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Staff Pick

Funkin’ It Up

July-August 2014

Rebirth Brass Band

Rebirth Brass Band

Courtesy of Rebirth Brass Band

The Grammy Award-winning, New Orleans-based Rebirth Brass Band brings its unique blend of heavy funk with a hip-hop edge and horn-blasting street jazz to Cambridge this summer. The two shows offer Northeasterners the rare chance to really let go—sing, shout, and dance “second-line” parade-style—without traveling to the South’s musical wellspring. “Rebirth…is more like a party than a machine,” according to The New York Times. “It’s a working model of the New Orleans musical ethos: as long as everybody knows what they’re doing, anyone can cut loose.” Founded in 1983 by high-school friends in the city’s Tremé neighborhood—tuba and sousaphone player Philip Frazier, his brother, bass drummer Keith Frazier, and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins—the group played on the streets of the French Quarter, reviving that tradition, and soon recorded hits like “Do Watcha Wanna,” and later played another, “Feel Like Funkin’ It Up,” in the opening scene of Treme, the HBO series about post-Katrina spiritual recovery. The band now performs all over the world and will no doubt be trumpeting their newest release, Move Your Body, which features the infectious “Rebirth Groove.”

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