Key players in the contemporary New Orleans brass band scene, the Soul Rebels add their own special flavor to the jazz and funk melange cooked up by older brass band cohorts such as Rebirth and the Dirty Dozen. The Rebels are a nine-piece ensemble that uses traditional brass band instrumentation (tuba, bass and snare drums, two trombones, two saxophones, and two trumpets) to combine New Orleans parade marches, swing, calypso, reggae, hardcore funk, rap, and hip-hop into its unique sound.
LET YOUR MIND BE FREE, the group's first offering, captures a healthy slice of the Rebels' collaborative, improvisatory energy while showcasing their ability to bridge genres. Everything makes its way into the mix, including Latin shuffle ("Culture in the Ghetto"), and jazz from the canon (a cover of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints"); even "Also Sprach Zarathustra," the theme from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, gets a funk treatment. Rocksteady island rhythms ("L.O.V.E. U") churn alongside streetwise jams such as "Flowing and Flying" and "Black Juke," which feature raps courtesy of snare drummer Lumar Leblanc. As the irresistible title cut claims, music is a force for personal and cultural liberation, and the Rebels' highly original, danceable brew employs that force to powerful effect.