All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

328

Jambalaya Brass Band: What You Lookin' At

By

Sign in to view read count
"The Crescent City" is New Orleans' nickname primarily for one reason: its shape. Starting in the French Quarter, the city's bounds expanded along the curve of the Mississippi River, giving the city a shape that is essentially that of a toenail. This is mentioned only because this expansion didn't stop there. Indeed, groups like the Jambalaya Brass Band are perfect examples of just how far-reaching the cultural influence of New Orleans remains. They look like a legitimate New Orleans brass band, and more importantly they sound like one, but don't be fooled; these guys aren't from the "Big Easy," they're from the "Big Apple."

The band, led by tenor saxophonist Ric Frank, sports a hefty load of fun-loving funk on What You Lookin' At, their debut recording. Not that these guys are amateurs by any means. Originally created in 1998 for a centennial celebration of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, the band started out playing covers by like- minded New Orleans brass bands including the Dirty Dozen, Rebirth and New Birth. It seems they learned well, because Jambalaya could stand side-by-side with most any New Orleans brass band in terms of sheer exuberance and energy. The album is a party from start to finish.

Things kick off with the aptly titled "Voodoo Queen" (dedicated to Marie Laveau, "the ultimate New Orleans voodoo queen"), a romp of a track complete with slinking tuba line, eerie, elongated trumpet lines and intersecting sax bumps and screams. The sound is at once tight, full of call-and-response and simultaneous theme statements, and loose and elastic. While the tuba holds down the fort, the percussion relaxes and gets a little busier, paving the way towards an increasingly energetic solo by alto saxophonist Joe Hrbek.

Three covers are present on the album—two by friends the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and one by Booker T. and the MGs—but you could hardly tell given the strength of Frank's originals. The Dirty Dozen's "Blackbird Special" is perhaps the strongest of these, if only due to the inherent strength of the track itself, but Jambalaya brings the same raw energy to it as they do to all of the tracks. In fact, much of the group's strongest playing is present on the originals, where they seem more comfortable and thus more willing to really stretch out.

With its shouted intro, Latin-tinged theme and persistently heavy tuba work, the title track is one that makes a solid attempt at bringing what must be a great live show into the home. Indeed, much of the album exhibits that same unpretentious vibe, and the group surely seems to want nothing more than for its listeners to have a blast. Well they need not be disappointed, because with their debut recording they've done it.


Track Listing: Voodoo Queen; Jambalaya Brass; Alligator Ball; Hip Hug-Her; Blackbird Special; Salsa 2nd Line; Do It Fluid; Bayou Mama; What You Lookin' At?; On the Funky Side.

Personnel: Ric Frank: tenor sax, vocals, percussion; Walt Szymanski: trumpet, vocals; Shawn Edmonds: trumpet (1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10); Evan Barker: trumpet (2, 4, 5, 7); Brian Bonvissuto: trombone; Julie Bluestone: alto sax, vocals (2, 4, 5, 7); Joe Hrbek: alto sax, vocals (1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10); Alex Harding: baritone sax (2, 4, 5, 7); Michael Weisberger: baritone sax (1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 20); Ron Caswell: tuba; Andy Burns: snare drum (2, 4, 5, 7); Chris Lacinak: bass drum, cymbal (2, 4, 5, 7); Dave Berger: snare drum (1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10); Charlie Kolhmeyer: bass drum, cymbal (1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10).

Title: What You Lookin' At | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: It's About Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read The Berlin Concert CD/LP/Track Review
The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read IMA IMA CD/LP/Track Review
IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Breathe CD/LP/Track Review
Breathe
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Good Music CD/LP/Track Review
Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "Meeting Of Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting Of Minds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 14, 2018
Read "Blue Maqams" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Maqams
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "Live From A&R Studios New York August 26th 1971" CD/LP/Track Review Live From A&R Studios New York August 26th 1971
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Life Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Life Stories
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Vessel in Orbit" CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "ANDINA: The Sound of the Peruvian Andes" CD/LP/Track Review ANDINA: The Sound of the Peruvian Andes
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 6, 2018