The Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Use Your Brain


Use Your Brain


The Dirty Dozen Brass Band


Whatcha Gonna Do for the Rest of Your Life (Columbia 47383)

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Gregory Davis (trumpet), Efrem Towns (trumpet), Roger Lewis (baritone sax), Kevin Harris (tenor sax), Charles Joseph (trombone), Kirk Joseph (sousaphone), Raymond Weber (drums)


Composed by Roger Lewis


Recorded: New Orleans, January-April, 1991


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

For those raised on today's urban music, it may be hard to believe that you could get such a soulful groove without bass or guitar or keyboards . . . or sampling or programming and those other "little helpers" that are so common these days. But welcome to New Orleans, where horns have been doin' the heavy lifting for more than a century. Here we don't even get a full dirty dozen in the band, but a majority of the ensemble shows up in the studio for "Use Your Brain," and that's all they need for a funk quorum. This project found the band members focusing on original compositions, with saxophonist Roger Lewis penning this winning chart. It's fascinating to listen to this music and trace the history back to those early New Orleans brass bands, yet also hear all the contemporary ingredients. We are only a step away from the World Saxophone Quartet here, yet hints of the 1910 Tuxedo Brass Band are also in the air.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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