Treme Brass Band

Gimme My Money Back

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The ebullient beat of the street can be heard on the Treme Brass Band's CD Gimme My Money Back. One of the nouveau brass bands to come up in the city of New Orleans under the encouragement of the late, great Danny Barker, the Treme Brass Band embodies the un-self-conscious joy of their neighborhood. The Treme is an area known for its vibrant people, full of fun and music. The Treme Brass Band's first CD exemplifies that spirit in their renderings of both original and traditional compositions. Led by maestro Lionel Batiste on drums and vocals, the band features such luminaries as Kermit Ruffins and James Andrews on trumpets, along with lesser-known but very talented musicians. Together, they put together a sound that can only come from the Big Easy. The music centers on that syncopated beat for which the city's music is known. In brass band fashion, that beat is created not only by the drum, but the tubas as well, here played by Jeffrey Hills and Kirk Joseph. Alto, soprano, and tenor saxophones; trumpets; and trombones trade out licks to create the unique dissonance of the brass band idiom. The title cut of the CD is a perfect expression of the streetwise sensibility of the band, as Andrews -- known as the Satchmo of the ghetto -- laments the inner city ethic: "Rob, steal, get yourself killed over a 50 dollar bill." Batiste, who brings some age and seasoning to the otherwise young group, shines on such traditional brass band hymns as "Jesus Is on the Main Line" and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." But tradition meets contemporary in the art of the Treme Brass Band: they play the old gospel tunes like they have never been played before. It is feel-good music, and when the band dishes up their "Back o Town Blues," you've been there and you're feeling good.

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