Rebirth of New Orleans
Basin Street Records
When hearing the tumbling, staggered horns and propulsive, jagged drumming of a New Orleans brass band, anyone with affection for the Crescent City’s music is liable to book the next available flight. By that measure, Rebirth of New Orleans does what it ought to do.
Rebirth, Tuesday-night regulars at the venerable Maple Leaf Bar in the group’s hometown, has created an impressive body of work and become an internationally known entity, touring the globe, collaborating with high-profile artists and launching several members, including Kermit Ruffins, into successful careers beyond Rebirth. The group, organized in 1983 by Ruffins and brothers Philip and Keith Frazier, sounds newly invigorated on its latest, its first for Basin Street and a break from the hard-edged rap and raunch of such efforts as 2001’s Hot Venom.
Like Rebirth’s spontaneous-feeling shows, the CD, produced by Tracey Freeman (Ruffins, Harry Connick Jr.) is a little all over the place, and that’s mostly a good thing. The band jumps from the vintage good-time vibe of “Exactly Like You,” a Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh chestnut sung here by trombonist Stafford Agee, to the punchy syncopations and naughty lyrics of the Philip Frazier-Glen Andrews original “I Like It Like That.” The first single, “Do It Again,” is a rambunctious rallying cry for the New Orleans Saints, underscored by tenor saxophonist Vincent Broussard’s soloing. Mardi Gras Indian Chief Black Feather (Lionel Delpit) takes the mic for the Wild Magnolias’ “Let’s Go Get ’Em,” and the band sings the praises of a local delicacy on Dave Bartholomew’s Latin-tinged “Shrimp and Gumbo.” Throw in several more originals and a Jermaine Jackson cover, “Feelin’ Free,” and you’ve got a Rebirth sampler. Enjoy.