various artists,
New Orleans Brass
(Putumayo, 2007)

Did you make it to Mardi Gras this year? I did, although I never left Pennsylvania to get there. All it took was slipping New Orleans Brass into the stereo, and Bourbon Street materialized around me in all its festive splendor.

New Orleans Brass is another fine offering from Putumayo, the world music label you want scouring the Earth to find the finest in ethnic and geo-specific sounds. In this case, New Orleans was the destination, and just shy of a dozen brass bands -- some with singers, some without -- fill the streets with that distinctive joyful sound.

March along with James and Troy Andrews for a "Bourbon Street Parade." Try out your footwork with the Yockamo All-Stars on "Blow, Blow Tenor" and Leroy Jones on "Whoopin' Blues." Just try to keep still when John Boutte sings "I'll Fly Away," Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews takes a "Dreamboat" and Glen Andrews and the Lazy Six stake their claim "Over in Gloryland." Dr. John joins the Dirty Dozen Brass Band for "It's All Over Now" and Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown teams up with Bob French's Original Tuxedo Jazz Band for a little "St. James Infirmary Blues." The Preservation Hall Hot 4 cry out for "Dinah" while the Kermit Ruffians take the "Treme Second Line." And how could the Dukes of Dixieland end the proceedings with anything but a blast of "Saints"?

This is irresistable stuff, and you'll only need to listen for a few moments before you're breaking out your beads and your mouth is watering for a little post-Katrina cuisine. So, unless you can make it down to New Orleans sometime soon, bring the city's signature festival atmosphere to you with some New Orleans Brass. Man, those horns do blow.

review by
Tom Knapp

1 March 2008

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