The evolution of the New Orleans brass band continues with each generation and its latest transformation can be heard in Unlock Your Mind by The Soul Rebels. The work of these eight young Crescent City natives is progressive, rhythmic and addictive. It is also highly reflective of their early exposure to New Orleans beats heard in their neighborhoods and high school marching bands with dance rhythms backing powerful horns. The syncopated beat is held down by the rhythm section that includes the band's founders Lumar LeBlanc on snare drum and bass drummer Derrick Moss. Sousaphonist Edward Lee, Jr completes the section that drives the front line horns consisting of two trombones, two trumpets and a saxophone.
The disc features original tunes and several covers such as the horn fueled version of the Stevie Wonder tune "Living for the City." The CD starts on an up-note with the tune "504"a reference to New Orleans area code and a tribute to the city's rebirth following Katrina. Encouraging the listener to embrace the city's ever present sense of joy, they are joined on this tune by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews who adds one of his signature trombone solos. The Soul Rebels take the brass genre to a new level with several of their original songs that feature rap beats and lyrics. While rap may not be within the taste of many jazz fans, these tunes are made quite palatable by the powerful horns and back beats of The Soul Rebels.
The breakout tune on this volume is an energetic cover of the Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This." With a powerful chorus of horns and voices, and an impressive saxophone solo by Erion Williams, The Soul Rebels give new life to this familiar 1980's classic, and their up tempo arrangement has already been picked up and performed by several New Orleans marching bands at Mardi Gras parades and football games, seemingly destined to become a brass band classic.
The Soul Rebels usher in a new generation of sound to the ever-evolving New Orleans brass band scene. Syncopated beats, powerful horns, great singing voices in various styles including funk, R & B and rap, and powerful dance rhythms are all included in this work. This band fully understands the power of their music. In one tune about their music, "We Gon' Take Your Body," the band sings "And that's when we take over. We take your body and dance with it." In this volume of work, there is ample evidence that The Soul Rebels can take your body and dance with it. Be prepared to give up control, and enjoy the experience.
Track Listing: 504; Sweet Dreams Are Made of This; Turn It Up; My Time; Unlock Your Mind; We Gon’ Take Your Body; Night People; I’m So Confused; Showtime; Say Na Hey; I Made It; Living For the City; Let Your Mind Be Free.
Personnel: Lumar Leblanc: snare drum, percussion and vocals; Derrick Moss: bass drum, percussion and vocals; Julian Gosin: trumpet, percussions and vocals; Marcus Hubbard: trumpet and vocals; Edward Lee Jr.: sousaphone, percussion and vocals; Corey Payton: trombone, percussion and vocals; Paul Robertson: trombone and vocals; Erion Williams: tenor saxophone and vocals; Ben Ellman: Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews: trombone (1); Ben Ellman: baritone sax solo (8); Leo Nocentelli: guitar and guitar production (10); Cyril Neville: vocal (5).
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.