July Music Reviews

00:00 June 26, 2012
By: David Vicari
[Courtesy of Savoy Jazz, LLC]

Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Twenty Dozen
Savoy Jazz, LLC

There is nothing more traditional to New Orleans than a brass band. The renowned Dirty Dozen Brass Band is at it again with their latest hit album, Twenty Dozen.

The 35-year-old band puts together an exuberant mixture of classic traditional brass band sounds with new school funk in a way that can only be done in New Orleans. But don't be mistaken, Dirty Dozen Brass Band is well known for their worldly musical performances and their travels.

They have performed in places from The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to Madison Square Garden in New York City. Dirty Dozen's music has also been featured on the HBO hit series "Treme."
Twenty Dozen celebrates the group's 35th anniversary. It is for sure, as the band would say, "a big old musical gumbo." They easily put a twist on the timeless classic nature of a standard brass band to make their own sound, which is a sound like no other.

Their music and style is vibrant, euphoric and an all-around good time. Dirty Dozen are veterans in the industry and are a tradition within themselves. Be sure to get your copy soon, if not for anything else, get it in the name of tradition.—Kimmie Tubré

Stephanie Jordan Big Band
Stephanie Jordan: Sings a Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne
Vige Music

What a voice! Big band jazz vocalist Stephanie Jordan has a voice that is as pleasing to the soul as it is thrilling. Jordan pours out a pure and strong sound that stands amongst some of the best females in jazz.
On her debut, she uses her skills to belt out classics such as "The Lady is a Tramp" while mixing them with soft, inspirational tunes like, "Believe in Yourself, " creating a standout album.

Her opera-like vocal strength, blended with the warm temperaments of jazz, creates such a fantastically soothing sound. Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne demonstrates Jordan's ability to belt out some of the best jazz tunes trailed by the classic sounds of a big band. But don't worry; Stephanie holds her ground amongst the instruments from the soft piano to the brass horns.

Jordan's remarkable vocal timing and tremendous pipes will put a smile on your face from the very first listen.—Kimmie Tubré

The Limit
The Limit
Cheap Reward Records


The Limit's self-titled LP is not a new album per se, but a re-release. This "power pop" band formed in New Orleans in the early 1980s with current Ghost Town vocalist Christian Serpas on the mic and bass guitar, Manny Reyes on guitar, Justin Patrick Newbury on drums until 1982, and Jeff Oteri on drums in 1983.
The Limit found an audience amidst the surging rock scene of the city, often performing shows and having their songs aired on WRNO. The first thing you hear on Side Two of the album is an advertisement from that station for their shows at Tupelo's and Showboat happening that weekend. The Limit even performed in the home they shared together, entertaining their friends and fans with their punk and new-wave fusion music. Think The Cars meets The Clash with a little bit of Iggy Pop & The Stooges thrown in for edge. Christian Serpas sounds very much like Car's vocalist Benjamin Orr on this album.

But by 1984, the band had broken up due to members leaving and a lack of momentum. Cheap Rewards Records out of Austin, Texas, never forgot about The Limit and compiled this 13-song LP to showcase their greatest hits, previously unheard material, and some live performances; songs entitled "She's So European," "Candy Rocks," and possibly their best known song "Modern Girl." The album is available once again in vinyl (only 500 copies made), and as a digital album. It's a real blast from the past for the old punks of New Orleans.—Emily Hingle

Will Bernard Trio
Outdoor Living
Dreck to Disk Records

Apparently, New Orleans isn't the only place breeding electric jazz musicians. Renowned Berkeley native Will Bernard has proven his guitar funk jazz strengths over the years, bringing a little piece of NOLA everywhere he performs. Though Bernard has never lived in New Orleans, the New York resident has definitely been influenced by the cultures of the music-rich city.

On his sixth album, Outdoor Living, Bernard plays funkier than funk soul jazz, presenting himself through his earthy, adventurous sound. The album is the perfect example of the freeness in jazz music. Bernard exhilarates with his guitar, creating fun-filled music with a sense of ease.

Similar to his talents, Bernard's music has no limits. The genre is jazz, yet the album itself is versatile and exciting.
—Kimmie Tubré

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