The Soul Rebels

More Jams from No More Parades

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Well, there must be an original CD called "No More Parades" out there since this is a collection of alternate remixes and five previously unreleased tracks by the most lauded New Orleans brass band since Rebirth, with no musician credits. While the Soul Rebels seem intent on offering a serious music and message alternative to the jump up energy of its predecessors, the band unfortunately loses some of the frenzied flavor that can make the genre so exciting.

The almost timbales rhythm feel kicking off "Roy's Har-groove" is the first signal they're aiming beyond mere street parade celebration. The tune by the jazz trumpeter puts more emphasis on the harmonic blend in the horns; a trait that continues on "We Be Rollin'," a hip-hop-ish call to arms with an Afrocentric base.

The Soul Rebels mostly eschew rhythm & riff power for trumpet/trombone dominance, a tuba providing foundation, and a few jumps to upper-register blurts. The sax is generally discreet -- no deadly Dirty Dozen Brass Band tandem riff machines here -- and the cymbals generally aim for jazz swing more than brass band crash.

But the music is too sporadic and rarely takes off. "Skin" boasts an interesting arrangement, with solos working off a groove spine and backing punctuations that could have gone on longer. "Drive" is a good solid track, and "Moment With The Rebel" is marked by moody horns. "Rebel Rock" gets a fair amount of funky undertow mojo working but the rap vocals don't do much, and "Shut Up Po'" hints at the DDBB's "Blackbird Special" but settles for contrapuntal comments rather than going for it.

It's a big problem with Soul Rebels -- that reluctance to break away from measured tempos. They do go breakneck on "I'm Worse," with the drums racing up a chop-funk storm underneath a sax solo and nice ensemble arrangement -- it's the best piece here -- and the shortest. "We Be Rollin' (Version 2)" gets a strong go-go-meets-brass band groove going with rap-style shout-outs for the band.

But why wait so long to up the energy ante? That refusal to cut loose until the end works against the group's other strong points. If they had, maybe you'd walk away from More Jams From No More Parades thinking "Man, that's really good" instead of "Yeah, it's okay."

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