A revolution in New
Orleans music occurred in the 1980s as the Dirty Dozen Brass
Band emerged from playing neighborhood clubs and backstreet
parades to garner national and international attention. The
Dirty Dozen, formed by a collection of like-minded young
musicians, revived the concept of the New Orleans neighborhood
brass band, but with a freedom to re-interpret classic numbers,
incorporate new compositions, and absorb diverse influences.
The Dirty Dozen’s
success encouraged a whole new generation of young New
Orleanians to embrace the brass band format and traditional
repertoire as means of expressing a wholly modern sensibility.
The Mahogany Brass Band, under the leadership of trumpeter Brice
Miller, is one of the most creative, lively, and accomplished of
this new, younger generation.
Opening and closing
with a pair of gospel numbers (a medley with The Gospel
Dedicators on the one hand, and “Bye and Bye” on the other), the
band takes on selections that include classic jazz (“Baby Face,”
“Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?”), Dirty Dozen
tributes (“Blackbird Special,” “Night Train”), and traditional
brass band repertoire (“I Scream, You Scream”).
They also offer
superbly rendered dirges (“Amazing Grace,” “St. James
Infirmary”), re-imagined classics (“St. Louis Blues” with a
Latin beat), and a tribute to the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian
tradition (“Indians Jumping on Fire”).
musicianship and infectious enthusiasm, the Mahogany Brass Band
is helping to write a brand new chapter in the annals of New
Orleans brass band music.