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.
My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now (Concord Jazz 1984)
Live: Mardi Gras in Montreaux (Rounder 1986)
Voodoo (Columbia 1987)
The New Orleans Album (Columbia 1989)
Open Up: Whatcha Gonna Do for the Rest of Your Life (Columbia 1991)
Jelly (Columbia 1993)
Ears to the Wall (Mammoth 1996)
Buck Jump (Mammoth 1999)
Medicated Magic (Ropeadope Records 2002)
We Got Robbed: Live in New Orleans (2003)
Funeral for a Friend (Ropeadop 2004)
This is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band compilation (Shout! Factory 25)
What’s Going On (Shout! Factory 2006)
Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard 2007)
Twenty Dozen (Savoy Jazz 2012)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.