Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
There are an innumerable amount of bands and musicians on the planet. All working to make a mark, tell a story and be part of something bigger than a single moment.
In the early 80s, the Rebirth Brass Band was born in New Orleans by the Frazier brothers and their friends and schoolmates.
Bass drummer Keith Frazier can mark a moment in his childhood that brass music took root in his heart. His stepfather took him for a special outing. “He brought us to a parade. We had never seen it before, the parade lasted nine hours. This was before we had to get a permit to parade on the streets. As long as you weren’t on a major street, you could parade around anytime, anywhere. So the parade lasted from 12, noon to probably nine at night.”
Something about that energy, the music, and joy carved out Frazier’s future.
When it comes to the future of the genre of brass bands, he hopes that genre’s continue to be fluid. “I hope it becomes popular, just like any other genre. R&B, rap, hip hop, country, when you turn on the station and you hear a brass band song – despite the station that you’re playing,” says Frazier. “Country might throw a brass band song in it. Because we do country also, we can do anything with the lineup that we have. And so I think it harkens back to horn music, as Americans we’ve gotten away from that.”
Those collaborations are something that Rebirth Brass Band knows well – they’ve toured with Red Hot Chili Peppers and have been featured on countless projects across genres.
When it comes to the history of brass music and it’s deep connection to New Orleans, Frazier is kind enough to give me a history lesson. “I think the legacy has stayed because it’s the roots of that legacy in New Orleans. It’s kind of like gold, the money isn’t worth anything without the backing of gold. So our music is steeped in a lot of history of tradition, former slaves who get together in Congo square and do music on Sundays, that carry over to present day time. And so we have such a rich history in it that we’re not just like any other horn band where we get together a group of guys that play some songs and make some songs. We have songs that we call traditional songs. We can go back almost 200 years to those songs. So there’s such a rich history, and maybe that’s why it’s sustained.”
Rebirth Brass Band will be performing November 10 as part of Pensacola’s Jazz for Justice. So just what are attendees in for? “I always ask people, ‘Do you like to dance? That’s why you need to come on out,’” says Frazier. “And most people, even if they can’t dance, they’re like, ‘I like to have a good time though.’ Either way, if you like to dance, if you don’t want to dance, if you want to be uplifted and have a great time, come on out. You can sit still and enjoy it, or you can get up and move something, enjoy it as well.”