Mardi Gras came early this year, thanks to a Saints’ NFL playoff victory Saturday afternoon. It’s a good thing, too, because it gave the renowned New Orleans Dirty Dozen Brass Band an excuse to invite young women to dance on stage at the Pour House … as long as they were wearing Saints jerseys.
Saturday night, crowds trickled in from the rain, hiding in the dank corners until the band went onstage. Once the boys hit the mics, it was a rush to the front, as young and old alike boogied and chanted, “Who dat!” over the jubilant sounds of brass, snare, and sax. Several spectators, adorned in Saints black and gold, reveled in team victory and tunes. And there were so many Reggie Bush jerseys, we could have summoned him in spirit.
Led by trumpeter/vocalist Gregory Davis and sax players Roger Lewis and Kevin Harris, the lineup also featured drummer Terence Higgins, guitarist Jake Eckert, trumpeter Efrem Towns, sousaphonist Julius McKee, and trombonist Revert Andrews.
The current DDBB tour celebrates the 25th anniversary of their debut album, My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now, recently remastered and available for sale. In 1977, the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans inadvertently created a phenomenon when they developed a house brass band. Since this unexpected foundation, the ensemble has continued their brass band traditions, spreading Deep South soul to audiences worldwide.
The soul-stirring music was impeccable, and the enthusiasm was catching. The DDBB was a well-oiled machine, capable of hitting all the right notes. However, it wasn’t just the perfection of their craft that impressed; it was their passion for performance. The boys loved to move and talk with the audience. The DDBB’s strong faith in brass and its jazz roots inspired the rest of us.
I didn’t earn any Mardi Gras beads Saturday night, and I didn’t wear a feathered mask to the show, but for one night, I felt like a Saints fan. I joined in a “Who dat!” or two, and danced to a triumphant rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” For a night, we were all transported to Bourbon Street. So when’s the next bus leave for New Orleans?
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