Dirty Dozen Brass Band comes to Fairfield Theatre Co.

The Fairfield Theatre Company gets the Vibes party started early as they welcome The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Friday, July 24, at 7:30 p.m., at StageOne, 70 Sanford Street.

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. At a time when black southerners could rarely afford life insurance, these clubs would provide proper funeral arrangements and brass bands, early predecessors of jazz, would often follow the funeral procession playing somber dirges.

Then once the family of the deceased was out of earshot, the band would burst into jubilant dance tunes as casual onlookers danced in the streets. By the late ‘70s, few of these establishments still existed. In honor of where they began, The Dirty Dozen Brass band adopted the venues name in honor of The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club.

Now 35 years later, this seven piece band is a world famous music machine, whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-octane performances. The Dirty Dozen 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.

Having been featured as guests on albums by artists including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and the Black Crowes, The Dirty Dozen are even celebrated by The city of New Orleans, who even have an official Dirty Dozen Brass Band Day, to celebrate their accomplishment.

Yet, to describe how the Dirty Dozen Brass Band has arrived at its 35th Anniversary, trumpet player Gregory Davis employs a tried-and true New Orleans-centric analogy: “It ends up being like a pot of gumbo – you drop in a little okra, drop in a little shrimp, you drop in some crabs. Before you know it, you’ve mixed in all these different ingredients and you’ve got a beautiful soup. That was our approach to music early on and it still is today.”

And boy do they still have it today! Baritone sax player Roger Lewis – who, like Davis, has been with the combo since its inception in the late 70’s echoes that sentiment.

“It’s a big old musical gumbo, and that probably made the difference, separating us from other brass bands out of New Orleans. It put a different twist on the music. We were not trying to change anything, we were just playing the music we wanted to play and not stay in one particular bag.”

Coming now to StageOne, fans with an appetite for musicological adventure, a commitment to honor tradition, get ready as The Dirty Dozen brings this and so much more to the intimate venue in celebration of their 35th year, as well as the release of Twenty Dozen, the septet’s first studio release in six years.

The new album, cut at the Music Shed in New Orleans, reunites the band with producer Scott Billington, who helmed DDBB’s first major-label release, Voodoo, in 1989. It’s a resolutely upbeat effort that seamlessly blends R&B, jazz, funk, Afro-Latino grooves, some Caribbean flavor, and even a Rihanna cover that reaches an exuberant peak with a medley of New Orleans staples, including a particularly high-spirited rendering of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

For tickets, at $35 members, $3 member discount, visit fairfieldtheatre.org or call 203-259-1036.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

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