New Orleans music

Cha Wa: Funk ‘n’ Feathers at the Sunset Concerts

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Sunset Concerts

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Eric Howell’s King Mixer at the Sunset Concerts: Starring Again at Turley Park

Who: Cha Wa
What: Sunset Concert Series (Mardi Gras Indian band)
When: 2017-07-13
Cha Wa hustles into the Sunset Concerts Thursday, July 13 on the steps of Shryock Auditorium. The Ma
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

Cha Wa hustles into the Sunset Concerts Thursday, July 13 on the steps of Shryock Auditorium. The Mardi Gras Indian band brings a bright, brilliant blend of deep funk and percussive polyrhythms to produce an honest party sound that pays homage to and celebrates the history of New Orleans’s infectious rhythms.

Bandleader and drummer Joe Gelini, who moved to New Orleans after he graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, has been involved with Mardi Gras Indians for several years. He first heard their music (one of hip-hop’s primary musical ancestors) when he went to see one of his mentors, New Orleans-born jazz and funk drummer Idris Muhammad, perform.

Gelini asked if he could have a lesson, not knowing that simple request would forever change his life.

“It’s so real,” Gelini said. “It just kind of spoke to me. I was not ever exposed to that much soul.”

When he moved to New Orleans, Gelini saw Indians march down Dryades Street on Mardi Gras Day, and he was hooked.

“It was the energy, the spirit, the honesty,” he said. “Cha Wa started as almost more of a project than a band, and it just kind of grew from there.”

The origins of the Mardi Gras Indians are shrouded in mystery, with some historians tracing their existence back to the 1700s, when official records first noted the presence of Africans in New Orleans wearing Native American attire.

Mardi Gras Indians today sew intricate, gorgeous suits with large, brightly feathered headdresses called crowns. On Mardi Gras Day, Indians tribes march through the streets singing, chanting, and playing various percussion instruments. When two tribes meet, they battle over which one has the prettiest outfits and, in a sort of poetry slam or dozen contest, makes the best music.

Mardi Gras Indian tribes hold gatherings in bars and backyards, where they rehearse their rhythms and singing and make costumes. Gelini said he learned how to play the drums from the percussionists who provide the rhythmic base while the Indians would sing and keep one another in line. Gelini later became friends with a number of the Golden Eagles, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux’s band.

Cha Wa— their name is a slang term meaning “We’re comin’ for ya”— uses these traditions as well as some authentic practitioners of New Orleans funk. Gelini said a major component of the Cha Wa sound is Spy Boy J’Wan Boudreaux, the grandson of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux. The senior Boudreaux is considered one of the greatest Mardi Gras Indian singers ever. J’Wan combines the lyrics and style of his grandfather with a more modern take on the traditional music.

Gelini said Funk ‘n’ Feathers, Cha Wa’s 2016 debut album, incorporates Mardi Gras Indian music, brass bands, and the street culture of the Crescent City with the funky musical stylings of the Wild Magnolias (backed by the Meters), the Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Neville Brothers, and Doctor John.

Ben Ellman of Galactic, who also produced Trombone Shorty’s breakthrough album Backatown, produced Funk ‘n’ Feathers. The contemporary result culminates on a wild interpretation of Doctor John’s “All on a Mardi Gras Day,” which keeps the feet moving from start to finish.

Gelini said that performing with Cha Wa is more of a feeling than thinking process.

“Hopefully as little [thinking] as possible,” Gelini said. “It’s as real as a feeling as any thinking. If I’m thinking, then there is very little feeling. It should be spontaneous and spiritual.”

Gelini said the band is excited to come to Carbondale.

“It’s like having Indian practice with modern recordings and modern production and using it all together,” he said about the band’s live show. “It’s classic and contemporary at the same time.”

For more information, check out <>.

who: Cha Wa

what: Sunset Concert Series (Mardi Gras Indian band)

where: Steps of Shryock Auditorium


when: Thursday, July 13

Funky Butt Brass Band: New Orleans Beat with Saint Louis Heat at the CarbondaleRocks Revival

Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Music Coalition

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Funky Butt Brass Band: A Funky Good Time
Funky Butt Brass Band: Mardi Gras in August!

Who: Funky Butt Brass Band
What: CarbondaleRocks Revival music festival (Dixieland jazz)
When: 2016-10-01
One Saint Louis-based band is ready to make CarbondaleRocks Revival audiences shake their rumps to a
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

One Saint Louis-based band is ready to make CarbondaleRocks Revival audiences shake their rumps to an infectious beat usually renowned for coming from a bit further down the Mississippi River.

The Funky Butt Brass Band captures the spirit of the New Orleans second-line brass-band traditions with a Gateway City twist Saturday, October 1 on the Washington Street DaVinci Stage.

“We like to say that it is New Orleans brass meets Saint Louis attitude,” as the band’s guitarist and vocalist, Tim Halpin, describes the Funky Butt Brass Band to Nightlife.

The New Orleans brass stylings are similar to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rebirth, and Bonerama, just to name a few. But Halpin says setlists have also shaken things up by throwing in Saint Louis rhythm and blues, Motown classics, southern rock, Memphis soul, and Chicago blues.

Formed in 2008, the band includes Halpin, Adam Hucke on trumpet and vocals, Austin Cebulske on saxophone, Aaron Chandler on trombone and vocals, Cody Henry on sousaphone, and Ron Sikes on drums.

“We just all thought that something like that was missing,” Halpin said of the reason to form a second-line funk band.

In 2009, the Funky Butt Brass Band released their debut album, Cut the Body Loose. The sophomore album You Can Trust the Funky Butt Brass Band came out two years later.

The latest effort, 2014’s Sugar Sugar Whomp Whomp, features nine original songs and two New Orleans covers.

Halpin said he has fun making unique music with his bandmates. Part of what he enjoys is adapting music that were not originally recorded or even thought of as New Orleans brass-based songs.

Halpin added that these special elements add to the live shows, help freshen the ideas, and act as a cathartic release for the band.

“Sometimes we’ll just do that, pick an artist or theme and try to center a whole show setlist around it,” Halpin said. “We’ve been working on a Huey Lewis and the News one right now.... We were all Prince fans, so when he died we dedicated a whole show to his music.”

Some songs are easier to adapt than others, but the purpose, Halpin said, is to make it work and add an element of fun.

The Funky Butt Brass Band is looking to record a children’s album and possibly another album during the next year. Halpin added that the band will also work on and prepare for their annual Christmas show, a holiday tradition where the rowdy nature of the band meets classic holiday tunes.

All in the name of fun.

“We just want everyone to have a good time,” Halpin said.

For more information, check out <>.

who: Funky Butt Brass Band

what: CarbondaleRocks Revival music festival (Dixieland jazz)

where: Washington Street DaVinci Stage


when: Saturday, October 1

Blair Crimmins and the Hookers: Bringing the Roaring Twenties Alive at the Sunset Concerts

Venues & Businesses
Sunset Concerts

Who: Blair Crimmins and the Hookers
What: Sunset Concert Series (ragtime jazz)
When: 2012-07-05
It’s summer in Carbondale, and that means it’s time to get a groove on at the Sunset Concert series.
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

It’s summer in Carbondale, and that means it’s time to get a groove on at the Sunset Concert series. The Sunset Concerts bring a wide variety of genres and talent to Southern Illinois, and the Thursday, July 5 show is no exception. Atlanta, Georgia’s ragtime-flavored Blair Crimmins and the Hookers will grace the Turley Park Gazebo with their take on an old-timey ragtime-jazz sound akin to that of Django Reinhardt.

Nightlife talked with leader and songwriter Crimmins, who says, “Expect to loose control of your feet. It's all about having a good time and cutting loose. It'll sound like the Roaring Twenties are alive in Carbondale.”

This is, indeed, what the Sunset Concerts are all about: having a good time, cutting loose, and for those who like to boogie, to boogie.

Check out Crimmins and the Hookers online at <>.

Meanwhile, read on as Crimmins breaks it down.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it before?

The word ragtime usually gives people a good idea of what we sound like, although I've met some people who have no idea what ragtime means. If you listen to my record, you'll hear influences from different genres of the twenties and thirties. I like to put my own spin on things, though.

Who are you major influences?

Django Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton-- those are some of the big influences that really stick with me, but I have a pretty deep collection of records from early jazz artists. They all have their own effect on me and my writing.

How did you get into the genre?

I like to think that it found me. Kind of like love, you can't force it to happen. It just finds you one day, and you know you are perfect together.

Do you prefer red or green apples?

Green is my favorite color, but I go for the red apples most of the time.

Who are your favorite independent artists?

Megan Jean and the KFB are one of our favorite bands to tour with. They're a husband-and-wife duo. They have a dark, gypsy-jazz-rock element, and they're both musical powerhouses.

What inspires you to write music?

I get inspiration from storytelling. I can't really write a song based on just feeling. I like to tell stories and make characters. That's what will get me excited about a new song.

Have you played Carbondale before?

I've never played Carbondale before. My dad is an SIU alumni, though. I'm pretty excited to see his old stomping grounds.

who: Blair Crimmins and the Hookers

what: Sunset Concert Series (ragtime jazz)

where: Turley Park Gazebo

when: Thursday, July 5

Hobo Knife - The Devil Packed up and Went Away (live) - Dive Bar Ghost

The Devil Packed up and Went Away (live)

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Hobo Knife

Band Members
Mortimer Bustos - lead vocals, guitar - Gwen King - steel guitar, clarinet, accordion, vocals - John McCall - piano, guitar - Ben West - mandolin, banjo - James Ricks - bass - Greg Edwards - drums - Hugh DeNeal - vocals, guitar - Evan Sims - ukele
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Funky Butt Brass Band: Mardi Gras in August!

Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

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Funky Butt Brass Band: A Funky Good Time

Who: Funky Butt Brass Band
What: N’Awlins music
When: 2011-08-27
Funky Butt Brass Band: Mardi Gras in August!
Brian Wilson
Video Comentary

Since 2008, the Funky Butt Brass Band has played an important role in the Saint Louis music scene. Although rooted primarily in the New Orleans brass-band tradition, the group-- consisting of members of well-known area groups Gumbohead, the Feed, and Musica Slesa-- has an eclectic sound that fuses several different types of music, including jazz, funk, Motown, and the blues.

On Saturday, August 27, the Funky Butt Brass Band will return to Southern Illinois for the third time when they perform at Tres Hombres.

For more information about the band, or to hear sample tracks, visit <>.

Nightlife recently spoke to guitarist Tim Halpin about the band’s history, their music, and how they fit with the brass-band tradition.

How did the band form?

Well, two of us-- Ron Sikes, the drummer, and I-- had played in the band Gumbohead for years, and Gumbohead is sort of another facet of New Orleans-style music. It’s zydeco, it’s funk and piano boogie-woogie and blues and Mardi Gras music and stuff. And we were coming back from a Chicago gig a number of years ago and were talking about different types of New Orleans music, and it dawned on us that nobody in Saint Louis really was playing brass-band music.... And we said, “You know, somebody really should put something like that together,” and then of course we paused and looked at each other and went, “Yeah, naturally it’ll have to be us.”

With Gumbohead there were opportunities from time to time to do second-line parades, and we would just go out and rip through with some horn players that we knew. And a couple of the guys who played in other bands really weren’t available to really start their own thing, so we just got the word out on the grapevine and really came up with four tremendous horn players with great attitudes-- nice guys, great players. And it kind of fell together pretty easily.

Matt Brinkman played sousaphone and for a lot of the parades and stuff that we had done in the past. He was really the only sousaphone player we knew, so that was kind of a no-brainer. Adam Hucke is the trumpet player, Ben Reece is the sax player, and Aaron Chandler is the trombone player. It’s a great chemistry and they work really well together on stage, so we’re lucky that we all kind of found each other. It’s kind of meshed maybe better than our expectations, which were pretty high to begin with.

I’ve read the band described as a mixture of the New Orleans sound with some Chicago blues and other forms, so the sound is very appropriately a kind of musical gumbo then, right?

Yeah, it is. You know, with a couple of us being in Gumbohead, I’m not sure I’d use that word, but that’s okay. [laughing] But yeah, it’s really a mix. I mean, we think of it kind of as the New Orleans brass tradition with a Saint Louis spin, which means we incorporate a lot of different styles. We play a lot of traditional jazz, traditional funk. Some that you would hear from a band like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band or Bonorama out of New Orleans, but then we... add a little Chicago blues, we add some Saint Louis [rhythm and blues], we throw in some southern rock, we play some Allman Brothers and a little bit of Motown, and it’s really kind of a fun challenge to see how far we can bend the genre. So you might hear a classic tune like “Go to the Mardi Gras” followed by Prince’s “Purple Rain” or something like that. It’s all designed to be really fun and kind of keep people guessing, keep people dancing, be surprising, unexpected.

I think it’s kind of interesting that there wasn’t a brass band to fill this void before you guys in Saint Louis, given that city’s jazz heritage.

I think there were a couple of Dixieland bands here in town that do a great job and kind of cover that end of it, and there’s some great jazz bands as well... but the New Orleans brass-band formula, if you want to call it that, is kind of a pretty eclectic mix, you know? And nobody was really doing that thing where they were playing sort of the traditional jazz and gospel, but then throwing in some funk and throwing in some kind of pop music. I mean, that’s sort of the mold for what a lot of brass bands out of New Orleans now, especially the younger ones, are doing. But it’s been that way since the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in the early seventies was playing traditional jazz compositions and then throwing in pop songs, so, you know, it’s just kind of that eclectic nature of it, or that willingness to really shake things up is what we really like and what really drew us to the idea. And yeah, it is kind of surprising that nobody was doing that, but we’re happy to sort of carry the torch, I guess. Maybe there will be others after us.

Yeah, it’s really fun. I mean, it’s just different. It’s nice doing something that’s a little bit unusual when you’re in a town that has such a great musical heritage.

Who have been some of your main musical influences?

Well, as a group, for this specific band, it really is the trailblazers-- you know, the guys like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and we’re all big Bonorama fans. Bonorama really is kind of taking that brass band and just doing it with all trombones. And then some of the new guys... Trombone Shorty and Big Sam’s Funky Nation, the guys who grew up in that tradition but have also put a much funkier kind of [rhythm and blues] spin on it. They’re fun to listen to and they’re kind of a model in a way for what we’re trying to do. You know, the traditional format of a brass band usually is you’ve got somebody playing a bass drum, you’ve got somebody else playing a snare drum, you’ve got a sousaphone handling the bass line, and then any number of trumpets, saxes, and trombones. A lot of the bigger brass bands like Rebirth will have a couple of trumpet players, a couple of trombone players, a couple of sax players, and then bands like Dirty Dozen and Bonorama brought the guitar into the mix, and that’s kind of the line with those guys. You know, I’m the guitar player and it just sort of brings a little different flavor to it and it allows us to do kind of traditional jazz voicings from the guitar. But then also I play a lot of wah-wah, I play some heavier guitar tones when the song’s appropriate, so it’s just finding that balance of all the ingredients to make a great sound. And that way, with only six guys, one of whom is a guitar player, it’s a little different from the usual setup, but again, it kind of works for us. I like it that way.

Obviously the New Orleans sound is very important to your music. Geographically you guys are in a different location, but is there a connection to [New Orleans] in some way outside the music? Is there a personal connection or is it strictly more of an artistic connection?

I think it’s an artistic connection, primarily, maybe a psychic connection to some extent, and a historical connection in the sense that Saint Louis and New Orleans share a lot of common history, and the [Mississippi] River obviously links both cities, and there’s a lot of back and forth. People here really love going to New Orleans. After [Hurricane] Katrina, there were a number of New Orleanians who were relocated to Saint Louis, obviously, and to a lot of other parts of the country as well.

Personally, I went to Jazzfest for twenty-one straight years and have been going to the city since the mid-eighties and always brought back a new sound, a band that I had never heard before or something. So personally it’s like my second home after Saint Louis, so I guess that kind of informs what we do as well. We’ve all been down there at some point, so everybody’s had that experience and brings it to the band kind of at different levels, and it all sort of adds up to that sound, that kind of vibe which we love.

In the past ten or fifteen years, there’s been a great resurgence in the popularity of brass bands, everywhere from the mainstream stuff of the nineties with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to newer groups like the Lowdown Brass Band, who are working on a smaller level. Why do you think this is?

It’s kind of always been there, and I think the New Orleans tradition expands outward maybe in ways that we’re not even consciously aware of. I mean, horns have been a part of blues bands and swing bands and big bands obviously forever, and it’s kind of all in what you do with them. You know, the swing thing in the nineties was obviously fairly horn-driven, but you look at rock bands in the seventies like Chicago, a seriously horn-driven rock band and kind of different for their time, and then you flash forward to the eighties, everything was kind of synthesized and maybe not quite as pure, and I think maybe there was just a return to some sort of primalness of that big brass sound.

How have you guys tried to set yourselves apart?

I think a lot of it is just in the choice of material. I mean, I think there is kind of a pattern or a formula, or kind of a core, I guess, that exists at the center of most of the bands we’ve talked about, and then it’s all in how you branch out from that. You get bands like Lowdown, who are very funky. You get bands like Mama Dig Down out of Madison, Wisconsin, who tend to be a little more traditional and jazzy. You get bands like Youngblood Brass Band, who tend to be a little more in the hip-hop kind of area. You know, I think that we.... [pauses]

I don’t know that we have a really strong genre identity outside of the brass-band thing, but we just try to be surprising and unexpected and come up with some tunes that kind of come out of left field, that maybe you would never in a million years expect a brass band to do. So it’s really that kind of thing. It’s just sort of the personality of the players, I think, [that] define what the band becomes, and the styles of music that the individual players like can sort of bring those influences to the table.

I’m older than most of the guys. Well, I’m older than all of the guys in the band, actually, and so my references tend to be kind of seventies rock sort of stuff, and you’ve got some of the other guys who are much more into the eighties-pop kind of stuff. There are a lot of places where we cross over and can identify with each other’s influences, but having that kind of varied experience, really, I think is helpful because it allows you to see different points of view and play different things that maybe you’re not used to playing. So it keeps it fresh for everybody.

who: Funky Butt Brass Band

what: N’Awlins music

where: Tres Hombres

when: Saturday, August 27

Lowdown Brass Band: Second-line N’Awlins Funk

Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

Who: Lowdown Brass Band
What: N’Awlins music
When: 2011-07-28
Lowdown Brass Band: Second-line N’Awlins Funk
Brian Wilson
Video Comentary

On Thursday, July 28, the Lowdown Brass Band will perform at Tres Hombres.

Rooted primarily in the New Orleans second-line tradition, the group merges several different genres, including jazz, funk, hip-hop, reggae, and blues. In addition to brass-based jazz and blues groups like the Rebirth Brass Band, they draw their influences from an eclectic array of artists from Michael Jackson to Lee “Scratch” Perry.

“We kind of revisit back to that core idea of that New Orleans sound and the kind of looseness and improv-based and very spontaneous kind of situations that arise out of that kind of style,” baritone saxophonist and founding member David Levine says. “That’s what we really get off on. We don’t ever really want it to be too clean or too contrived or too charted out.”

After graduating from college, Levine took a trip from to New Orleans, where he had the chance to see several different bands and street musicians. He says this trip “really just opened my eyes to what was going on in New Orleans and the power of that music. Super infectious, you know?”

Levine says that after this experience, he returned to Chicago and expressed an interest in forming a New Orleans-style band to some of his musician friends. The group fell together quite naturally.

“So we’re hanging out in the living room, just kind of looking around.... I was like ‘Man, we should start a brass band. What do you guys think?’.... We just kind of started from there, and almost immediately, music just started coming from all over the place as far as ideas.”

Since forming in 2003, the Lowdown Brass Band has recorded a full-length album and an EP, both self-produced and self-released. They tour regionally on a regular basis, and have an upcoming show in Chicago with brass-band veterans Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Levine maintains that one of the most important things for the group is to make sure that both they and audience members are having a good time.

“We’ve been lucky enough to really get a good core of guys over the years who play well together and really listen and are really keyed in to what we’re trying to do as a whole,” Levine says. “So there are a lot of moments to shine as soloists or individuals or whatever, but that group sound-- it’s like when we’re all listening toward the center some really great things happen, and it’s really exciting for us when those things occur. So if we’re not making music, making art, and having fun up there, it’s really not worth it for us to do.”

For more information, search for the group on Facebook or MySpace..

who: Lowdown Brass Band

what: N’Awlins music

where: Tres Hombres

when: Thursday, July 28

Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Fat Tuesday Comes One Week Early in Carbondale!

Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

Who: Dirty Dozen Brass Band
What: N'Awlins funk
When: 2011-03-01
Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Fat Tuesday Comes One Week Early in Carbondale!
Leah Williams Wright
Video Comentary

words by Leah Williams Wright

pictures by Michael Weintrob

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band has been a major influence on many current New Orleans brass bands by revitalizing the common and continuously pushing the envelope. Now, the Dirty Dozen will bring a special performance Tuesday, March 1 to Tres Hombres-- one week before Fat Tuesday.

The Dirty Dozen began in 1977, when the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans asked Benny Jones to put together a simple brass band for some live performances. That simple house band later grew out of its home base, got a few gigs at other venues, and added more instrumentation, including banjos and marching drums, to become a seven-member ensemble. They also shortened their name to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Jerry Brock, cofounder of New Orleans community-radio station WWOZ, was so blown away by the Dirty Dozen that he went on to record them and play the results on the radio. He also helped to book and promote them.

The band released their first proper album, My Feet Can't Fail Me Now, in 1984, and later followed up with Voodoo in 1987. They released more albums over the years, including 2007's Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino, where they played "Every Night About This Time" with Buddy Guy and Joss Stone.

The Dirty Dozen has also worked with formidable talents, including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Doctor John, and the Black Crowes. The band even joined the Colorado State University Marching Band for a halftime performance of "Ain't Nothin' but a Party."

In August 2006, the band released What's Going On, a cover of the classic 1971 Marvin Gaye disc in its entirety. The concept album was developed after the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, and the release date coincided with the first anniversary of the life-changing storm.

The band celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of their debut album by reissuing and remastering the work. To go along with the reissue, the band went on tour and performed the album in its entirety, helping the Dirty Dozen dust off some early, forgotten tracks like "I Ate up the Apple Tree" and "Mary Mary."

Plans for another European tour are to begin later this spring, according to the band's website.

For more information, including downloadable songs and videos of past performances, visit <>.

who: Dirty Dozen Brass Band

what: N'Awlins funk

where: Tres Hombres

when: Tuesday, March 1

Funky Butt Brass Band: A Funky Good Time

Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

Who: Funky Butt Brass Band
What: N'Awlins funk
When: 2010-11-13
Funky Butt Brass Band: A Funky Good Time
T.J. Jones
Video Comentary

Tres Hombres will continue its recent run of high-quality blues and jazz acts when Saint Louis's Funky Butt Brass Band performs Friday, November 13.

Voted 2010's Best Funk/Soul/Rhythm-and-Blues Band by Saint Louis's Riverfront Times, the Funky Butt Brass Band has spent the last two years playing a melodic gumbo of traditional New Orleans jazz, spiced with the kind of blues found in Saint Louis and Chicago, along with a funky and fresh vibe usually found in the best jam bands.

Singer/guitarist Tim Halpin says a trip to New Orleans changed it all for him. "I immediately responded to the cultural and musical gumbo of that city," says Halpin. "Jazz is just one part of the equation for me, and for the Funky Butt Brass Band."

Last year's Cut the Body Loose, the Funky Butt Brass Band's debut CD, is in the tradition of the second line. In New Orleans, the main line of a parade is played by the marching band, while the second line is caused by the rhythms created by participants who dance along behind the group. New Orleans-style rhythm sections often strive to recreate a second-line feel even when they're not marching in parades.

Whether hard-rocking blues guitars intermingle with horns in the CD's title track, or the thick sousaphone beats on the down-home "Bourbon Street Parade," the Funky Butt Brass Band's skill lies in the band's knowledge and love of American jazz. Engineer Tony Esterly decided to put all the band members in one room for the recording of Cut the Body Loose at Shock City Studios, a decision that Halpin says made the CD.

"[Esterly] really wanted to capture that live feel, the energy that we put into our live performances," says Halpin. "This made recording a little difficult, because there was very little margin for error since we weren't dealing with an unlimited budget. We couldn't spend more than a couple of days recording in the studio. So we burned through the recording of fourteen songs, and if we screwed up, we just started over. We recorded the vocals later, there were a couple of horn solo overdubs, and I overdubbed most of my guitar parts at Tony's home studio, but the CD does a good job of capturing that live feel."

Consisting of members of Saint Louis groups Gumbohead, the Feed, and Musica Salsa, the Funky Butt Brass Band has a roster that is as wide-ranging and free-wheeling as their music. Percussionist Ron Sikes is a band director and college percussion instructor, singer/guitarist Halpin is an executive creative director for a Saint Louis ad agency, sousaphonist Matt Brinkmann works for the Saint Louis Convention and Visitors Center, singer/saxophonist Ben Reece works at an instrument repair shop (and is also a graduate of SIU's Edwardsville campus), singer/trumpet player Adam Hucke is a music professor at Southwestern Illinois College, and singer/trombonist Aaron Chandler has played with legends like the Temptations and Rufus Thomas. The proof is in the pudding-- the Funky Butt Brass Band live and breathe music.

"I think you can't help but be influenced by what you hear around you all the time," says Halpin. "Each member brings a little something different to the party. We're always sharing cool music that we love, or new stuff that we discover. We love New Orleans music, but we wanted to craft our own sound with that as a starting point. So it's only natural that we'd bring in a more Midwestern vibe to our playing. And you can't discount the influence of the Mississippi River. Stuff just sort of flows down the river, and you pick it up along the way."

This year has seen the release of two live recordings by the Funky Butt Brass Band-- March's Live at the Bistro 3.13.10 EP and September's Funkfest Five Live. Both are only available for download from the band's website.

"We just wanted to share some of our shows, warts and all, with our friends via our website," says Halpin. "If they were at the show, it gives them something to remember. If they weren't there, it shows them what a good time they missed."

The latter's first track promises listeners a "Funky Good Time," and the band even sneaks in a few good covers in there, including James Brown's "Living in America" and a sousaphone-soaked rendition of the Bee Gees' standard "Stayin' Alive." If their two live recordings are any indication, the Funky Butt Brass Band will undoubtedly pull off a kinetic and audacious performance in a grand New Orleans via Saint Louis style.

Find out more at <>.

who: Funky Butt Brass Band

what: N'Awlins funk

where: Tres Hombres

when: Saturday, November 13

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