151

Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Funeral for a Friend

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz permeates everything in New Orleans, a city where, as Sidney Bechet once said, “Music is as much of a part of death as it is of life.” Funeral for a Friend, the stirring new CD from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, proves that Bechet’s remark still holds true.

The Dirty Dozen, who helped revive the languishing brass band scene some 25 years ago with their modern twist on a tradition that dates back to the early days of jazz, offers its take here on another of New Orleans fading traditions—the jazz funeral. Named in tribute to one of the band’s founding members, Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen, who passed away just after the album was recorded, Funeral for a Friend —in keeping with New Orleans custom—is a joyful farewell, alternating slow mournful dirges (“Just a Closer Walk With Thee”) and somber hymns (“Amazing Grace”) with uplifting gospel tunes (“Jesus on the Mainline”) and plenty of rousing R&B-laced instrumentals. What starts out as an occasion of pure sorrow evolves, over the course of the album (as over the course of the jazz funeral) into a wild party and a true celebration of life. Along the way, much of the history of jazz is evoked, from early Dixieland and swing to funk and even, in the frenzied simultaneous soloing of the horns, free improv.

The tradition of the New Orleans jazz funeral may be on life support, but it’s not dead—not as long as groups like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band are around to honor the tradition and breathe new life into it.


Track Listing: Just A Closer Walk With Thee; I Shall Not Be Moved; Please Let Me Stay A Little Longer; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; Jesus On The Mainline; John The Revelator; I'll Fly Away; Is There Anybody Here That Loves My Jesus; Down By The Riverside; Amazing Grace.

Personnel: Gregory Davis and Efrem Towns: trumpets; Kevin Harris and Roger Lewis: saxophones; Sammie Williams: trombone; Julius McKee: sousaphone; Terence Higgins: drums; Jamie McLean: guitar. Dedicated to Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen.

Title: Funeral for a Friend | Year Released: 2004


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Float Upstream CD/LP/Track Review Float Upstream
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Extremophile CD/LP/Track Review Extremophile
by John Sharpe
Published: September 26, 2017
Read The Source CD/LP/Track Review The Source
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Setembro CD/LP/Track Review Setembro
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Layers" CD/LP/Track Review Layers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "A Multitude of Angels" CD/LP/Track Review A Multitude of Angels
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Another Place, Another Time" CD/LP/Track Review Another Place, Another Time
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane" CD/LP/Track Review Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Nomad" CD/LP/Track Review Nomad
by Nick Davies
Published: April 18, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.