The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010
being anywhere else on Fat Tuesday after The Saints won the Superbowl.
Anything goes on Fat Tuesday: whether it's decking yourself in feather boas, sequin masks, the shiniest/cheapest bead-ware, or leopard print jackets with matching crowns. Never fear, as all will be forgiven, including the tacky garb. But if there's one part of Mardi Gras that never needs to issue an apology for the following month, it's the music. Ground zero for that celebratory sound is, of course, New Orleans. San Franciscans may only be able to boast a shallow obsession with The Saints' recent underdog win at the Superbowl, but at last night's sold out show at the Independent, the New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band
shot show-goers straight in the arm with a strong dose of the Martis Gras party scene.
It's clear that the Dirty Dozen members have been playing together since the late 70s. If their announcement that the last time they had all played together in San Francisco was two decades ago wasn't enough indication that these guys know their brass, the music had a precision only mastered by those with time under their belts. Their sound was seamless, despite their raucous funk-jazz fusion interlaced with improvisation. The drummer pretty much worked the bass drum and high hat throughout their entire lengthy set, which kept heads bobbing and feet thumping in the smiling crowd.
It wasn't always clear which band members were leading this Dirty Dozen. This may be part of the big band strategy. If anyone was in charge up there, though, it would have had to be trumpeters Gregory Davis and Efrem Towns, who did most of the shouting and crowd-working throughout the set, and even invited a few ladies on stage to share a banana-booty-shake dance during a rousing rendition of "L'il Liza Jane."