West Philly Orchestra (WPO) – Tour De Filli (Fly Bottle Records, 2016)
On Tour De Filli, the West Philly Orchestra Album plays fun, infectious Balkan dance music. The ensemble’s foundation is Eastern European brass band music, Gypsy melodies, American jazz improvisation and vocals by Bulgarian artist Petia Zamfirova who sings in English, Romani and Bulgarian.
In 1977 the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans began showcasing a traditional local brass band. It was a joining of two proud but antiquated traditions at the time: social and pleasure clubs dated back over a century to a time when black southerners could rarely afford life insurance and the clubs would provide proper funeral arrangements.
Brass bands, early predecessors of jazz as we know it, would often follow the funeral procession playing somber dirges then once the family of the deceased was out of hearing range, burst into jubilant dance tunes as casual onlookers danced in the streets.
By the late 1970s, few of either existed. The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club decided to assemble this group as a house band and over the course of these early performances, the seven-member ensemble adopted the venue’s name: the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Thirty years later, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a world famous music band whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-energy performances. They have revitalized the brass band sound in New Orleans and around the world progressing from local parties, clubs, baseball games and festivals in their early years to touring nearly constantly in the U.S. and in over 30 other countries on five continents.
The Dirty Dozen have been featured guests on albums by artists including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and the Black Crowes.
Despite being based in the West Coast, the music of brass band MarchFourth has deep roots in the sound of New Orleans. MarchFourth is a very large ensemble featuring a considerable brass and percussion section plus electric guitars and bass. Additionally, MarchFourth includes gymnasts, costumes, dancers and entertainers on stilts in its live shows.
The band’s latest album Magic Number was recorded in New Orleans and features an irresistible mix of jazz and funk along with some rock numbers, fiery blues harmonica and some Latin American influences. All the music is original, composed by band members.
MarchFourth’s sound has evolved and features more guitar and vocals than previous albums. The band’s name has also changed from MarchFourth! Marching Band to simply MarchFourth.
The lineup includes Katie Presley and Paul Chandler on trumpets; Daniel Lamb and Anthony Meade on trombones; Michelle Christiansen on alto saxophone; Cameron DePalma and Andy Shapiro on tenor saxophone; Jon Vancura on baritone and bass saxophone; Jenny DiDonato on drums and percussion; Cheo Larcombe on bass drum and percussion; Will McKinney on toms and percussion; Dan Stauffer on cymbals; and Jake Wood on snare drums and percussion; John Averill on electric bass; Jon Vancura on guitar; and Taylor Aglipay on guitars and baritone saxophone.
Magic Number features the following guests: Trombone Shorty on trombone; Stanton Moore on drums; Matt Perrine on tuba; and Ben Ellman on harmonica.
MarchFourth’s Magic Number is a delightful and highly entertaining explosion of brass, drums and much more.
American brass band Red Baraat is heading in an exciting new direction. Their 2017 album, Bhangra Pirates is an explosive mix of irresistible bhangra beats, funk, jazz and the mighty sound of a brass band. Now that they’ve gotten rid of the annoying rapping that appeared in some of the previous albums, Red Baraat’s South Asian sound is more musical, fluid and much easier to enjoy.
The lineup on this album includes Sunny Jain on dhol, effects and vocals; Rohin Khemani on percussion; Sonny Singh on trumpet; Ernest Stuart on trombone; Jonathan Goldberger on guitar; Delicate Steve on guitar; MiWi La Lupa on bass trumpet and vocals; Chris Eddleton on drum set; Tomas Fujiwara on drum set; John Altieri on sousaphone and effects; Jon Lampley on sousaphone and effects; Jonathon Haffner on soprano and alto saxophone; and Mike Bomwell on soprano and baritone saxophone.
The best American brass band tradition in the United States comes from New Orleans and one of the finest bands currently is Hot 8 Brass Band. Their irresistible hip-shaking style incorporates traditional New Orleans jazz mixed with funk.
On The Spot gives the listener the feel of an enticing New Orleans band playing in the street during celebrations. “We are privileged to tour and to tell the stories of life in our city, to keep alive the memories of our band members who have passed, as well as all the musicians who have gone before”, says band leader and tuba player Bennie Pete.
Hot 8 Brass Band will embark on an international tour in March. This will be great opportunity to experience the unique sound of New Orleans performed by some of the most talented horn players and percussionists in the current scene.
‘On The Spot’ Tour Dates (with more TBA)
1 March, The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD (AUS)
2 March, Solbar, Sunshine Coast, QLD (AUS)
3 March, Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD (AUS)
4 March, Girrakool Blues Festival & BBQ, Girrakool, NSW (AUS)
8 March, Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW (AUS)
9 March, Badlands, Perth, WA (AUS)
10 March, WOMADelaide, Adelaide, SA (AUS)
11 March, WOMADelaide, Adelaide, SA (AUS)
15 March, Brunswick Music Festival, Melbourne, VIC (AUS)
17 March, WOMAD New Zealand (NZ)
18 March, WOMAD New Zealand (NZ)
4 April, The Roundhouse, London (UK)
5 April, The Quarterhouse, Folkestone (UK)
6 April, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham (UK)
7 April, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool (UK)
8 April, Old Granada Studios, Manchester (UK)
9 April, Guild Hall, Preston (UK)
11 April, Liquid Room, Edinburgh (UK)
12 April, O2 ABC, Glasgow (UK)
13 April, The Wardrobe, Leeds (UK)
14 April, O2 Academy, Birmingham (UK)
16 April, Transatlantik Festival, Hamburg (GER)
19 April, Webster Hall Marlin Room, New York, NY (USA)
20 April, Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA (USA)
21 April, Milkboy, Philadelphia, PA (USA)
22 April, ONCE Ballroom, Somerville, MA (USA)
29 April, Katowice Jazz Art, Katowice (PL)
1 May, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Cheltenham (UK)
2 May, O2 Academy Sheffield, Sheffield (UK)
3 May, The Fleece, Bristol (UK)
4 May, Tramshed, Cardiff (UK)
5 May, The Factory, Barnstaple (UK)
8 May, Boiler shop, Newcastle (UK)
9 May, The Welly, Hull (UK)
10 May, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick (UK)
11 May, Pocklington Arts Centre, Pocklington (UK)
12 May, The Soundcrash Funk & Soul Weekender, Camber Sands (UK)
17 May, New Morning, Paris (FR)
19 May, Open Air, Voiron (FR) [early show]
19 May, Le Fil – Radio Nova Nuit Zébrée, St Etienne (FR) [LATE SHOW]
20 May, Rush, Rouen (FR)
27 May, Denver Day of Rock, Denver, CO (USA)
30 May, The Crocodile, Seattle, WA (USA)
31 May, Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR (USA)
1 June, The Dip, Redding, CA (USA)
2 June, The Independent, San Francisco, CA (USA)
3 June, Saint Rocke, Hermosa Beach, CA (USA)
4 June, House Of Blues San Diego – Voodoo Room, San Diego, CA (USA)
7 June, Antone’s, Austin, TX (USA)
8 June, Warehouse Live, Houston, TX (USA)
10 June, House of Blues, New Orleans, LA (USA) HOMETOWN RECORD RELEASE PARTY
Fanfara Tirana is a novelty among Balkan brass bands. In comparison with traditional Slavic brass bands, this ensemble is different and new thanks to the well articulated music language that is essentially based on a very melodic path with the support of other instruments. Melody is assigned to the clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet and tenor saxophone, expressing their style of pure improvisation defined as “kaba” (typical of music from South Albania) and “gazel” (typical of music from Tirana and neighboring villages).
Masterfully conducted by Usta Berati (accordionist, bass tuba player and arranger), Fanfara Tirana presents a repertoire with traditional music and new compositions resounding of Balkan and oriental sonority. The brass ensemble has already developed a large audience in Europe. Thay play unbridled on the stage and gain the satisfaction of the public. Like their fans in Tirana say “…they, make dead people dance…”. Fanfara Tirana usually performs with the extraordinary voice of Hysni (Niko) Zela.
The band in 2013:
Ahmet Caushi (Usta Berati) – accordion, bass tuba
Xhemali Murraj – trumpet
Agim Sako – tenor saxophone
Pellumb Xhepi – baritone flugelhorn
Mark Luca – baritone flugelhorn
Fatbardh Capi – clarinet, saxophone
Roland Shaqja – baritone saxophone
Gezim Haxhia – clarinet
Ali Logu – daulle o tapan
Kujtim Hoxha – rolling instruments
Hysni (Niko) Zela – vocals
The Džambo Aguševi Orchestra is an exciting Balkan brass orchestra led by Macedonia’s trumpet king, Džambo Aguševi. Unlike other brass well-known brass bands that focus on traditional material, the Džambo Aguševi Orchestra mixes Balkan Gypsy music with Latin jazz, Flamenco, Caribbean beats and other global influences.
The lineup on the album includes Džambo Agušev on trumpet and vocals; Džemal Agušev on trumpet and vocals; Kočo Agušev on trumpet; Sunaj Mustafov on trumpet; Ali Zekirov on tenor horn; Elvijan Demirovski on on tenor horn; Džafer Fazliov on tenor horn; Šukri Abdulov on tuba and helicon; Orfej Čakalovski on goč (large double-headed drum) and Nedjat Redjepov on drums.
Guests include: Sedat Sedo on tarabuka; Azat Mehmedov on clarinet and saxophone; Mishel Trajkovski on accordion; Rumen Kamburozv on vocals; Senad Suta on drums; and Brano Jakubovic on electronics.
Brass Like it Hot is an irresistible brass band album.
Gangbe Brass Band promotes the originality of the music of Benin combining an original mixture of jazz and Beninese traditional music: voodoo rhythms (Sato, Zinti, Ogbon) and songs in local languages (Yoruba, Fon Goun).
The Gangbe Brass Band was created in 1994 when 8 musicians, all from Cotonou-Benin, came together. These young jazz musicians had been playing in different groups, before creating this unusual fusion of traditional styles.
Gangbe Brass Band’s aim is to promote the originality of the music of Benin. The result is definitely both modern and traditional, as it mixes jazz and traditional Benin.
They take traditional rhythms, and invigorate them with jazz harmonies. The fusion reveals as much as possible of the musical tradition, while giving a western tone, to link the past and future. They sing in vernacular language about life in general, political injustices and the tribulations of women.
Through the word Togbe, the band salutes the music on which they build their sound. The first meaning of the word is ‘ancestor’, the band’s way of paying homage to the range and quality of the rhythms they created. The second is a reference to age, highlighting the ancient roots of the music they play.
The Gangbe Brass Band’s musical approach is respectful of tradition, and in harmony with their ancestors and culture.
From 1994 to 1997, the Gangbe Brass Band worked mainly in Benin. A year later, in 1998, their association called ‘The Union of Wind Instrumentalist of Benin’ took part in the Atelier Nomade of Alougbine Dine, a very famous artistic director. They composed a piece called La Fuite.
This meeting was very important as it enabled them to draw up artistic and political guidelines, and think about the values they really wanted to defend, things they want to talk about and the projects they could put in place. During this year, they played many concerts such as the Jazz Ouaga festival, and again at Bamako’s Festival du Theatre des Realites where they met the French group Lo’Jo.
Thanks to Lo’Jo and to Yves De La Croix, they recorded their first album called Gangbe and began an international tour of 35 concerts with them in 1999, playing in Europe and Canada, and another tour in Nigeria. They received an award at Benin Golden Awards, and took part in the first Nomad’s meeting, in Cotonou, and the Pan African of Jazz in Accra (Ghana).
In 2000, still supported by Lo’Jo Triban, they played on international stages, such as the Womad Festival in London, Jazz in St Louis (Senegal) and Lille 2000.
At the same time, they developed cultural projects for increasing awareness about Beninese culture, their main concern.
The first one Voodoo’s rhythms box received the support of the Benin Ministry of Culture. It consists of a collection of all Beninese ceremonial rhythms for a CD, and later a CD ROM, to be distributed in European art schools, and cultural institutions. The second one, called Horizon 2001 concerns regional, continental and worldwide cultural exchanges. It’s a European-African network for the organization of concerts between the Gangbe Brass Band and other guest artists.
The Gangbe Brass Band began working with Contre Jour in Brussels in 2001, recording their second album called Togbe. During the Summer, they promoted it through a new tour of 45 concerts, including high-profile festivals such as Musiques du Sud in Lebanon, Couleur Cafe in Brussels, Sfinks in Antwerp, Pop Komm in Koln, and Musiques Metisses in Angouleme (France).
In 2002, they were on the road in Europe during the Spring and the Summer and in USA in the Fall for some festivals (Bloomington, Chicago, New York).
In 2003, during their European tour, they recorded a new album (released in June 2004). During this year, they were touring in Europe and participated in a project with French Jazz Musicians for a Tribute to Don Cherry (presented at the Festival in the Desert in Essakane)
In 2004, the band released a new album, Whendo, and toured Europe. Assiko! followed in 2008.
I‘ve long asserted that Latin music was the first “world” music to make its way into the mainstream. Arguable though that may be, there’s no doubting the variety of what can rightly be labeled Latin nowadays. Part of the reason for such variety is how the music has evolved; another is recognizing how much variety there was to begin with.
Vintage Latino (Putumayo, 2015) is a various-artists collection that steers clear of overly familiar names (no Tito, Tito or Machito to be found) and earns extra points for featuring some that were around in the early days as well as contemporary musicians keeping the classic sound alive.
So it is that the love songs of old time Cubans like Trio Melodicos and the rural roots of Venezuela’s Simon Diaz fit comfortably alongside contemporary revivers like the utterly charming Las Rubias del Norte from the U.S. and France’s excellent Republique Democratique Du Mambo. And if the best of both worlds is your thing, check the seamlessly splendid combination of Uruguay’s late great Lagrima Rios and acclaimed Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla on the candombe-flavored “Un Cielo Para Los Dos.” Each of the 12 tracks is a gem, so count this one a must.
Should you be craving the sounds of a Brooklyn-based Mexican brass band, that craving will be more than satisfied by Banda de Los Muertos on their self-titled release (Barbes Records, 2015). Founded and led by Oscar Noriega and Jacob Garchik, veterans of jazz and classical music, Banda de Los Muertos’ brass and reeds attack is not just rousingly good fun. It’s also an impressive display of great musicians doing their thing.
The intertwined trumpets, trombones, alto horn, sousaphone and clarinets (plus a solid backbone of drums) are loaded with traditional Mexican flavors and sport nuances ample enough to appeal to fans of jazz, klezmer and big band music. And no hard feelings if you don’t dig the band’s instrumental cover of Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” or the sexy, husky guest vocals by Mireya Ramos, though some serious self-examination might be in order.
Thoroughly modern but with a clear understanding of age-old grooves, Empresarios out of Washington D.C. give us The Vibes (Empresarios Musica, 2015) a hot mash of cumbia, reggae, dub, house, jazzy experimentation and hip hop. They combine real and programmed rhythms as deftly as they shift from sung to rapped vocals, and their subject matter likewise ranges from self-referencing celebration to social consciousness.
A thinking man’s party band, these guys likely won’t appeal to staunch Latin music purists. For everyone else, they definitely bring it. And the last two tracks (instrumentals “Rootsy Jam” and “Alegria”) are killer.
Fanfare Ciocarlia, one of the world’s best Gypsy brass bands, is set to perform at Town Hall in New York City for an exclusive and first-time collaboration with Eugene Hütz, front man for the wild and wildly popular band Gogol Bordello. Theconceft will take place on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Fanfare Ciocarlia is a 24-piece brass band whose eastern funk groove has torn up halls and festivals across the planet. Eugene Hütz relocated to New York City from Ukraine and merged punk and Gypsy sounds into a raucous act he named Gogol Bordello. Six albums later, the nine-member act packs venues worldwide and thrills fans with its boundless energy.
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music