Dirty Dozen Brass Band | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Dirty Dozen Brass Band 

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Only in New Orleans could purveyors of a musical tradition that extends back to the post-Reconstruction era become pop stars. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band swing, strut, and booty-shake their way through everything from classic Crescent City standards to contemporary funk, with equal amounts of bebop virtuosity and SunRa-like adventurism thrown in. Purists may shudder, but the musicianship behind the Dozen's eclectic gumbo is unassailable, and their fusion of influences is only an updating of the mix-and-boil celebration of diverse heritages that's characterized New Orleans music since the days when slaves and voodoo priestesses danced in Congo Square. Drummers Jennell Marshall and Lionel Batiste, along with the astounding sousaphone wizard Kirk Joseph, create a rhythm that's both daringly free and relentlessly sure; meanhwile the frontline horns improvise both collectively and individually, sometimes skirting on chaos but constantly spiraling toward ecstasy. As if all this weren't enough, gris-gris master Doctor John will headline the show, assuming he can find the bandstand after the Dozens have finished burning it down. Tuesday, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-033 or 427-1190.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mike Smith.

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