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The Soul Rebels: Unlock Your Mind

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Some New Orleans brass bands have tradition on their side, and some have youth, audacity and seemingly boundless energy. The Soul Rebels fall into the latter category, reveling in a party mix of funk, jazz, pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, rap, dance hall, bounce, Caribbean and marching-band sounds. Unlock Your Mind isn’t merely the title of the group’s national debut release, it’s a mission statement.

Sure, the Rebels’ obvious crossover appeal will seem more than a tad calculated to some, but this Crescent City octet isn’t inclined to pay much mind. Indeed, the Soul Rebels are nothing if not zealous in their pursuit of a good time, stoked by an unusually wide array of influences. When the band chants “We Gon’ Take Your Body,” it ain’t just whistlin’ “Dixie,” and when it riffs on tunes composed by Allen Toussaint (“Night People”), Stevie Wonder (“Living for the City”) and the Meters’ Leo Nocentelli (“Say Na Hey”), the performances are similarly persuasive.

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