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Best of the Brass Bands

 

The neighborhood based, small-scale brass band is a special fixture of New Orleans music, with roots that reach back to the 19th century and branches that continue to sprout new leaves well into the 21st century.

The time-honored format is flexible and enduring enough that New Orleans brass bands have experienced revivals twice in the 20th century – once in the traditional jazz revival in the 1950s, and again in the 1980s, when bebop, jukebox R&B, funk, and hip hop began to be incorporated into the street parade format.

The Sound of New Orleans label began documenting the most recent brass-band revival in the late 1980s and this best-of compilation offers selections from every recording in its catalogue. The music included in this diverse collection ranges from straightforward brass-band rockers (like the opening “Saints/Mama Don’t Allow Medley,” by the Trémé Brass Band) to swing-band influences (“A Chicken Ain’t Nothin’ But a Bird,” by the Regal Jazz/Smitty Dee Brass Band) and contemporary street-party renditions (“Sixth Ward Jam,” by the High Steppers Brass Band).

A younger generation honoring the brass-band tradition also finds its place here with a trio of contributions from the Mahogany Brass Band (“St. James Infirmary,” “I Scream, You Scream,” and “We’ll Understand It Better Bye and Bye.”) And finally, there are a couple of purely jazz influences (“Muskrat Ramble” by The Regal Jazz/Smitty Dee Brass Band and “Oh, Didn’t He Ramble” by the Original Dixieland Hall Jazz Band).

No matter your own musical preference, this collection of prime tracks will immerse you in the real-deal New Orleans brass scene, where, as they say, “It’s all good!”

 
 

 

SAINTS / MAMA DON’T ALLOW

I’LL BE GLAD WHEN YOU’RE DEAD

WONDERFUL WORLD

Treme Brass Band -

LORD, LORD, LORD

JOE AVERY’S BLUES

Algiers Brass Band -

SIXTH WARD JAM

JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE

High Steppers Brass Band -

SEE SEE RIDER

Coolbone Brass Band -

MUSKRAT RAMBLE

A CHICKEN AIN’T NOTHING BUT A BIRD

Smitty Dee Brass Band -

ST. JAMES INFIRMARY

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM

WE WILL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER

Mahogany Brass Band -

OH, DIDN’T HE RAMBLE

Original Dixieland Hall Band -

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