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Smoking New Orleans brass band,
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This review is from: Rebirth of New Orleans (Audio CD)
I bought this CD as a present for my father and he insisted that I borrow it as the music was so good. Although I have heard a French brass ensemble perform a lot of this music with enthusiastic gusto in a live setting on numerous occasions, there is an energy and robustness about Rebirth which , in my opinion, leaves their competitors standing. As much as I love the work of the other New Orleans Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen, Rebirth's music is far earthier and definately seems to take it's cues from the musics that eminate from the street. There is an an element of this band being extremely loose but this is countered by some of the most infectious grooves you can hear in jazz in 2011. Although the anticedents of Rebirth go right back to the very origins of jazz itself, this feels far more contemporary and authentic than anything Wynton Marsalis has produced. In fact, Rebirth are the antithesis of Wynton's more cold approach to jazz heritage, refracting the music into something that is living and of it's time. They sound different from the kind of revivalist jazz you hear but the likes of Papa Celestin would immediately recognise this as his kind of music.
Until the mid-60's when the likes of Lester Bowie and Albert Ayler started to show an interest in more archaic forms of jazz, the history of the music had tended to see a change to a more European and perhaps cerebral approach. Although I am a massive fan of modern jazz, the timbre of early jazz definately help define for me an important ingredient of what the music should be about and wild abandon of Rebirth's playing demonstrates why the best jazz has that degree of abrasiveness that immediately separates jazz from other forms of music. A degree of "dirtiness" within the playing is an essnential component for me, whether it is Louis, Ellington, Ornette or Dave Douglas. The horn players in Rebirth are well versed in the more vocal extremes of the music that were prevalent in the 1920's and have managed to marry this with a predeliction for funky bass lines. Like some of their more illustrious forebears, Rebirth's style of jazz is essentially dance music and where there are vocals (usually by the band members in a call-and-response fashion) the lyrics display the same kind of innuendo of which Jelly Roll Morton would heartily approve.
Generally, I am always on the look-out for new, up and coming jazz musicians and have readily snapped up discs by the likes of Gretchen Parlato, Walter Smith III and Ambrose Akinmusire this year. All of these records have been higely impressive. However, "The Rebirth of New Orelans" ably demonstrates just how you overlook the vitality of more traditional forms of jazz at your peril and I would have no hesitation is classing this brass band disc as one of the best of 2011. Simply put, it is impossible not to be impressed by the vibrant music on this disc. Thoroughly recommended.