas (all of whom I guess are playing at some point)

Ponderosa Stomp is back this year, after a hiatus. Would like to go to that.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 15 January 2015 16:33 (2 months ago) Permalink

Theodore Emile "Bo" Dollis, the longtime Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians, died at his home in New Orleans on Jan. 20, 2015, his son confirmed. He was 71.

Born Jan. 14, 1944, Dollis first exercised his powerful voice in church. Though his family was reluctant to allow him to join the Indian gangs that paraded in their Central City neighborhood due to their reputation for violence, he sewed a suit in secrecy and masked for the first time with the Golden Arrows Mardi Gras Indians as a young teen. Soon after he joined the Wild Magnolias as Flag Boy and, by 1964, had risen to Big Chief.

Like the late Big Chief Tootie Montana, who was a mentor to him, Bo Dollis was one of a new generation of Mardi Gras Indians that turned away from violence, focusing instead on a contest of costuming and "prettiness." He was among the first to bring the culture and sound of the Indian culture to national prominence, recording the first commercial album of Mardi Gras Indian music, the single "Handa Wanda," in 1970 – the same year that he and Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians appeared at the first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In 1974, along with his wife Laurita Dollis, keyboardist Willie Tee, Snooks Eagilin, percussionist Uganda Roberts and saxophonist Earl Turbinton, Dollis recorded the groundbreaking album "The Wild Magnolias," melding Indian chants with sizzling funk. Over the years, the Wild Magnolias would perform around the world.

In recent years, troubled by failing health, Dollis stepped down to the role of council chief of the Wild Magnolias, his son Gerard "Bo Jr." taking on the role of Big Chief and leader of the performing Wild Magnolias. In 2011, Bo Dollis received the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowship.

Check back with for more details on this breaking story. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 20 January 2015 18:27 (2 months ago) Permalink

I've been expecting this for quite a while, but damn. Wild Magnolias in the tiny upstairs room of Funky Butt on Rampart is definitely in my top musical experiences ever.

Losing swag by the second (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 22 January 2015 16:24 (2 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

No BS Brass Band are really doing well for themselves, huh? not my thing at all, but they're tighter than most brass bands that have a drum kit, and at least they're doing their own thing and not attempting any New Orleans tunes.

lil urbane (Jordan), Wednesday, 11 February 2015 22:55 (1 month ago) Permalink

Was curious about them, as I keep seeing the name around, but have never listened to 'em.

In New Orleans brass band news, Smithsonian Folkways has a new comp out with recent recordings from Liberty Brass, Treme, and Hot 8 (and more?)

curmudgeon, Friday, 13 February 2015 17:01 (1 month ago) Permalink

interesting. new recordings too, very trad-heavy, of course. doesn't sound super exciting from the clips, but still, cool.

i'm doing a clinic for a high school brass band this Sunday and i'm very much looking forward to it. mostly i want to give a context and get them excited about checking out the New Orleans bands.

oh and my band is in Chicago tonight at tomorrow, at the Green Mill.

lil urbane (Jordan), Friday, 13 February 2015 17:31 (1 month ago) Permalink

FYI that Smithsonian site features a free download of Treme Brass Band playing “The Sheik of Araby.”

Jazzbo, Friday, 13 February 2015 17:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

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