A little over a month ago, I had the opportunity to review the new Dirty Dozen Brass Band release Funeral For a Friend, which was dedicated to the late Tuba Fats and was thoroughly impressive as a work of true art in the brass band oeuvre. As fate would have it, now I'm following up that album review with this one of another album laid down in memory of M. Fats. Rebirth Brass Band's Rebirth For Life takes a different approach than the funeral--it ain't no work of art but rather a full-on jam session that should have any NOLA-missing festhead looking toward late April with longing. One whirl through the eight funky tracks on this disc and you'll feel that sticky, sweaty N'awlins feeling creeping over your skin. There's a real deep, tuba-heavy sound that works to almost hypnotize. And while there are songs here, it's not vital to note them. They run together in a warm, drunken blur, the band working as a single unit spitting out brass-heavy bleats and even singing in group chants from time to time. The playing is loose as it should be. Listen to Rebirth for Life straight through and you're certain to feel like you're fighting to keep the party going in the wee hours of a Louisiana morning.

I won't confess to knowing the relationship between the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth--for all I know they hate being lumped together like this. But in my mind, they represent the best of the New Orleans brass band sound. The two albums are perfect companions to each other, taking an identical starting point and moving in completely opposite directions, each with great success.

Aaron Stein
JamBase | New York
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[Published on: 7/18/04]

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