Keeping the Beat on the Street: The New Orleans Brass Band Renaissance

Keeping the Beat on the Street: The New Orleans Brass Band Renaissance

by Mick Burns
     
 

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Told in the words of the musicians themselves, Keeping the Beat on the Street celebrates the renewed passion and pageantry among black brass bands in New Orleans. Mick Burns introduces the people who play the music and shares their insights, showing why New Orleans is the place where jazz continues to grow. Brass bands waned during the civil rights era but

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Overview

Told in the words of the musicians themselves, Keeping the Beat on the Street celebrates the renewed passion and pageantry among black brass bands in New Orleans. Mick Burns introduces the people who play the music and shares their insights, showing why New Orleans is the place where jazz continues to grow. Brass bands waned during the civil rights era but revived around 1970 and then flourished in the 1980s when the music became cool with the younger generation. In the only book to cover this revival, Burns interviews members from a variety of bands, including the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen, Tuba Fats' Chosen Few, and the Rebirth Brass Band. He captures their thoughts about the music, their careers, audiences, influences from rap and hip-hop, the resurgence of New Orleans social and pleasure clubs and second lines, traditional versus funk style, recording deals, and touring. For anyone who loves jazz and the city where it was born, Keeping the Beat on the Street is a book to savor.

"We should be grateful to Mick Burns for undertaking the task of producing... the only book to cover the subject of what he rightly calls the brass band renaissance." -- New Orleans Music

"A welcome look at the history of brass bands. These oral histories provide a valuable contribution to New Orleans musical history.... What shines through the musicians' words is love of craft, love of culture." -- New Orleans Times-Picayune

"A seminal work about the Brass Bands of New Orleans." -- Louisiana Libraries

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to Burns, jazz musician and author of The Great Olympia Band, African-American brass bands, which date back to the 1870s, "still provide a crucible for the seemingly inexhaustible supply of creative fire that is New Orleans music." He specifically addresses the resurgence of the brass band scene over the past 30 years, interviewing key musicians and other players and presenting their first-person accounts in sections titled "Band Call." Together these stories weave a loose history of the music and the social club scene that has traditionally sustained it, charting the rise of youth bands in the 1970s, the huge success of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in the '80s and international interest that continues today. Many musicians start with the New Orleans address where they were born and recall local heroes and rehearsals in nearby garages, showing the vibrancy of brass band music to those who play it and its importance to New Orleans life. The book was completed before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and the disaster's implications are not considered in the text, though it is clear that the music and the city are inextricably entwined, making this retrospective as poignant as it is informative. Photos. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Writer and jazz musician Burns provides an oral history of the burgeoning number of brass bands in New Orleans over the last 30 years. In his introduction, he outlines the growth of New Orleans social clubs (60 at last count), which created the need for brass bands at their anniversary parades and funerals. He convincingly demonstrates the evolution of the music with such groups as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Rebirth Brass Band, which have kept alive yet modernized the century-long tradition. The bulk of the book is made up of nearly 20 revealing interviews with some of the main players in the brass band renaissance: local jazz legend Danny Barker; reed man Joe Torregano; trumpeters Leroy Jones, Blodie Davis, and Gregg Stafford; and drummer Benny Jones. Historians Tad Jones and Jerry Brock and community leader Jerome Smith are also featured. Overall, Burns delivers an appealing personal view of a neglected jazz subgenre, which one hopes will survive Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. Recommended for jazz buffs.-Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807155837
Publisher:
Louisiana State University Press
Publication date:
02/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
216
File size:
4 MB

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