Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wish I Had a Brass Band

Sometimes I fantasize about putting together an amazing festival of brass bands. A whole weekend of instrument cases and tubas laying about, players warming up in the bathrooms and hallway and lots of folks in stocking caps on stage at once. Ooh, and what would the afterparty jams be like?!!

So I was driving my sister around Milwaukee this afternoon, going to pick up amazing take out from the always reliable Bombay Sweets. I got to pick the tunes, so I was doing the "No, listen to to this bit, right here" to her with last year's Kocani Orkestar disc The Ravished Bride. There is a chorus in "Papigo" where the joy of big band brass harmonies just rings through and I have to sing along, and      ...well, she said it was OK, but watch my driving because it's only 35 mph on 13th St.   


So yeah, Kocani gets my vote for the classic Balkan Brass band slot. Not as slick and showy perhaps as Fanfare Ciocarlia, but way more tubas. Boban Markovic Orkestar would be a close second. (Anybody remember that Wednesday night a few years back when Boban and the boys about blew the Cedar walls down? I have a hazy recollection of Serbian U students carrying each other aaround of their shoulders while pounding Beck's. A good time was had by all.) Uh oh jeez, what about Mahala Rai Banda? They have the perfect combo of older generation horns with hip youngster clarinet, percussion and vocals.  Their 2004 debut disc was SO great and they finally have a follow up coming soon. Ths category is difficult for me...

In the category of irreverent Eastern Euro mix and match, it would have to be my Hungarian bad boy favs, Besh O droM. Imagine the irreverence and "try anything once" attitude of say, Brave Combo in an 8 piece brass band with trad percussion and drum kit, plus a nimble bassist. Yah. Go there.
Now in the funky/ soul category I would not go for the obvious choice of one of the many fine New Orleans second line brass bands. Nope, I'd head north all the way to Staten Island to bring home the Budos Band. They can do Afrobeat, they can get funky, the organ player can go soulful or's all there. Looks like they just put out an EP of unreleased material from their first Daptones records disc.

Check out the Budos guys doing "Up from the South" at the Southpaw in Brooklyn a couple of years ago.  So tasty!
What category do we put Nomo in? Lower Michigan homemade-junk-gamelon-sampling loops avant funk with Afrobeat drumming. Probably the band on this list most likely to actually appear at the Cedar. But this is my imaginary festival, and I'm dreamin' big.

Nomo falls in behind the amped and effect-ed thumb piano.

In the really what-the-heck-do-we-call-it category, I gotta bring in those Finnish madmen in Alamaailman Vasarat. See blog post a couple weeks ago (July 12) for more info and a review of their most recent disc. They swing, they groove, they change tempo, key and genre unpredictably, they have the E flat Tubax and they are mighty frisky while doing all that.

And they won't let this poor guy eat his chips in peace in this old (and retro looking) vid.

We get a marching band, of course. I'd like to bring in Portland's March Fourth marching band because they are crazy bad asses with costumes, a drum major, a complete drum line, fire twirlers and a marching bass player.

Here's a fun 9 minute TV feature made on the March Forth gang a few years ago.

Because od wood and brass really can beat the shiz out of modern day instruments, to quote Alamaailman Vasarat.

What do you mean you never dream about stuff like your own brass band festival? Clearly you were never in marching band.  ( Or watched all the extras in Drum Line. )


Mr. Wrolstadley said...

War by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble:

Angel of Rock said...

Great post. I would come to your festival, E Dub.

And great video, Mr. Wrolstadley. Love the flash of Horrace Silver's "Song for my Father." One of my favorites.