Music Review: Rebirth Brass Band, Move Your Body

Published on July 18th, 2014 in: Current Faves |

By Melissa Bratcher


For a band that was founded in 1983, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band sounds amazingly fresh. One of the leading lights of the New Orleans brass band revival (see also: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Hot 8, Soul Rebels), Rebirth hasn’t slowed, hasn’t stopped doing what they do well: making music that makes you move your feet. Or, as it states on the tin, Move Your Body.

Move Your Body is a superb party record. Most tracks feature the ubiquitous call and response of brass band to audience, but the thing that makes Move Your Body so outstanding is the virtuosity of the musicians. The eight members of Rebirth are world-class musicians, and they are joined by a panoply of NOLA’s finest, including Glen David Andrews and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.

The opening track, “Lord, Lord, Lord, You’ve Sure Been Good To Me,” a traditional hymn sung by Glen David Andrews, is a bit of penance before the party begins. There’s a great crispness to the trumpets and Phillip Frazier’s percolating tuba bubbles along delightfully. On its heels is “Rebirth Makes You Dance.” Truth in advertising via song, the sinuous groove swings with blistering drumming (Derrick Tabb on snare is a monster).

It’s impossible to sit still and just listen to the titular track. The trumpets bleat out clarion calls, layered and complex, on the raucous track with Latin-flavored percussion. “Rebirth Groove” has a similar feel with salsa beats over a party-like atmosphere. Rebirth Brass Band takes the classic “Your Mama Don’t Dance” and turns it into a second line rave up with a wailing trumpet solo and fine second line drumming. They take a trip to the islands with “On My Way,” a reggae gem perfect to skank to, with an insistent descending riff. It’s apparent from “On My Way” that Rebirth Brass Band can play anything well.

The steady drive of “Who’s Rockin’, Who’s Rollin’?” amps up the party atmosphere. Even when the song hushes, there are crazy layers of sound with so many things going on musically it’s a bit mind-blowing. The call and response, “Can you tell me where the party at?” “Right here!” is sure to be fun at live shows. “HBNS” sounds so cosmopolitan and elegant, and I can guarantee that you won’t find the acronym in any dictionary.

Rebirth Brass Band has made a fun, exciting record that should help build their audience. On Move Your Body, each song has a bit of brilliance in it: a clever riff, a ripping solo, an unexpected rhythm. It’s accomplished and entertaining and one of the liveliest records of the year.

Move Your Body was released on June 24 through Basin Street Records.

Tour Dates:
7/18 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
7/25 – Cedarburg, WI – Summer Sounds at Cedar Creek Park
7/26 – Evanston, IL – SPACE
8/13 – Trenton, ME – Opera House of Boothbay Harbor
8/14 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
8/15 – Jackson, MS – Jackson Rhythm & Blues Fest
8/16 – Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia Folk Fest

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