Audience (II)

Jazz in June 2013 Headliners: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The Show

NOLA Comes to Norman

The city of Norman cel­e­brated its 30th annual Jazz in June music fes­ti­val a cou­ple of weeks ago by shak­ing its hips to the funky grooves of New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Led by Roger Lewis (soprano sax­o­phone, bari­tone sax­o­phone), the band’s lineup also fea­tured Gregory Davis (trum­pet), Efrem Towns (trum­pet, flugel­horn), Kirk Joseph (sousa­phone), and Alvin Ford (drums). Substituting on tenor sax­o­phone and Hammond organ, respec­tively, were Calvin Johnson, Jr. and Richard Knox.

The band’s set included numer­ous tra­di­tional New Orleans tunes, includ­ing Professor Longhair’s Tipitina and Mardis Gras in New Orleans, Jock-​a-​Mo a.k.a. Iko Iko, and St. James Infirmary Blues, as well as crowd pleasers Me Like It Like That and Dirty Old Man.

Audience par­tic­i­pa­tion was manda­tory (not that any­one had to be strong-​armed), with Towns invit­ing a bevy of boda­cious beau­ties onto the stage to shake and shimmy. Bandleader Lewis kept to the shad­ows, mostly giv­ing the lime­light to his fel­low play­ers, but he finally cut loose on the afore­men­tioned Dirty Ol’ Man, wig­gling his hips like a 20-​year-​old and pan­tomim­ing the full lech­ery of the title char­ac­ter while simul­ta­ne­ously wail­ing away on the bari­tone. Twice, Towns thrilled the audi­ence by play­ing the trum­pet and the flugel­horn simul­ta­ne­ously.

About mid­way through the show, local trum­peter Stan Engle joined the band dur­ing a 22 minute med­ley end­ing with that old chest­nut, When the Saints Go Marching In. Other high­lights included James Brown’s Sex Machine and the bur­lesque stan­dard, Harlem Nocturne.

Established in 1977 by Benny Jones together with mem­bers of the Tornado Brass Band, the world famous Dirty Dozen Brass Band rev­o­lu­tion­ized New Orleans brass band music by fus­ing ele­ments of funk, R&B and bebop jazz with tra­di­tional styles. They last played Norman’s Deli in 2001. Here’s to hop­ing they won’t stay away so long in the future!

— Chris J. Zähller

Gallery

The Gallery

About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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