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New Orleans’ Treme Brass Band: Crowded House

New Orleans' Treme Brass Band

Everybody knows everybody at the Candle Light Lounge, the Wednesday night headquarters of the Treme Brass Band. When the group strikes up at the small, down-home New Orleans bar, located in the heart of the Treme neighborhood, it often looks more like an orchestra than a brass band. Sometimes as many as 15 musicians swell its ranks, with old friends and eager young musicians stopping by to sit in.

Benny Jones Sr. and Lionel Batiste are more than simply the leader and assistant leader of the Treme Brass Band. They stand at the core of the New Orleans brass band community and historically and spiritually represent the neighborhood from which the group takes its moniker. Jones, the mild-mannered snare-man, and Batiste, the ever-jovial bass drummer and vocalist known affectionately by all as Uncle Lionel, grew up in the musically rich Treme. Since childhood they’ve been active in the area’s diverse goings-on: jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure club parades and Mardi Gras Indian and Black Carnival activities.

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