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CD REVIEW: The Jambalaya Brass Band - On the Funky Side

by: Cyrus Rhodes



"a real barn burner"





Artist: The Jambalaya Brass Band
On the Funky Side

Label: 890 West Music

Website: http://www.jambalayabrassband.com/

Genre: Pop, Americana, Jazzy Folk, Jam Band, R&B, Funk, Jazz, Zydeco, Latin, Hip Hop

Sounds Like: Maynard Ferguson, The Crusaders, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Atruro Sandoval, Mingus Big Band, GRP all-Star Band

Technical Grade: 10/10

Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Alligator Ball, Hip Hug Her, Salsa 2nd Line

Weakness: None




The Jambalaya Brass Band is New York City's ultimate New Orleans party band. They are available for performances with as few as 5 pieces or as many as 9 pieces. Since 1998 they've been kickin' it hard with a flavor straight from the streets of New Orleans, paying their respects to the unique musical traditions of New Orleans incorporating a special blend of R & B, Funk, Gospel Traditional Jazz, Zydeco, Latin, Hip Hop and Be-Bop. They will take you on a historical journey through the New Orleans brass band tradition. It is a joyous romp starting from the early beginnings with Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong and ending up with their own modern sounds influenced by the Rebirth, Dirty Dozen and New Birth brass bands. Members include: Members Ric Frank-tenor sax, percussion and vocals Steve Gluzband-trumpet, percussion and vocals Curtis Fowlkes-trombone, percussion and vocals Ralph Hamperian-souzaphone Chauncey Yearwood-bass drum and cymbal Kevin Raczka-snare drum.


The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with "Voodoo Queen” a slamming intro piece that serves up slamming Horn section meshed against intoxicating bass groove, effective harmonies and soulful musical flow. Track 2 “Jambalaya Brass’ keeps things moving in the right direction with slamming groove, steady flowing rhythm, well placed chops painted against a hooky vocal finale making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3 “Alligator Ball” dishes out another impressive jazzy-groove that serves up rock steady rhythm, impressive and thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved in world class. I would classify this music as classic elements of Traditional Jazz, Zydeco, Latin, Hip Hop and Be-Bop with brief touches of Jam Band, R&B to Psychedelic Funk of the 70’s. Music is reminiscent of classic Maynard Ferguson, The Crusaders, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Atruro Sandoval, The Crusaders, Mingus Big Band and the GRP all-Star Band. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive horn section, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, sporadic percussion, vocal harmonies all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to this band as a whole - as for their writing and playing abilities every member has an equal contribution. Playing by all involved is hot to the touch and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with an atmosphere that will get you moving and grooving. I might add all players, especially solo sections showcase impressive risks indicating to me a confident playing ability. Yes there are even vocals and a few vocal harmonies. Did I mention these guys can make their brass talk like nobody’s business. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - world class songwriting. This CD from The Jambalaya Brass Band entitled "On the Funky Side" is just that - and delivers 10 rock solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of The Jambalaya Brass Band has everything you would expect and more from a world class musical project that is popular and simply electric. From grooving “Hip Hug Her” to Spicy Caribbean style “Salsa 2nd Line” ” to jumping “Blackbird Special” and Do It Fluid” to methodical “Bayou Mama” to melodic “What You Lookin’ at” to swinging” Bayou Mama”  this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “On the Funky Side” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.  


I wish there were 2-3 ,more tracks on the CD to make this a fully loaded CD relapse.   


From start to finish “On the Funky Side” by The Jambalaya Brass Band is real barn burner. It's an amazing collection of music that shows why these cats are so popular. The songwriting – the gold standard, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of all involved are rock solid. The melodies and solos are well crafted, and the musical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred R&B-Jazz-Americana swagger. At the end of the day these guys bring the mojo and are a marquee band out of New York.


Cyrus Rhodes

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