Soul Rebels Brass Band Simultaneously Embrace and Discard Tradition

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:: Fox Theater :: September 6 ::
:: Cervantes’ Other Side :: September 7 ::
:: The Beaver Creek Music Experience (Avon) :: September 8 ::

By Katie Margrave

From its spicy Cajun cuisine, vibrant French Quarter, and rich musical tradition New Orleans is a city immersed in a joyous sound, ripe for celebration. It’s a city that embraces tradition and throws it out the window all in the same breath.

So it’s no wonder that The Soul Rebels Brass Band are rooted in New Orleans tradition yet pushing the envelope of a new, more mainstream sound. It’s exactly what co-founders Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss had in mind from the beginning.

Formerly members of Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band, an institution within the New Orleans jazz community, LeBlanc and Moss paired up more than two decades ago to bring listeners a fiery blend of blues, hip-hop and energetic new sounds, while still paying homage to traditional New Orleans music. “We wanted to find our own, new sound that would appeal to the world — a sound that is coherent, danceable, and breaks away from the typical brass band,” said LeBlanc in a recent interview with The Marquee.

Break away is right. The Soul Rebels Brass Band, an eight piece ensemble featuring drums, horns, and musicians all well versed in classic New Orleans jazz, captures listeners with an upbeat tempo, original lyrics, and a party-like performance.

Their distinctive voice has provided the group with an opportunity to attract music lovers of all ages and across many different genres. “We are able to appeal to those accustomed to traditional jazz music because of our brass band roots,” explained LeBlanc, “while captivating new listeners with fresh, modern lyrics and experimental beats you can dance to.” And their work speaks for itself.

The Soul Rebels newest album Unlock Your Mind was released in January, 2012 on Rounder Records to rave reviews. Inspired by “music of this time” including Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Jay-Z, and Lil’ Wayne among others, and recorded in their hometown of New Orleans, Unlock Your Mind skillfully merges soulful jazz sounds while infusing elements of reggae, hip-hop and funk. The album reached number five on the iTunes Jazz Chart, and as a testament to the group’s diversity, also hit the top of CMJ’s hip-hop playlist.

First traveling with fellow NOLA musicians Galactic for nearly two months of performances including a stop on the Conan O’Brien Show, The Soul Rebels were only getting warmed up. Appearances were scheduled at some of the biggest music festivals in the U.S. including Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, The Wanee Music Festival, and The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The Soul Rebels spent most of July overseas promoting Unlock Your Mind in Europe, and LeBlanc said that luckily, the European crowds are as open to their music as their hometown crowds are. “They loved it,” he said. “Europeans — similar to music lovers in New York, L.A., and Colorado — are very in tune to new music. They enjoy eclectic styles, progressive sounds, and dance.”

Having already worked with some heavy hitters in the music industry, including Snoop Dogg, Arcade Fire, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Kanye West, and Metallica (a personal highlight for LeBlanc), The Soul Rebels have the ability and talent to shoot for the stars. And LeBlanc doesn’t see the band taking it easy any time soon.

“The sky’s the limit,” said LeBlanc. “We want to record more albums, schedule more shows, and create an even more polished sound.”

The Soul Rebels Brass Band have created an electrifying voice that shouts to the masses and defies the stereotypes of a traditional brass band — one that is ever changing, unconventional, and new.

LeBlanc put it best by saying they’ve created “Soul Rebels music, by Soul Rebels.”

 

 

:: The Soul Rebels Brass Band ::

:: Fox Theater :: September 6 ::

:: Cervantes’ Other Side :: September 7 ::

:: The Beaver Creek Music Experience (Avon) :: September 8 ::

 

Recommended if you Like:

• ReBirth Brass Band

• Trombone Shorty

• Galactic

 

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