Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tunes: Rebirth Brass Band live at The Tractor Tavern

Last night we went to the wilds of Ballard, a formerly Scandanavian enclave in Seattle that is now becoming one of the 'hip' places to live. There are still traces of the 'old' Ballard, but they are just that, traces.

One of them is The Tractor Tavern, just down the street from Hattie's Hat (a bar that has the reputation for serving very strong drinks, or so a 12-step friend of mine told me) in the commercial section of the neighborhood. Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans was scheduled to play at 9:00 p.m. that night. Given that they are a product of New Orleans, I expected that they would arrive late, start late, and play long and late. We met some friends and ate at Lombardi's on Market Street and then walked down to the Tractor, about 4 blocks. We got there about 8:30 and snagged one of the few tables there, so we had a place to sit when we wanted to.

This is the second time that Rebirth has been at the Tractor. The last time they came, Claire (my Tulane-educated, New Orleans-loving daughter) and I decided to go on the day they were playing. We were sorely disappointed when we were not able to get in as tickets had all been sold out. Totally bummed, we knew we would not make that mistake if they ever came back. This time we bought our tickets a month in advance. A good thing we did, as they sold out again last night.

Rebirth showed up right around 9 o'clock and by 9:20 they were playing.Very surprising that they were so close to on-time. They are the ultimate New Orleans street band. The music is new funk backed by a strong second line rhythm section (bass drum, snare drums, and tuba). The rest of the band was two trombones, a saxaphone and two trumpets. Rebirth was formed in 1983 and has been going strong for 25 years now. They played some of their old favorites (Do What Ya Wanna, The Roof Is On Fire, It's All Over Now, Feel Like Funkin' It Up), but they also played some new stuff. They did a version of Duke Ellington's Caravan that was totally awesome, as well as a tune that teased me because I couldn't identify it, though I knew that I knew it. At any rate, they played for 2 and a half hours, ending right around midnight, which is ok by me as I had to get up for work the next day.

If you get the chance to see them, do so. They are truly superb and are not to be missed. You can get their music at lots of online stores, but the one I prefer to shop at for my N'awlins fix is The Louisiana Music Factory. That way, I know that at least some greater portion of the money will be staying in the NOLA area instead of lining the coffers of Amazon or whomever. This is also the only online place where you an get Ballzack's music.

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I'm currently 60 years old. I currently work as the learning management system specialist for American University of Madaba in Madaba, Jordan. I was originally certified as a high-school English teacher and taught school for 13 years (1 year of substituting, 1 year of 7th grade, 2 years of a combined 5th, 6th, 7th grade, 9 years of 8th grade). I've worked for hardware and software companies for the past 23 years doing training, training materials development, certification test development and other education related stuff. My wife and I have raised four children to adulthood; some of them live at home at the moment, but that won't last (they're too independent for that). We live at home with 2 Golden Retrievers, 2 black cats, a crazy cat, and, during the winter, 70,000 coho salmon.