Release Date: Jan 31, 2012
Record label: Rounder
Genre(s): Jazz, Funk, Pop/Rock, New Orleans Brass Bands, New Orleans Jazz
I love horn sections. I hope that I will be a horn player in a next life, or, at the very least, a saxophone repair man. Where have horns gone in popular music? They were a staple of rock, pop, funk, and soul through the ‘70s. They are guaranteed to add pizzazz to a live performance. But they ….
Described as "the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong," the eight-piece Soul Rebels Brass Band have played a pivotal role in keeping the New Orleans jazz sound alive. Jazz purists may balk at the playful cover of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," which substitutes the original's pulsing electro beats and stark synths for some Latino percussion and vibrant reggae horns, and the laid-back A Tribe Called Quest-esque raps that permeate the likes of the hip-hop-tinged "My Time" and the vintage funk of "I Made It. " But as support slots with acts as varied as James Brown, Green Day, and Fugees would suggest, Soul Rebels Brass Band aren't exactly a traditional jazz band.
Anyone who heard the Soul Rebels Brass Band play the 2010 London Jazz festival won't need reminding of the jubilant charisma of this New Orleans ensemble, and the impact of its mix of the rootsiest early jazz with hip-hop, funk, ska and R&B. The Soul Rebels return to the LJF next month, promoting the more vocals-angled music from this party-powered album – equally effervescent guests include singer/drummer Cyril Neville, former Lenny Kravitz sideman Trombone Shorty, and Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli. You won't find complicated, destination-disguising improvisations here, but a jazz spirit inspires the group, and their raw power is pretty faithfully caught on disc.
You may be hard pressed to hear a more vibrant, life-affirming record this year. Daryl Easlea 2011 Described by Village Voice as the "missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong," The Soul Rebels Brass Band, as you would imagine, encapsulate a hip hop sensibility while paying full respect to the brass band tradition from which they come. Led by Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, the New Orleans-based eight-piece produce funky, horn-driven music that immediately invites the listener to party.
They've been a band for almost 20 years, but only recently have New Orleans' Soul Rebels gained a reputation outside of Louisiana. Unlock Your Mind digitizes an earnest representation of what the eight-piece brass band can do, although it isn't disrespectful to say they're better appreciated onstage. Guest turns from NOLA stars including Trombone Shorty, Leo Nocentelli of the Meters, and ex-local Cyril Neville brighten what's already an adventurous mix of traditional brass band jazz with reggae, go-go, rap, and even bounce.