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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 different eras.

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.

 

 

 

 

DO WAH DIDDY

WOLFING BLUES

GO TO THE MARDI GRAS

SIXTH WARD JAM

BOURBON STREET PARADE

JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE

BUTTER BEANS

WHEN MY DREAMBOAT COMES HOME

ST. LOUIS BLUES

OOP POP PA DA

PAUL BARBARIN’S SECOND LINE

 

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