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ReBirth Brass Band

ReBirth Brass Band

To most Americans, a brass band is what they see in that car commercial-somber men in black suits, white gloves, white Salvation Army hats, brass horns and a bass drum, playing a desultory, unison dirge duet with their feet, lumbering to a New Orleans graveyard. Sorry…that’s old school. The real edge is cut by the children of the revolutionary Dirty Dozen Brass Band (the first brass band to leave the streets and cold-rock the house with jazz and funk back in ’81): crews like ReBirth Brass Band.

The Dirty Dozen inspired a new generation who had the second line in their blood and “paartay” in their souls. In 1983, Philip Frazier, a tuba-playing junior at Joseph S. Clark High School, heeded the call and formed the ReBirth Brass Band with his brother Keith (bass drum) and John Gilbert (sax). “The Dirty Dozen, that’s my role model,” says Philip. “Basically ReBirth started out as a project in the French Quarter for tips, out of love.” By the end of the decade, ReBirth was making far more than mere “tips.” Weathered by the harsh streets, ReBirth’s fierce blend of hard second line beats, ’70s R&B/funk grooves and go-go swing made them the hometown sound of choice. Adds Frazier, “I knew it was time to get a little serious, to take it to another level.” The next level was national tours and a recording contract with Rounder Records.

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