From the April issue excerpt on Downbeat's website:
Next Generation New Orleans Brass BandsBrass 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 (fourteen years ago) link
MARDI GRAS 2005: a photo essay by Ned SubletteAlso Check out Interviews with Joseph Roach, Donald Harrison, and Vicki Mayer by Ned Sublette
― Steve-k (Steve K), Sunday, 27 March 2005 16:14 (fourteen years ago) link
― imbidimts, Sunday, 27 March 2005 16:30 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Sunday, 27 March 2005 17:49 (fourteen years ago) link
The only recording of I've heard of Kermit where he sounds really good is Treme Brass Band's Gimme My Money Back, which is ten years old.
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 28 March 2005 13:04 (fourteen years ago) link
― steve-k, Monday, 28 March 2005 14:18 (fourteen years ago) link
Have you heard the Stooges and Hot 8 cds, Steve?
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 28 March 2005 15:00 (fourteen years ago) link
― steve-k, Monday, 28 March 2005 15:08 (fourteen years ago) link
Jordan is SO SO SO OTM about Hot 8.
― adam (adam), Monday, 28 March 2005 15:15 (fourteen years ago) link
I love Hot 8 to death and I'm so happy that they finally put out a damn record. I wish the mix did a little more justice to the drummers (same for the Stooges record actually), but it's really good anyway.
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 28 March 2005 15:26 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 8 April 2005 17:17 (fourteen years ago) link
― steve-k, Friday, 8 April 2005 20:16 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 8 April 2005 20:22 (fourteen years ago) link
― Ian Johansen (nordicskilla), Friday, 8 April 2005 21:38 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 8 April 2005 21:43 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Saturday, 9 April 2005 14:33 (fourteen years ago) link
MAKE IT FUNKY!Michael MurphyUSA, 2005, TBD
New Orleans is at the center of this story about musicians who brought funk to rhythm & blues and rock & roll. Featuring Big Sam's Funky Nation, the Neville Brothers and Allen Toussaint, with special appearances by Bonnie Raitt and Keith Richards.
Friday 6/17 at 9:30 p.m.Saturday 6/18 at 3:15 p.m.
FREE OUTDOOR MOVIES & MUSICAt the SILVER PLAZA in Downtown Silver Spring
MAKE IT FUNKY!Friday night fun will surely ensue when New Orleans funk legends Walter Washington and Big Sam's Funky Nation perform live in conjunction with MAKE IT FUNKY!, yet another film in our fabulous - and FUNKY! - Music Documentary strand.
Friday 6/17Music starts at 7:30 p.m., film rolls at 9:30 p.m.FREE!
― Steve K (Steve K), Friday, 27 May 2005 03:23 (fourteen years ago) link
Back to New Orleans stuff-I've seen Big Sam's Funky Nation mentioned in Offbeat but I don't know anything about them.
― steve-k, Friday, 27 May 2005 12:00 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 27 May 2005 13:10 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 27 May 2005 13:11 (fourteen years ago) link
― Daniel Peterson (polkaholic), Friday, 27 May 2005 13:25 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 27 May 2005 13:31 (fourteen years ago) link
― Will(iam), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:01 (fourteen years ago) link
― steve-k, Friday, 27 May 2005 15:56 (fourteen years ago) link
― Will(iam), Friday, 27 May 2005 17:50 (fourteen years ago) link
September 8, 2005Jazz Musicians Ask if Their Scene Will SurviveBy BEN RATLIFF, New York TimesNew Orleans is a jazz town, but also a funk town, a brass-band town, a hip-hop town and a jam-band town. It has international jazz musicians and hip-hop superstars, but also a true, subsistence-level street culture. Much of its music is tied to geography and neighborhoods, and crowds.
All that was incontrovertibly true until a week ago Monday. Now the future for brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians, to cite two examples, looks particularly bleak if their neighborhoods are destroyed by flooding, and bleaker still with the prospect of no new tourists coming to town soon to infuse their traditions with new money. Although the full extent of damage is still unknown, there is little doubt that it has been severe - to families, to instruments, to historical records, to clubs, to costumes. "Who knows if there exists a Mardi Gras Indian costume anymore in New Orleans?" wondered Don Marshall, director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation.
"A lot of the great musicians came right out of the Treme neighborhood and the Lower Ninth Ward," said the trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, temporarily speaking in the past tense, by phone from Houston yesterday. Mr. Ruffins, one of the most popular jazz musicians in New Orleans, made his name there partly through his regular Thursday-night gig over the last 12 years at Vaughan's, a bar in the Bywater neighborhood, where red beans and rice were served at midnight. Now Vaughn's may be destroyed, and so may his new house, which is not too far from the bar.
On Saturday evening Mr. Ruffins flew back to New Orleans from a gig in San Diego, having heard the first of the dire storm warnings. He stopped at a lumberyard to buy wood planks, boarded up 25 windows on his house, then went bar-hopping and joked with his friends that where they were standing might be under water the next day.
The next morning he fled to Baton Rouge with his family, and now he is in Houston, about to settle into apartments, along with more than 30 relatives. He is being offered plenty of work in Houston, and is already thinking ahead to what he calls "the new New Orleans."
"I think the city is going to wind up being a smaller area," he said. "They'll have to build some super levees.
"I think this will never happen again once they get finished," Mr. Ruffins added. "We're going to get those musicians back, the brass bands, the jazz funerals, everything."
Brass bands function through the year - not only through the annual Jazzfest, where many outsiders see them, and jazz funerals, but at the approximately 55 social aid and pleasure clubs, each of which holds a parade once a year. It is an intensely local culture, and has been thriving in recent years. Brass-band music, funky and hard-hitting, can easily be transformed from the neighborhood social to a club gig; brass bands like Rebirth, Dirty Dozen and the Soul Rebels have done well by touring as commercial entities. Members of Stooges Brass Band have ended up in Atlanta, and of Li'l Rascals in Houston; there could be a significant brass-band diaspora before musicians find a way to get home to New Orleans. (Rebirth's Web site, www.rebirthbrassband.com, has been keeping a count of brass-band musicians who have been heard from.)
The Mardi Gras Indian tradition is more fragile. Monk Boudreaux is chief of the Golden Eagles, one of the 40 or so secretive Mardi Gras tribes, who are known not just for their flamboyant feathered costumes but for their competitive parades through neighborhoods at Mardi Gras time. (Mardi Gras Indians are not American Indians but New Orleanians from the city's working-class black neighborhoods.) Mr. Boudreaux, now safe with his daughter in Mesquite, Tex., stayed put through the storm at his house in the Uptown neighborhood; when he left last week, he said, the water was waist-high. He chuckled when asked if the Mardi Gras Indian tradition could survive in exile. "I don't know of any other Mardi Gras outside of New Orleans," he said.
These days a city is often considered a jazz town to the extent that its resident musicians have international careers. The bulk of New Orleans jazz musicians have shown a knack for staying local. (Twenty or so in the last two decades, including several Marsalises, are obvious exceptions.)
But as everyone knows, jazz is crucial to New Orleans, and New Orleans was crucial in combining jazz's constituent parts, its Spanish, French, Caribbean and West African influences. The fact that so many musicians are related to one or another of the city's great music families - Lastie, Brunious, Neville, Jordan, Marsalis - still gives much of the music scene a built-in sense of nobility. "Whereas New York has a jazz industry," said Quint Davis, director of Jazzfest, "New Orleans has a jazz culture." (Speaking of Jazzfest, Mr. Davis was not ready to discuss whether there will be a festival next April. "First I'm dealing with the lives and subsistence of the people who produce it," he said. [Since this article ran, they announced that the Fest will take place somewhere in Louisiana next April-steve k])
And most jazz in New Orleans has a directness about it. "Everyone isn't searching for the hottest, newest lick," said Maurice Brown, a young trumpeter from Chicago who had been rising through the ranks of the New Orleans jazz scene for the last four years before the storm took his house and car. "People are trying to stay true to the melody."
Gregory Davis, the trumpeter and vocalist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, one of the city's most successful groups, said the typical New Orleans musician was vulnerable because of how he lives and works. (Mr. Davis's house is in the Gentilly neighborhood; he spoke last week from his brother's home in Dallas.)
"A lot of these guys who are playing out there in the clubs are not home owners," he said. "They're going to be at the mercy of the owners of those properties. For some of them, playing in the clubs was the only means of earning any money. If those musicians come back and don't have an affordable home, that's a big blow."
Louis Edwards, a New Orleans novelist and an associate producer of the Jazz and Heritage Festival, said, "No other city is so equipped to deal with this." A French Quarter resident, Mr. Edwards was taking refuge last week at his mother's house in Lake Charles, La.
"Think of the jazz funeral," he said. "In New Orleans we respond to the concept of following tragedy with joy. That's a powerful philosophy to have as the underpinning of your culture."
In the meantime, Mr. Boudreaux, chief of the Golden Eagles, has a feeling his own Mardi Gras Indian costume is intact. He was careful to put it in a dry place before he left home. "I just need to get home and get that Indian suit from on top of that closet," he said.
― steve k, Sunday, 11 September 2005 19:37 (fourteen years ago) link
― steve k, Sunday, 11 September 2005 19:38 (fourteen years ago) link
― don, Monday, 12 September 2005 01:23 (fourteen years ago) link
One of the weird side effects of this whole thing is that most New Orleans musicians are instantly on tour as of now, since that's the only way they can make some money. I sent a snare drum down to Rebirth last week and saw them play up here a few days ago, and we're playing a benefit show with the Stooges in a couple weeks too. Apparently Bill Summers and Davell Crawford played in Minneapolis tonight, etc.
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 12 September 2005 02:30 (fourteen years ago) link
New Orleans r'n'b singer Marva Wright and her extended family are now in Maryland. I got sent an e-mail asking for clothes and stuff. The e-mail didn't say where her band is, or if she was gonna do any singing around here.
― Steve K (Steve K), Monday, 12 September 2005 03:12 (fourteen years ago) link
― steve-k, Monday, 12 September 2005 03:58 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 12 September 2005 12:47 (fourteen years ago) link
― steve k, Monday, 12 September 2005 13:34 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 12 September 2005 14:14 (fourteen years ago) link
...with more pictures here:http://babelogue.citypages.com:8080/pscholtes/#a1446
...and more to come. Weird to think that Houston is now the safehouse of this culture. Houston!
Katy Reckdahl also tells the incredible story of her and her husband, brass band veteran "Kid Merv" Campbell, here:http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2005/09/a_survivors_sto.asp#more
Mike from Jack Brass Band is talking about getting the Soul Rebels to play Minneapolis...
― Pete Scholtes, Tuesday, 13 September 2005 00:20 (fourteen years ago) link
― steve k, Tuesday, 13 September 2005 12:16 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 13 September 2005 12:59 (fourteen years ago) link
― don, Tuesday, 13 September 2005 16:15 (fourteen years ago) link
― Pete Scholtes, Tuesday, 13 September 2005 21:57 (fourteen years ago) link
Some upcoming shows that I know about:
-Rebirth Brass Band, tonight at Martyr's (Chicago)-Rebirth Brass Band, Sept. 20th on that big pay-per-view benefit show at Madison Square Garden & Radio City Music Hall-Stooges Brass Band, Sept. 25th at ??? (Boston)-Stooges Brass Band/Youngblood Brass Band/Mama Digdown's Brass Band, Oct. 9th at the King Club (Madison)-Stooges Brass Band/Mama Digdown's Brass Band, Oct. 10th at Fitzgerald's (Chicago)
There should be a lot more dates in the midwest and elsewhere from Rebirth, Hot 8, Stooges, etc.
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 16 September 2005 17:42 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 16 September 2005 17:46 (fourteen years ago) link
― strng hlkngtn (dubplatestyle), Friday, 16 September 2005 17:51 (fourteen years ago) link
― strng hlkngtn (dubplatestyle), Friday, 16 September 2005 17:52 (fourteen years ago) link
(do you still check your hotmail address?)
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 16 September 2005 17:58 (fourteen years ago) link
― Pete Scholtes, Friday, 16 September 2005 22:55 (fourteen years ago) link
― don, Saturday, 17 September 2005 01:02 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Saturday, 17 September 2005 02:43 (fourteen years ago) link
― Canpass Air (nordicskilla), Monday, 19 September 2005 21:29 (fourteen years ago) link
― Pete Scholtes, Tuesday, 20 September 2005 18:55 (fourteen years ago) link
It was fun.
Brass and International band fest coming up in New Orleans looks good.
― curmudgeon, Monday, 11 November 2019 19:00 (one week ago) link
― change display name (Jordan), Monday, 11 November 2019 19:33 (one week ago) link
No declared winner, and different styles , but I might give Big 6 a slight edge ( shhhh, don’t tell any DC locals I said that)
― curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 November 2019 17:12 (six days ago) link