Bonerama

Bringing It Home

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Bringing It Home Review

by William Ruhlmann

Bonerama, the New Orleans horn band boasting four trombones, seems to have tired of beginning its album titles with the word "Live" (Live at the Old Point, Live from New York), so the group's third album is not called "Live from Tipitina's" even though it is; it's called Bringing It Home, which is also accurate, since Bonerama was formed at Tipitina's nightclub in New Orleans in 1998. If the Dirty Dozen Brass Band revised notions about a horn outfit's sound and repertoire, Bonerama takes those revisions a step further. Its ensemble sound sometimes suggests the rock group Chicago and sometimes a small, well-rehearsed college marching band. Although many of the tunes are originals by the bandmembers, the selections that stand out are the surprising covers, such as Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean" and two songs from the Beatles The White Album, "Yer Blues" and "Helter Skelter." The arrangements replace some of the guitar parts with horn parts, naturally, but the influence of classic rock, particularly of Jimi Hendrix, remains in guitarist Bert Cotton's acid-tinged lead work. To demonstrate its jazz chops, Bonerama also turns in a strong cover of Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy." Yet for all this eclecticism, the group remains at its core a New Orleans horn band, and by the end of the set it has evoked Louis Armstrong and the Meters before ending with a hidden track that is a musical commercial for another city nightspot, all of which confirms that the group's decision to keep recording live albums, especially at its home base, is a good one.

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