What would you get if you beefed up a New Orleans marching band
with an extra complement of brass, sat it down, and then wrote
up a whole bunch of funky arrangements for it? The Regal Jazz
Band masquerading as Smitty Dee’s Brass Band.
Founded by saxophonist
Butch Gomez, an alumnus of The Trémé Brass Band, and Dimitri
Smith, formerly with the legendary Olympia Brass Band, The Regal
Jazz Band is where funk and fun and swinging arrangements meet
the traditional jazz repertoire that has been evolving in the
Crescent City since the early 20th century.
For a quick lesson in
funk and fun, check out the Regal’s take on “Darktown Strutters
Ball,” with trombonist Sam Venable on raspy lead vocals,
extended trumpet and trombone solos, and band charts that segue
from tight, clipped choruses to the interwoven chaos of the
classic Dixieland sound.
On “All Saints Day,”
the band encounters the longstanding New Orleans tradition of
the funeral dirge, using it as a jumping-off point for mournful
blues soloing before settling into a slinky soul-jazz groove. On
“(We All Scream for) Ice Scream,” call-and-response choruses
traded over a rapid-fire snare-drum beat introduce staccato horn
charts and a snazzy electric-guitar solo that make the tune’s
rebounding rhythms the focus of pure musical fun.
Both “Glory, Glory”
and Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” feature the
multi-part, cascading ensemble playing that marks the best New
Orleans brass music, with one horn line sliding under another,
while the musicians, in complete control, quite simply rock
their souls to musical heaven.
funkified ensemble arrangements, and highspirited good times –
welcome to New Orleans brass band music, Regal Jazz Band style.