Critic's Choice

From a New Orleans tradition as old as the bordellos of Storyville, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band continues to reinvent Dixieland jazz with ace musicianship, dynamic interplay and horns aplenty: two trumpets, two saxophones, one trombone and a sousaphone that fattens the bottom end like a wedge of mud pie. Rounding out the fabled "second-line sound" with a snare drummer, a bass drummer and a guitarist, the Crescent City's most relentless touring act has postponed Ash Wednesday for over a quarter of a century and counting. Boo-yah! Celebrating Mardi Gras one last time (honest Cajun), America's ultimate parade band bumps its way into the Fox Theatre on Friday, December 19, and the Gothic Theatre on Saturday, December 20, with local bead-wearing animal Garaj Mahal. In the mood for gospel march? Zydeco a-go-go? A funeral procession that moans and wails -- then explodes into jubilant, brass-charged joy? Dig this, friends of Satchmo: Jelly Roll Morton wrote the carnal blueprint for good times between ragtime and early jazz (when Charlie Chaplin mattered most), armed with nothing more than the ability to stare death in the eye...and laugh. En route to such a hallowed destination, the Dirty Dozen has enjoyed several whistle-stops with Dr. John, Dizzy Gillespie, DJ Logic, Miles Davis, Robert Randolph and the Meters. Simple, honest and intense, it ain't nothin' but a party.


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