Dirty Dozen Brass Band brings a taste of Old New Orleans to Breckenridge
Breckenridge – The illustrious Dirty Dozen Brass Band plays the Riverwalk Center Sunday in one of the most anticipated shows of the Breckenridge Music Festival’s 2011 Blue River Series. The band’s start dates back to 1977 when the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans began showcasing a traditional Crescent City brass band, thereby joining two proud but antiquated traditions at the time. The first tradition, “social and pleasure clubs,” hearkens back over a century to a time when the clubs would provide funeral arrangements for black southerners who could not afford life insurance. The second tradition was the brass bands, which would follow funeral processions playing somber dirges before breaking out into jubilant dance tunes once the deceased’s family was out of earshot. By the late 1970s, few of either tradition existed, so the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club assembled the group as a house band. Over the course of their early gigs, the seven-member ensemble adopted the Dirty Dozen Brass Band as their name, revitalizing a New Orleans tradition that has influenced jazz, rock and almost every other popular genre of music in the last century. “Although the Dirty Dozen uses traditional instrumentation, it doesn’t sound traditional,” said the New York Times’ Mac Randall. “By incorporating elements of modern jazz, pop, R&B and other genres into its style, the band has kept fresh what could easily have become a stodgy, time-bound formula. … Twenty-five years from its New Orleans debut, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band continues to be a national treasure: steeped in both the past and the present, impossible to categorize, and mighty funky.” The band’s name has come to be synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-octane performances, bringing the brass band back not only to New Orleans but also around the world. From its humble beginnings playing local parties, clubs, baseball games and festivals, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band progressed to touring nearly constantly, both in the U.S. and more than 30 countries abroad. They have been featured as guest artists on albums with David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and the Black Crowes.Tickets to see the Dirty Dozen Brass Band are $18 in advance and $23 the day of the show. While their sound may be as unpredictable as the weather in Breckenridge, expect to get up out of your chair, dance and let loose. As John Bell of Widespread Panic put it, “Whether you experience the Dozen on stage or on the street, they are guys anyone would feel lucky to meet in this lifetime. The music that comes through as they perform resonates with feelings of familiarity, uniqueness, humor and daring – all at once, all the time.”
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