Music » Livewire

ReBirth Brass Band

Thursday, September 15, at the Beachland Tavern.


For 22 years, the ReBirth Brass Band has been one of New Orleans' musical treasures. As teenagers, its members began playing for tips on Jackson Square and Bourbon Street, before they became the band of choice for Social Aid & Pleasure Club parades. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was ReBirth's main inspiration, but through the years it has made the traditional music exponentially more funky, sexy, and infectious.

ReBirth founder Philip "Tuba Love" Frazier is the Bootsy Collins of brass. With his brother Keith on bass drum and Derrick Tabb manning the snare, ReBirth burps and thumps out an inimitable rhythm that could come only from New Orleans. Two trombones, two trumpets, and a saxophone are the backbone of the sound. The sum is a kinetic alchemy that's black, street, and proud.

In a program book for the legendary Montreaux Jazz Fest in Switzerland, the fest's producers declared that "God, in his great clemency, created Earth, Louis Armstrong, the Neville Brothers, and ReBirth." If that sounds strong, you've probably never seen the band on its home turf. There, ReBirth holds court in a sea of frantic dancers, who writhe and step as though possessed. On tour, the band recreates this scene all over the world.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it's no small miracle that every member managed to escape the wrath of the storm. Extraordinary efforts were made to locate each other, assemble, and honor the group's fall tour, even though they're uncertain of the fate of loved ones. All these cats can do is tour -- and they've literally gone through hell and high water to get here. Want to contribute directly to the relief effort? Come to the show. You'll see why the City That Care Forgot is absolutely worth remembering.

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