Rain held off at New Orleans Jazz Fest on Thursday morning, letting sousaphone star Kirk Joseph share his New Orleans roots with fans at the Acura Stage. A founding member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Joseph led his own ensemble, Back Yard Groove, through a program of dense, bottom-shaking funk, anchored by his big silver horn.
On Thursday (May 2), Backyard Groove ran about as deep as the Mississippi River, with two trap drummers, two percussionists, a savvy two-man horn section, and a guitarist with a taste for chunky riffs and minimalist melodic fragments. Joseph also turned the spotlight on Kyle Roussel, a young keyboard star who made waves at the Jazz Tent this past weekend.
Vocalist Leslie Smith sailed over the band like an acrobat on a trampoline — and the dancing soul diva was joined for a brief guest spot by Cue, a Treme neighborhood vocal talent.
Sousaphone star Kirk Joseph led his funk jam band, Backyard Groove, through a morning set at the Acura Stage of the New Orleans Jazz Fest on Thursday, May 2, 2013.
For anyone starting their day at the Acura Stage, Joseph’s band gave a delightful lesson in the pan-African pleasures of New Orleans music. The show was especially suited for anyone with a taste for melismatic vocal flights, driving call-and-response structures, and the extended jams of Fela Kuti and Miles Davis circa 1973.
Chris Waddington, NOLA.com
LABEL: Jazz Fest Live, 2012
Legendary New Orleans radio WWOZ chose “Sousafunk Ave” as one of the Top New Orleans CDs for the decade. Albums selected are listed alphabetically by first name below.
Group – Year – Label – CD Title
Aaron Neville – 2003 – Verve – Nature Boy
Bobby Lounge – 2005 – self – I Remember The Night Your Trailer Burned Down
Chris Thomas King – 2006 – 21 Century Blues – Rise
Cubanismo – 2000 – Hannibal – Mardi Gras Mambo
Deacon John – 2003 – VCC – Jump Blues
Dirty Dozen – 2002 – RopeADope – Medicated magic
Dr John – 2004 – EMI – N’awlins Dis Dat or D’udda
Dr John – 2001 – Blue Note – Creole Moon
Eddie Bo – 2001 – self – We Came To Party
George Porter – 2000 – self – Funk n’ Go Nuts
Irma Thomas – 2006 – Rounder – After The Rain
Jeremy Lyons – 2001 – self – Deltabilly Boys
John Boutte – 2003 – Bose – Jambalaya
John Rankin – 2002 – STR – Guitar Gumbo
Jon Cleary – 2004 – Basin St – Pin Your Spin
Jonathan Batiste – 2005 – self – Times in New Orleans
Kermit Ruffins – 2002 – Basin St – Big Easy
Kirk Joseph – 2005 – self – Sousafunk Ave
Leigh Harris – 2001 – self – Polychrome Junction
Leroy Jones – 2002 – self – Back To My Roots
Los Po-Boy-Citos – 2009 – self – New Orleans Latin Soul
Luther Kent – 2009 – VCC – Bobby Bland Songbook
Mark Braud – 2002 – self – Shake It and Break it
Matt Lemmler – 2001 – self – Portraits of Wonder
Matt Perrine – 2007 – self – Sunflower City
Neville Bros – 2004 – self – Walkin in the Shadow of Life
New Orleans Nightcrawlers – 2009 – Threadheads – Slither Slice
Nicholas Payton – 2001 – Verve – Dear Louis
Panorama Jazz Band – 2003 – self – A Hot Night in February
Papa Grows Funk – 2001 – self – Doin’ It
Sansone, Krown & Fohl – 2004 – self – Sansone, Krown & Fohl
Snooks Eaglin – 2002 – Money Pit – The Way It Is
Tim Laughlin – 2003 – self – Isle of Orleans
Tom McDermott – 2001 – STR – The Crave
Tricia Boutte – 2007 – Herman – Oh Mahalia
Troy Andrews – 2005 – self – The End of the Beginning
Vavavoom – 2006 – self – Melomania
Zigaboo – 2000 – self – Zigaboo.com
– Tom Morgan, wwoz.org
Sousaphonist Kirk Joseph puts his solitary mark on the hard-driving opener, “Backyard Groove.” He and guest, saxophonist Donald Harrison, who lays down his own distinctive stamp, engage in some fine bobbing and weaving with solid riffing by the horns of trumpeter Raymond Williams and saxophonist Sherik Akbar. Drummer Kevin O’Day is just all over this tune. Expect the unexpected on this package from the sousaphone master as the next voice—and piano—up is Dr. John, on the aptly titled “Laid Back.” It’s a natural to slide right into the good doctor’s easy frame mind on this relaxed number. Here, guitarist Hironari Mano gets some well-utilized solo time. Throughout the disc, there’s a bunch of mixing it up with various musicians and styles. For instance, rap meets brassy funk on “A Walker’s Groove” and a tropical sway brushes “Thinking of Her” with “Mean” Willie Green on wickedly wonderful percussion. Of course, funk is the main ingredient at the barbecue though Joseph takes advantage of the presence of Dr. John and Harrison at the roast and allows some quiet time as he thoughtfully backs them on the ballad, “I Can’t Get Started.” The Bonerama horns turn up for “Blackout” and later Theresa Andersson brings her violin and voice to join an array of other guests on the skanking “No Meat.” There’s plenty on the grill to select from this Backyard Groove bash.
Geraldine Wyckoff, offbeat.com
Kirk Joseph is one of the founding members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Visit the DDBB on Amazon.com for a listing of recordings.
“New Orleans’ most passionate and well-known brass band that finds the funk regardless of which genre they decide to delve into.”
– Hal Horowitz
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is credited with reviving the brass band tradition in New Orleans.In 1977, The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans began showcasing a traditional Crescent City brass band. It was a joining of two proud, but antiquated, traditions at the time: social and pleasure clubs dated back over a century to a time when black southerners could rarely afford life insurance, and the clubs would provide proper funeral arrangements. Brass bands, early predecessors of jazz as we know it, would often follow the funeral procession playing somber dirges, then once the family of the deceased was out of earshot, burst into jubilant dance tunes as casual onlookers danced in the streets. By the late ’70s, few of either existed. The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club decided to assemble this group as a house band, and over the course of these early gigs, the seven-member ensemble adopted the venue’s name: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Thirty-five years later, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a world famous music machine, whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-octane performances. They have revitalized the brass band in New Orleans and around the world, progressing from local parties, clubs, baseball games and festivals in their early years to touring nearly constantly in the U.S. and in over 30 other countries on five continents. The Dirty Dozen have been featured guests on albums by artists including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and the Black Crowes. The city of New Orleans even has an official Dirty Dozen Brass Band Day.