One of the best things
about the younger generation of New Orleans brass bands is their
ability to unleash fresh energy, and inject fresh repertoire,
while simultaneously respecting a musical tradition that is more
than a century old.
The High Steppers
Brass Band lets you know early on where they’re coming from with
“Sixth Ward Jam,” a nine-and-a-half minute medley that could
have been recorded at any of a dozen New Orleans street parties
or hole-in-wall local clubs, where city residents celebrate that
funky Crescent City brass band sound.
The remainder of
selections on this highly energized recording all come from the
classic New Orleans brass band repertoire, but sample very
The lovely and tragic
“Just a Closer walk with Thee,” for example, is among the
earliest dirges played by New Orleans brass bands, while
“Ooh-Pop-A-Dah,” a bebop tune by Dizzy Gillespie, was included
on Voodoo, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s debut for Columbia
Records in the early 1980s.
Similarly, “When My
Dreamboat Comes Home,” “Bourbon St. Parade,” and “Paul
Barabrin’s Second Line” have been brass-band staples since the
1950s traditional New Orleans jazz revival, while the opening
track, “Do Wah Diddy,” and “Go to the Mardi Gras,” a Professor
Longhair contribution, are of a more recent vintage. The High
Steppers also bring their youthful energy to “Butter Beans,”
favored by a new generation of brass band musicians for its
humorous, down-home lyrics.
Here’s a new injection
of inspiration in a tried-and-true musical tradition, holding to
the past while bringing it full-bore into the present, in true
New Orleans style.