By Allison Duggan, Label Manager
Featured image: Rebirth Brass Band
At age 13, I switched from orchestra to percussion. My reasonings were that I was sick of violin, and knew my orchestra teacher in high school was not going to be able to train me in cello (I still look back, daydreaming the “what if’s” of such a majestic instrument). Also, I still needed to be just like my sister, and be a badass percussionist.
At age 14, I was told that I was not at the level to continue through high school (womp womp), and that was when I switched to bassoon and saxophone. It was an exciting time, new instruments, new exposure to learning, but I still missed playing the drums (even though, let’s face it, I was not the best of players). Years later though, I was able to get back into a grooving spot, and joined a ska/punk band called Eli Whitney and the Sound Machine, now known as Cold Wrecks. It was a blast! I was making my own
solos as a saxophonist, we were making amazing beats, and I watched my bandmates flourish after I left the band for school (could be a ska song, right?!)
My history of my music made me fall in love with the sounds and movement of brass and percussion playing in a Jazz-like style. I always wished there would be something out there, or someone, that would create live brass bands in NYC.
Well, my dreams came true!
Seeing them live is like seeing a jazz band: all band mates have that professional, yet cool sway to the way they play. They also incorporate live video of someone playing the exact video game that they are performing! Cool, Right? Here is my favorite track from Consoul: Baba Yetu:
Want more? Come see them perform with Saniyé on June 3rd at Nublu in NYC!
Another amazing brass band is something from New Orleans. Christmas lights all over their instruments, choreography, marching through the crowd. Funkrust Brass Band is something that is up on the rise, in which you need to attend! With their latest LP release, Dark City, the band has created an 80s funk sound mixed with a jazz/South American beat. While attending their show, I was amazed on how well they perform with the crowd, even when marching through the packed room. They made eye contact, they played and danced. Hereis one of my favorite tracks, their title track from Dark City, “Dark City”:
Want more? Check out their tour dates, and see if you are in the area!
A great brass band to check out if you like to dance! Raya Brass Band is a band that will make you groove your socks off in the stylings of Balkan tradition. Playing together for almost 10 years, this band has made an impact to brass music in NYC, and continues to get the crowd rocking, and most importantly, on their feet dancing. Here is a great song p”Cucek na Sudahan”, performed at the Golden Festival:
Want more? Check them out at Three’s Brewing in Brooklyn on June 1st!
This movement of brass bands has been making many people of different backgrounds feel their music, and also perform in non-traditional brass theaters. You can find the tubas barely touching the ceilings of dive bars, see these bands playing and dancing around parks, and hey, you can even catch them at restaurants. The movement of brass bands in NYC keeps on growing, so go find one and find a buddy, it is time to move!