How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
There are few musical experiences as visceral as hearing a brass band in full flight. Seeing a top band in person is a physically demanding bout with the deepest vibrations and the airiest calls. Perhaps more than most musical groups, brass bands can suffer when pinned down on disc. Not only does the listener lose the explosive sound of the live band, but the ritualistic drama the band summons cannot be easily captured. In avoiding these pitfalls, New Birth Family emerges as a real treasure.
A good deal of credit for this success must go to producer George Porter, Jr., who has played bass with the Meters and Tori Amos. The sound of the album is wide open and forceful, enabling the listener to gain a full understanding of the power and scope of the New Birth Brass Band.
The band itself never sacrifices passion in the exercise of virtuosity. The call and response interplay on the traditional "Gloryland is, in a word, glorious. In addition to the buzzing brass, the band adds affecting vocals that are alternately sweet and soul stirringly hoarse. Elsewhere the group lights into a version of "I Got A Woman dedicated to Ray Charles that would make Brother Ray proud.
New Birth Family is bracing in its vitality. This is the sort of album for which a CD player's repeat button was invented.
Track Listing: Intro; Fat Boy; Who They Want; I Got A Woman; Project Love; Gloryland; Hush Your Mouth; You Know You Know; A.P. Tuoro; Old Time Religion; Cell Block Nine
Personnel: Cayetano "Tanio" Hingle-bass drum; Kerry "Fatman" Hunter-snare drum; Kenny "Little Milton" Terry-trumpet; Darryl Adams-alto saxophone; Corey "Bo-Monkey" Henry-trombone; Glen David Andrews-trombone, lead vocals; Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews-trombone; Kerwin "Fat" James-tuba also featuring Glen Andrews-trumpet; Frederick Sheppard-tenor saxophone; Vincent Broussard-tenor saxophone; Darryl Jenkins-vocals; Tracy Brown-vocals