January 18, 2005

"Deal With This" (Ramsey)
Stooges Brass Band, from It's About Time, The Gruve, 2003

Time's up, deal with it.

Well, it wouldn’t be Carnival time, or much of any other time in New Orleans, without some brass band sounds and parades. On Saturday, my wife and I are going to one in NOLA put on by the Krewe du Vieux (this year’s theme: What Would Krewe du Vieux Do?), which is an “unofficial” Carnival (dis)organization made up of a very loose confederation of 19 smaller renegade sub-krewes. We have friends in one of those called Krewe de CRAPS. Anyway, each krewe in KdV is parading with a brass band – so that’s 19 different brass bands blowing out the funked up march rhythms along the route. Should be totally outrageous. The Stooges Brass Band are part of that, rollin’ with the Drips and Discharges krewe (I’m guessing these could be nurses. . . or patients).

In the dynamic, competitive, street level world of brass bands, the Stooges Brass Band bring a fresh feel to their music. “Deal With This” has a distinctive Afro-Cuban or even Afro-Beat vibe, which conjures up the hometown deep roots with an insistent, captivating groove. In fact, the whole CD bucks and jumps with fire and passionate playing that rivals other brass bands with many more years on the march and CDs in their press kits.

Starting out as teenagers in the mid-1990’s, the former Lil’ Stooges Brass Band have grown up immersed in this music, a tradition wholly unique to New Orleans that goes back over a century now. Each new band brings it’s own flavor to the festivities. That’s why I look forward to that parade extravaganza this weekend as a chance to catch nearly twenty brass bands full of veterans and rookies laying down an off da hook second line soundtrack. If we’re still standing after that, the big Krewe du Vieux Doo later with Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen should ice the thing. I can deal with it.

Mardi Gras Music


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