Live Concert Photography: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Cha Wa and Butcher Brown at Brooklyn Bowl 2/28/19
Currently comprised of founding members Gregory Davis (trumpet, vocals) Roger Lewis (baritone sax, soprano sax, vocals) Kirk Joseph (sousaphone) and Kevin Harris (tenor sax, vocals) along with TJ Norris (trombone, vocals), Julian Addison (drums, vocals) and Takeshi Shimmura (guitar), the critically acclaimed, multi-Grammy Award-nominated, New Orleans-based act The Dirty Dozen Brass Band grew out of Danny Barker‘s youth music program at Fairview Baptist Church. In 1972 Barker started the Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band as a way to provide the area’s young people with a positive outlet for their energies.
The Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band achieved enough local popularity that it eventually transformed into a professional act, the Hurricane Brass Band, led by trumpeter Leroy Jones. Sadly by 1976, gigs and opportunities for brass bands were drying up; Jones left the band to play mainstream jazz and after a brief period as the Tornado Brass Band, the act broke up.
Interestingly, a few of the musicians from the Tornado Brass Band — Gregory Davis (trumpet), Kirk Joseph (sousaphone), Charles Joseph (trombone) and Kevin Harris (saxophone) continued to rehearse and jam together into 1977. They recruited Efrem Townes (trumpet, vocals), Roger Lewis (saxophone) and Benny Jones (drums) and Jenell Marshall (drums) to complete the band’s initial lineup. As a result of brass band music’s waning popularity in their hometown, they began to incorporate a wide range of styles and genres including bebop, jazz standards, funk and even TV theme songs into the New Orleans jazz style.
Throughout a number of lineup changes, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band have become an influential standard bearer on New Orleans’ music scene — and the leaders of the city’s brass band renaissance. The legendary and influential New Orleans brass band headlined a Mardi Gras themed show at Brooklyn Bowl with fellow Crescent City Mardi Gras Indian funk act Cha Wa and Richmond, VA-based jazz and funk act Butcher Brown. Check out photos from the show below.
Currently comprised of founding member and bandleader Joe Gelini, along with Spyboy J’Wan Boudreaux, Second Chief Joseph Boudreaux, Ari “Gato” Teitel, Joseph “Jose” Maize, Clifton “Spug” Smith, Aurelien Barnes, Eric “Bogey” Gordon, Edward “Juicey” Jackson and Haruka Kikuchi, the New Orleans-based, Grammy Award-nominated Mardi Gras Indian funk band Cha Wa derives their name from a slang phrase used by Mardi Gras Indian tribes the tmeans “we’re comin’ for ya” or “here we come.”
The band can trace their origins back to 2014 when Gelini was first introduced to the Mardi Gras Indian tradition while he was attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Interestingly enough, while attending Berklee, Gelini caught a performance of New Orleans-born, jazz drummer Idris Muhammad, who was performing in a traditional Mardi Gras style, which piqued Gelini’s interest. As the story goes, Muhammad gave Gelini a lesson in Mardi Gras style drumming, which influenced Gelini to relocate to New Orleans after graduation.
Gelini became involved in the Mardi Gras Indian community, eventually attending rehearsals for Mardi Gras marches. At those practices, he met Monk Boudreaux, Big Chief of the Golden Eagles and one of the city’s most widely known and popular Mardi Gras Indian vocalists — and interestingly enough, he’s the grandfather of Cha Wa’s frontman J’Wan Boudreaux. Unsurprisingly, Gelini’s practice sessions alongside the elder Boudreaux quickly turned into live shows with him.
Gelini met J’Wan Boudreaux while the younger Boudreaux while he was still attending high school; but shortly after, J’Wan joined the band as their frontman. Since then, the members of the band have developed a reputation for a sound and aesthetic that meshes their city’s Mardi Gras Indian traditions and the area’s long-held reputation for rhythm and blues and funk, while releasing two full-length albums, 2016’s Funk ‘N’ Feathers and last year’s Grammy Award-nominated Spyboy.
Opening the night was the Richmond, VA-based jazz/jazz fusion/funk act Butcher Brown, which is comprised of Marcus Tenney, Morgan Burrs, Corey Fonville, Andrew Randazzo, and DJ Harrison.