Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh How I'll Ramble

The Olympia Brass Band, so named for New Orleans' Olympia Street where the group first began performing, is synonymous with the street style of New Orleans brass playing. Also, with left-handed sousaphone playing.

The city of New Orleans has numerous musical traditions that incorporate brass playing (I'll detail others later in the semester) and street playing stands out as a style that has not been intellectualized. Standard repertoire includes spirituals, hymns, marches, funeral dirges (!) and other colloquial (dare I say folk) music that is part of the aural collective. Aesthetically, the music defies the Western fixation on tone (blending isn't really an area of concern) and incorporates primitive jazz rhythms and energetic zeal.

Famous tubists who have played in the Olympia Band include Allan Jaffe (expect him and his son to reappear in a post about Dixieland) and Tuba Fats Lacen (he'll be back in the funk section). Here's a video of the group playing a dirge in "Live and Let Die" alongside Bond. James Bond.

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