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

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 (7 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 (7 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 (7 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 (7 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 (7 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 (6 months 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 (6 months 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 (6 months 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 (6 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

going to be in New Orleans the weekend of April 10th to play a gig and catch a second line. Digdown is playing at the Blue Nile that Friday.

lil urbane (Jordan), Wednesday, 1 April 2015 16:59 (5 months ago) Permalink

French Quarter Fest going on then I think

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 1 April 2015 17:20 (5 months ago) Permalink

yep. there are supposed to be thunderstorms all weekend. :( at least our show w/the Stooges is indoors, of course, i just hope the second line goes off.

lil urbane (Jordan), Thursday, 9 April 2015 17:04 (4 months ago) Permalink

Not a brass band question, but ...
I was streaming WWOZ's broadcast of the French Quarter Fest yesterday when Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers were playing what sounded like mostly covers. The female singer, who was screeching loudly and out of tune for the entire set, had me scratching my head. It was one of the worst things I've ever heard. I couldn't understand how they got the gig (never mind the radio spot) yet the crowd seemed to like them. What was I missing?

Jazzbo, Monday, 13 April 2015 12:06 (4 months ago) Permalink

Aurora Nealand is her name, I guess, and apparently she has somewhat of a following in New Orleans. Maybe her vocal chords were just having a bad day.

Jazzbo, Monday, 13 April 2015 12:09 (4 months ago) Permalink

I listened to her set with The Royal Roses last year, it was okay. That's trad jazz though, I haven't heard her rocking out. I do think some of those 'OZ broadcasts are miked weirdly sometimes, with the vocals too far forward.

The job killing and likely illegal (Dan Peterson), Monday, 13 April 2015 14:06 (4 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, her rockabilly recordings sounds pretty decent. All I heard was over-the-top screaming yesterday.

Jazzbo, Monday, 13 April 2015 18:38 (4 months ago) Permalink

And I watched a bit of this year's set on youtube. Not my thing.

The job killing and likely illegal (Dan Peterson), Monday, 13 April 2015 18:44 (4 months ago) Permalink

Couldn't have asked for a better set at the Blue Nile. Great crowd, and my hero Derrick Tabb sat in a couple times.

Also saw Shannon Powell, Herlin Riley, and Gerald French, so that's all of my new Orleans drumkit idols. The only thing that sucked it's that the second line was cancelled on account of rain, even though it ended up not really raining during that time.

lil urbane (Jordan), Monday, 13 April 2015 18:52 (4 months ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

Travis 'Trumpet Black' Hill, rising New Orleans trumpeter, has died at 28

By Alison Fensterstock, | The Times-Picayune
on May 04, 2015 at 3:05 PM, updated May 05, 2015 at 2:16 AM

(UPDATE: James Andrews will perform a tribute to his cousin at the Ooh Poo Pah Doo on Monday night, May 4.)

Travis "Trumpet Black" Hill, the fiery young trumpeter who played with the New Birth Brass Band, Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet and his own Heart Attacks band, died Monday (May 4) in Tokyo, according to a brief statement from the musician's publicist. He was 28.

Hill had just arrived in Japan, where he was scheduled to play a string of summer concerts, when he was rushed to the hospital. An infection that had set in after a minor dental procedure the previous week had spread quickly. According to the press release, Hill died at 2:15 p.m. Tokyo time on May 4.

Travis Hill, like his cousins Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, James Andrews and Glen David Andrews, was a grandson of the New Orleans R&B great Jessie Hill, a member of a sprawling dynasty of musicians. The same age as Trombone Shorty, Hill and his cousin grew up musically side-by-side, attending the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp together; as a child and teenager, along with Glen David Andrews, Hill played in his cousin's first project, the Trombone Shorty Brass Band, as well as with groups like the New Birth and Lil Rascals Brass Bands.

His path diverged from his cousin's when, still in his teens, Trumpet Black was arrested for armed robbery. He spent nearly nine years in prison. After his release in 2011, Hill threw himself back into music with resolve and racked up successes quickly. He toured for two years as a member of Glen David Andrews' band and played with the Hot 8 Brass Band. More recently, he performed with Corey Henry and his Treme Funktet and picked up steam with his own band Trumpet Black and the Heart Attacks, with regular gigs at Vaughan's Lounge and the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar, his family's new lounge named for Jessie Hill's 1961 hit. He played the 2015 Jazz Fest with the New Breed Brass Band, as well as a heavy schedule of festival-week shows around New Orleans.

"Today my heart is heavy with the loss of my little cousin, more like my little brother," Glen David Andrews said Monday. "I love him, I will always love him and never let his memory fade away."

In late 2014, Hill had begun work on a new album with producer Eric Heigle. The seven tracks were nearly complete, Heigle said Monday afternoon; in fact, he and Hill had plans to work on final mixes remotely while the trumpeter was in Japan.

"Whatever it takes, I've cleared my schedule to finish it," Heigle said.

"It's a really great record," he said. "Everyone knows how great he was on the trumpet, but he was a really great singer as well."

The centerpiece of the project, Heigle said, was an original soul song whose title switched between "Trumpet Is My Life" and "Trumpets Not Guns," the latter being the name of the nonprofit with which Hill volunteered, playing benefit concerts and working with at-risk children.

"He used his past as a springboard," Heigle said, squeezing the energy of the time he'd lost in prison into electrifying music. Heigle recited some of the lyrics to "Trumpet Is My Life/ Trumpets Not Guns" into the phone Monday:

"This trumpet is my life, it's bout the only thing I do right, it's my ticket to the world," he said. "Spend time blowing my horn, you need it - it keeps me out the storm," he said.

Trombone Shorty and members of his Orleans Avenue band appear on the album, Heigle said, as well as June Yamagishi and James Andrews. It includes mostly Travis Hill originals, plus a cover of Earl King's "Street Parade."

"The band sounded great. The material is really strong," he said. "He was shining bright, and everyone around him felt it."

Lisa Grillot, the co-founder of Trumpets Not Guns, said that she thought of Hill as if he were one of her own eight children.

"He talked to the kids, straight from the hip," she said. "Like Glen David, they were guys who had been there. 'I did this, don't be so stupid.' He was able to speak from experience, and they listened to him. He was a voice of reason. "

"He was so proud that he was Jessie Hill's grandson," she said. "He was beyond proud of who he was. But at the same time he didn't define himself by who he was – Trombone Shorty's cousin, James' cousin, Jessie's grandson.

"He was the kid coming back from it all, who was going to take the world by storm."

Arrangements for Hill have not yet been announced.

Stay tuned to | The Times-Picayune for more on this developing story.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 5 May 2015 18:00 (3 months ago) Permalink


adam, Tuesday, 5 May 2015 18:10 (3 months ago) Permalink

it's so sad and random, especially given his story.

lil urbane (Jordan), Tuesday, 5 May 2015 18:24 (3 months ago) Permalink

i heard a bootleg of an old brass band battle show where he was the only trumpet player for New Birth, he would have been 13 then.

lil urbane (Jordan), Tuesday, 5 May 2015 18:30 (3 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Not exactly brass band, But Louisiana raised multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jon Batiste and his now NY based band Stay Human will be Stephen Colbert's band in the fall when Colbert takes over for Letterman.

curmudgeon, Monday, 8 June 2015 00:29 (2 months ago) Permalink

Satchmo SummerFest 2015 will celebrate 15 years of highlighting Louis Armstrong's contributions to American music from July 30 through August 2, 2015. But if you want to enjoy the music, you will have to pay $5 for admission this year-a first in the history of the formerly free festival.

From Offbeat mag email

curmudgeon, Thursday, 11 June 2015 13:31 (2 months ago) Permalink

“It’s frustrating,” he confirmed during an August phone call from Manhattan, “because you always have to sit down when you play the piano. I want to interact with the audience more, and that’s difficult due to the nature of the instrument. As much as New Orleans is a piano town, it’s also a trumpet town, and one thing the trumpeters can do is interact with people directly and get that energy back to them. I want to do that too.”

sorry dude, the melodica is not a great solution here. it's just not.

lil urbane (Jordan), Friday, 12 June 2015 18:06 (2 months ago) Permalink

Harold Battiste, New Orleans saxophonist, composer and educator, dies at 83

Keith Spera, | The Times-Picayune By Keith Spera, | The Times-Picayune
on June 19, 2015 at 12:01 PM, updated June 19, 2015 at 10:42 PM

Harold Battiste Jr., the prolific saxophonist, pianist, producer, arranger and educator who helped shape music in New Orleans and beyond for more than six decades, died early Friday (June 19) after a lengthy illness. He was 83.

Mr. Battiste founded A.F.O. Records, the first New Orleans label owned by musicians, which released Barbara George's 1961 hit "I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)." He collaborated with Sam Cooke on two of the soul star's landmark singles. After moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s, he served as Sonny and Cher's musical director, and helped launch Dr. John's career.

In 1989, he returned to New Orleans and joined the jazz studies faculty at the University of New Orleans, mentoring and inspiring countless students.

"He has a glass-half-full approach to life," Ed Anderson, a former student who went on to become an assistant professor of music and director of Dillard University's Institute of Jazz Culture, said in 2009. "He was always encouraging. He motivated us to keep pushing forward, trying to get better. We all saw this old, wise man sitting there quietly. People love to be around Harold."

Mr. Battiste was born Oct. 28, 1931, in Uptown New Orleans. In the early 1940s, as he recalled in his 2010 memoir "Unfinished Blues," the family moved to the then brand-new Magnolia Housing Development. Their new apartment was close to the Dew Drop Inn on LaSalle Street, the famed nightclub and hotel. Already he sang in a junior choir at church, and had recently acquired his first clarinet.

"I could hear the music coming from there on my front porch and in my living room," he wrote in "Unfinished Blues." "It was the music of the Black stars of the day: lots of R&B, a little swing, a little jazz, a bit of jump. It was all about the rhythm, and I couldn't help but be drawn to that music because it spoke directly to my spirit."

Mr. Battiste graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and went on to earn a degree in music education from Dillard University in 1952.

In the 1950s, he performed in bands at the Dew Drop Inn and on Bourbon Street, sometimes alongside his friend Ellis Marsalis. He worked as a public school music teacher, as a New Orleans-based talent scout for Specialty Records -- he auditioned a very young Irma Thomas -- and as an arranger for recording sessions. He helped shape Sam Cooke's 1957 smash "You Send Me" and, years later, played piano on Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," which was recorded at RCA Studios in Los Angeles in early 1964. He also contributed to Joe Jones' hit "You Talk Too Much" and Lee Dorsey's "Ya Ya."

In 1961, he launched A.F.O. ("All For One") Records out of a desire to give musicians, especially studio musicians who received only flat fees for playing on hit records, a bigger piece of the pie. He recruited five fellow African-American musicians for the A.F.O. board.: Saxophonist Alvin "Red" Tyler, bassist Peter "Chuck" Badie, drummer John Boudreaux, cornet player Melvin Lastie and guitarist Roy Montrell.

They played in the label's house band and produced records. They released an album called "Compendium" with vocalist Tami Lynn that was half jazz, half R&B, with the company's philosophy spelled out in the liner notes. In addition to Barbara George's million-seller, which hit No. 1 on the R&B charts, the label's releases included "Monkey Puzzle," the first album by Ellis Marsalis.

"If Louis Armstrong and his generation were to be compared to Adam, I would consider Mr. Battiste and his generation to be Moses," Anderson said in 2009. "They were the second wave. They changed the direction of jazz. They started the modern jazz movement in New Orleans.

"They took it from the traditional style that you'd hear at Preservation Hall and brought it into the modern vein by being influenced by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Fusing with that New Orleans, down-home sensibility, they created their own strain of jazz."

But A.F.O. could not replicate the early commercial success of "I Know." In a 1993 interview with The Times-Picayune, Mr. Battiste said an unscrupulous record distributor from New York lured away Barbara George, A.F.O.'s biggest star. In need of additional investors, income and opportunity, the label's principals moved to Los Angeles. But A.F.O. ran out of cash and dissolved.

"None of us, including myself, really understand the inner workings of American capitalism and the business," Mr. Battiste said in 1993, shortly after relaunching A.F.O. The music business "is just like any other business. And we're coming from a place of emotion and love, and that's not necessarily compatible with business and economics."

However, in Los Angeles, Mr. Battiste's versatile skill set -- he could write and arrange, as well as play multiple instruments -- led to eclectic collaborations. He worked with Sonny Bono and Cher for 15 years. He arranged, and contributed the distinctive soprano sax melody, to their 1965 hit "I Got You Babe." He served as the musical director for the duo's TV show, "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour," which launched in 1971. He later became musical director for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis.

In the late 1960s, fellow New Orleans expatriate Mac Rebennack looked up Mr. Battiste in Los Angeles. Mr. Battiste got Rebennack work at recording sessions with producer Phil Spector and Sonny and Cher, among others. He helped Rebennack conceive of the Dr. John persona, and produced the first Dr. John album, "Gris-Gris," in 1968. The collection of hoodoo funk, featuring "I Walk on Gilded Splinters," found an audience among psychedelic rock fans. Mr. Battiste also produced and arranged the second Dr. John album, 1969's "Babylon."

He eventually took a job as director of jazz studies for the Coburn School of Music of the University of California at Los Angeles. When Ellis Marsalis became head of jazz studies at the University of New Orleans in 1989, Mr. Battiste returned to his hometown to help mold the next generation of the city's musicians.

In his later years, Mr. Battiste revived A.F.O. and sought to introduce and mentor young musicians in a project dubbed Harold Battiste Presents the Next Generation. He also dedicated himself to preserving and promoting the music of New Orleans' early modern jazz masters via "The Silverbook," a collection of compositions by the likes of James Black, Ed Blackwell, Ellis Marsalis, Nat Perrilliat, Red Tyler and others. His own compositions included the swinging, Count Basie-like "Alvietta Is Her Name" and the percussive "Marzique Dancing," both named for his daughters.

In 2009, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra performed a tribute concert of Mr. Battiste's works, orchestrated by Anderson. "Bravo Mr. Batt!" also featured the Dillard University Choir, pianist Henry Butler, percussionist Bill Summers and vocalists John Boutte and Wanda Rouzan, an indication of breadth of his catalog.

Among other honors, he received OffBeat Magazine's Best of the Beat Lifetime Achievement in Music Award in 2009.

Mr. Battiste suffered a stroke in 1993 that limited his ability to play saxophone. In recent years, his health declined steadily.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Music writer Alison Fensterstock contributed to this story.

curmudgeon, Monday, 22 June 2015 13:49 (2 months ago) Permalink

So much sad tragedy in New Orleans...

An online fundraising effort has been set up for Milan Arriola, the 20-year-old niece of trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, who was shot and killed on Friday, July 3.

Ruffins shared the link to the fundraiser on his Facebook page with the simple note: “Thank you.”

The effort was organized by Imani Ruffins, Arriola’s mother and Ruffins’ sister. Imani Ruffins is also a veteran of the New Orleans Police Department.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 July 2015 14:27 (1 month ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

slated for destruction


The defunct club, located at 2604 Desire Street, figured hugely into the city’s jazz history and rich African American heritage.

It hasn’t been in operation since the 1970s. Three quarters of a century back, however, Club Desire was buzzing to the tunes jazz and R&B greats. Billie Holiday, Fats Domino, and Dave Bartholomew were just the tip of the iceberg.

Marguerite Doyle Johnston—a longtime neighborhood resident close since childhood with the club’s former owner, Augusta James (Johnston’s late “Ti Gusta” was a niece of club founder Charles Armstead)—spearheaded efforts back in 2008 to try and save the building. The city was ultimately unable to provide funding for the project.

“I’ve tried for years to save the building,” said Johnston. “I wanted to preserve it as a community center, or a museum. Because this is your jazz giants. Where they got their start.”

According to Johnston, the club was originally a cafe. She recounted that African American men working on the tracks of the fabled “Streetcar Named Desire” would go in for breakfast or lunch during the work day, lamenting the fact that there was nowhere downtown where black people could go to hear live music at affordable prices.

“So, what [cafe owner] Armstead did,” Johnston explained, “was he bought some land that was right next door to the coffeeshop and expanded it into the club.”

She fondly remembers Club Desire’s beautiful interior, the tables and chairs in front of a raised stage, and the lofty second-tier balcony.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 23 July 2015 14:43 (1 month ago) Permalink

so much lip service paid to historic and cultural preservation but when it comes time to spend some money in an as-yet ungentrified neighborhood the city punks out. (but you can buy artisanal cocktails and heirloom escarole or whatever in the st roch market now, which also lay abandoned and crumbling for decades, until yuppies took over the hood.) (the city's bizarro appeasement strategy w/r/t the neverending brooklyn carpetbagger influx while ignoring real new orleanians and schools and infrastructure and every other fucking thing is demonstrably not working at all yet it shows no signs of change)

adam, Thursday, 23 July 2015 15:34 (1 month ago) Permalink

too much depressing shit in this thread man we need jordan to swoop in with some brass band youtubes pls

adam, Thursday, 23 July 2015 15:48 (1 month ago) Permalink

ha. don't know if this will work because it's from facebook, but click here for bad sound but great dancing.

lil urbane (Jordan), Thursday, 23 July 2015 15:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

lil urbane (Jordan), Thursday, 23 July 2015 16:02 (1 month ago) Permalink

thank you. TBC on top of the game still

adam, Thursday, 23 July 2015 16:34 (1 month ago) Permalink

Turner Classic Movies cable channel(TCM) is showing a bunch of Les Blank movie docs tonight Tuesday the 28th through the wee hours of Wednesday morning. They are starting at 8 EST with

8 pm Les Blank 1 hour doc Always for Pleasure from 1978 New Orleans that includes Professor Longhair, Irma Thomas , the Wild Tchoupitoulas and more

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 28 July 2015 15:26 (1 month ago) Permalink

The Les Blank movies are available on TCM on Demand until August 5th

curmudgeon, Thursday, 30 July 2015 03:47 (1 month ago) Permalink

You have to have a cable tv provider for that to work (and in US)

curmudgeon, Thursday, 30 July 2015 16:41 (1 month ago) Permalink

if you have hulu plus they're on there too:

adam, Thursday, 30 July 2015 17:10 (1 month ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

I saw this excerpt in the Washington Post. I think you need to register or something to read the WSJ article

Wall Street Journal: Katrina evacuees have made their mark on Houston. They include barbers, brass-band players and bankers. They have opened eateries with names like Big Easy Express and established congregations including the local branch of New Orleans’s Franklin Avenue Baptist Church.

curmudgeon, Friday, 28 August 2015 14:07 (4 days ago) Permalink

Obama mentioned Rebirth Brass Band in New Orleans

The president then headed for lunch at Willie Mae’s Scotch House with Landrieu and other officials before continuing on to the Sanchez Center.

His speech was full of New Orleans references and, in many cases, clichés. He suggested still-displaced residents “live the words sung by Louis Armstrong: ‘Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?’ ”

He referred to the city as a gumbo and a place where “the jazz makes you cry and the funerals make you dance.”

He gave shout-outs to restaurateur Leah Chase, whom he spoke with earlier in Treme, and a member of the Marsalis family.

And he promised that, after he leaves office, he’ll come down to hear the Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf and, paraphrasing Dr. John, “see the Mardi Gras and somebody will tell me what’s Carnival for.”

“But for right now, I just go to meetings,” Obama said.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 29 August 2015 05:04 (3 days ago) Permalink

god i hope obama has to take a piss in the bathroom at the maple leaf, that shit is gnarly

adam, Saturday, 29 August 2015 13:26 (3 days ago) Permalink

Ha. Meanwhile

Shamarr Allen teaches kids how to play music for free at his parents house in the 9th Ward

curmudgeon, Saturday, 29 August 2015 19:32 (3 days ago) Permalink

The Hustlers Brass Band in Houston includes 7 folks who left New Orleans when Katrina hit

curmudgeon, Monday, 31 August 2015 14:36 (Yesterday) Permalink

on their album, it's all members of the Soul Rebels with Dwayne from the Stooges BB/Trombone Shorty on bass drum. i think they started it after Katrina, must have transitioned the band off to dudes who stayed in Houston.

lil urbane (Jordan), Monday, 31 August 2015 14:51 (Yesterday) Permalink

lil urbane (Jordan), Monday, 31 August 2015 14:52 (Yesterday) Permalink

May be a mixture of Soul Rebels and folks who are staying in Houston

curmudgeon, Monday, 31 August 2015 15:17 (Yesterday) Permalink

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