In a way, it's an easy mistake to make since the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is such an obvious influence on the Rebirth Brass Band '97 and nearly every other ensemble currently playing jazz in the Big Easy. (In fact, the Rebirth Brass Band replaced the Dirty Dozen as the Thursday night house band at a New Orleans club called Daryl's when the latter went on tour.) Although the traditions of brass band music in New Orleans dates back to the 19th century, the sub-genre had seriously waned by the mid-1970s. It was given new life when an outfit known as the "Original Sixth Ward Dirty Dozen" began to infuse their brass-band standards with strains of funk and bebop. Under the leadership of Benny Jones, they played a few parades and club gigs. By 1977, trumpet player Gregory Davis had taken the helm and put the band on a jazzed-up trajectory that has since taken them from the streets and clubs of New Orleans to venues throughout the U.S. and Europe. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band has recorded 14 albums, some of which featured collaborations with Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Dizzy Gillespie and Branford Marsalis, among other artists. They've also recorded a couple of albums with Widespread Panic, and on Aug. 29, 2006, released a cover of Marvin Gaye's landmark album What's Going On. The latter was an expression of musical outrage, released one year to the day after the band's hometown had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. One thing I wrote earlier about the Rebirth Brass Band is true of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band too: The group comes to Birmingham on a fairly regular basis, but it's music that bears repeated listening, particularly when you get to hear it live.
And I'll say the same again about the holy funk produced by the Lee Boys. The sextet specializes in "Sacred Steel" music '96 a hybrid of gospel, jazz, funk and rock that started in the House of God church. The show starts at 8 p.m.
WorkPlay is located at 500 23rd St. South. Buy tickets here or call (205) 380-4082.