Brass bands were around before jazz was born. And while they've mostly disappeared from the American musical landscape, in New Orleans, where it all began, they've never gone away. Brass bands remain a part of life in the Big Easy, where they still perform in public events like funerals, parades, and Mardi Gras.
Over the past twenty years, a number of innovative new brass bands, led by the Dirty Dozen, have been pushing the limits of this traditional music by incorporating elements of funk, bebop, and even rap. The result is some of the most raucous, spirited, and funky music being played anywhere today.
This compilation album from Shanachie provides an outstanding overview of the new brass band scene, including contributions from New Orleans stalwarts like the Dirty Dozen, Rebirth, and Olympia brass bands. Also included are selections from such diverse non-New Orleans groups as Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy (led by the Art Ensemble of Chicago trumpeter) and the Les Miserables Brass Band (led by Frank London of The Klezmatics), which offers a not-to-be-missed cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression." Great party music and ample proof that the New Orleans brass band tradition is still going strong.