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Whenever I tell folks I like New Orleans brass bands, I gotta convince them that the groups are funky like old-school DC go-go combos, not sedate like old-fashioned Dixieland troupes. That is the case with Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, who are appearing at the Surf Club Thursday night (conflict of interest note—I told them about area clubs when they were booking the tour). Except Digdown is from Wisconsin not the 9th Ward.
Fascinated with the second line parade percussion and the booming horns of the Crescent City, Digdown has spent over a decade traveling down there as often as possible to soak up the approach and then add a little something of their own to it. Covering standards like “I’ll Fly Away,” and adding in some originals, this horn (sousaphone, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, and sax) and percussion (bass and snare drums) unit has toured Europe and played in New Orleans.
These guys are serious about their craft. A few years back, I discovered an I Love Music chatboard thread called “New Orleans Brass Bands S/D” that featured extensive posting from Mama Digdown’s bass drum player, Jordan Cohen. Only occasionally talking about his own group, Cohen has highlighted vets like Dirty Dozen as well as the Rebirth Brass Band, New Birth Brass Band, Hot 8 Brass Band, Lil’ Rascals Brass Band, Treme Brass Band, Soul Rebels Brass Band, and more. With Dirty Dozen and Rebirth having made recent local appearances, tonight’s gig offers locals another current opportunity to shake their thangs to this still vital street marching jazzy sound.
Thursday June 18, 2009-Mama Digdown’s Brass Band with local zydeco and New Orleans r’n’b band Little Red & the Renegades from 8 to 12 midnight at the Surf Club, 4711 Kenilworth Avenue, Hyattsville MD. 301-927-6310