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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, October 21

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Concert Wed Jun 20 2007

Y'all Feel Like Funkin' It Up?

Let's talk about some prototypical "booty bass" stuff, if not about the key ingredients of almost everything that's now considered funky. By that I mean that special punch of the drum and wobble of bass that dutifully informs you that your ass is meant for greater things than just sittin' on. If any city can claim proprietorship over funk, it's New Orleans. That beat was very much there in the Crescent City's insular r&b scene throughout the 1950s and '60s, rooted in early jazz and blues and then reanimated years later via the sampler in hip-hop. And if you've been down there and you went to the right (meaning: local, non-touristy) places where the younger brass bands play, then you know it continues to thrive and evolve and move people to this day.

The native N.O. version of it is unmistakable, as are the moves that go with it. When it starts up, you can pick out the born-and-bred locals by how they automatically respond to the rhythm—instinctively sinking into a stance that involves a certain splay of the feet and crook of the knees, followed by a distinctly indigenous sway and bounce of the hips that intensifies as the band works its way into full swing mode. And while it may be something of an epiphany to some that a tuba (a tuba!) could get a roomful of rumps to shaking, anyone who's experienced any of this first-hand can verify it as fact. That's one of the reasons that the guys in the Rebirth Brass Band call their tuba player Philip Frazier "The Staple."

The other being that Frazier founded the group way back when. Like all such bands in New Orleans, the Rebirth Brass Band came about from a convergence of young street musicians who were looking to make their own contribution to the tradition yet update it and make it their own. They took the new-breed thing over from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and brought it even closer to the corner, funking the tradition up further by mixing the homebrewed swing with the reconstituted bump of James Brown, The Meters, P-Funk, and the like.

Most of the members were literally kids when the band first started touring and recording, some of them barely into their early teens. (When I first saw them in 1990, the bass drummer's head was scarcely visible over the top of his kit.) It's been nearly 25 years, and the long-term members are all a good bit older, considerably more seasoned as musicians and party-starters, and even more definitive in how they lay it down. And while a good many like-minded brethren like the Soul Rebels and New Birth Brass Bands have since stepped up to follow their lead and give the music their own unique spin, Rebirth remain the standard bearer after all these years. They still kick it freewheelingly loud, loose, and raucous.

The Rebirth Brass Band is in Chicago this weekend to play a pair of shows at Martyrs' this weekend. Friday night's billing looks to be the killer, with the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International filling the opening slot. On Saturday, MWC take the drivers seat first. 3855 N. Lincoln. Friday & Saturday nights, 10pm. Tickets are $15 for each show.

[video]: Rebirth Brass Band - "Live in Coral Gables, FL"
[mp3]: Rebirth Brass Band - "Are You With Me?" (live, with Fred Wesley)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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