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The Treme Brass Band

The Treme Brass Band is one of the nouveau brass bands in New Orleans that owes a musical debt to both the late, great Danny Barker, who jump-started the dying brass band tradition with his Fairview Baptist Church School for Brass Bands, and the innovative Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Since the Dozen's success, a number of other bands have come up. The Treme Brass Band is one of the leaders in the genre and has featured a stellar cast of musicians, including Kermit Ruffins and James Andrews.

The Treme neighborhood in New Orleans is more than just a place, it's a feeling. It has been described by singer John Boutté in his song "Down in the Treme" about the people walking by and the music that emanates from each doorway, giving the community a sense of identity and joy. The members of the Treme Brass Band grew up with that sensibility. Music is the lifeblood of New Orleans in general and the Treme in particular, where jam sessions thrive. Just across the way, at the renowned Donna's Bar and Grill on Rampart Street, music lovers can hear local favorites, including Bob French, Sista Teedy, George French, Germaine Bazzle, or the Treme Brass Band. Bandleader and snare drummer Benny Jones might be leading the crowd in a rollicking version of the group's signature tune, "Gimme My Money Back." Bass drummer Lionel Batiste may be flirting with the ladies while he and the tuba player Kerwin James keep the beat for a variety of brass instruments, including the trumpet, trombone, and saxophone. But one thing is certain: Everyone is having a great time to the quintessential street music of New Orleans.

The brass band tradition goes back to the early days at the turn of the last century, when the bands -- always in demand -- played for parties, parades, funerals, or any occasion that called for music to accompany the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs that thrive until this day. The street parades, which often went on for hours and miles, developed their own unique characteristics that are carried on by the new generation of players.

The Treme Brass Band pays homage to its hometown heritage in many of the tunes on two CD's, Gimme My Money Back (1995) and I Got a Big Fat Woman (1996). "The Old Rugged Cross" is played in traditional dirge style, while "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" gets a souped up beat. There are allusions to historic places and events, like the "Back O' Town Blues" and the "Darktown Strutters Ball." A song made famous by Louis Armstrong gets big play: "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You," along with the "Food Stamp Blues." The funky beat, brassy rhythms, and boisterous laughter announce that you are in the City That Care Forgot, and that you are listening to the new wave of brass band music, interpreted the Treme Brass Band way, as the Second Line heads out the door. ~ Rose of Sharon Witmer
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: A New Orleans Visit: Before Katrina

5. Bosco Stomp

9. The Blues Won't Let Me Take My Rest

10. Henry's Bounce

11. The Little Red Rooster

12. Cold Chills

16. Just A Closer Walk With Thee

17. I'll Fly Away

18. Sing On

x

Track List: Arhoolie 40th Anniversary Collection 1960 - 2000

Disc 1

1. San Francisco Bay Blues

2. Mercury Blues

3. Shake Shake Mama

4. Cairo Blues

6. One Thin Dime

7. Charmin' Betsy

9. I Am The Black Ace

10. Brother James

15. Bald Headed Woman

19. The Country Blues

20. Crowley Waltz

22. Ay, Ai Ai

23. Write Me A Few Lines

24. Charlie James

25. Louisiana Blues

Disc 2

1. Cindy

2. Little Red Rooster

6. I Wonder Where You Are Tonight

9. Sometimes I Cry

10. Two Bugs And A Roach

11. Dream

12. Things Gonna Get Better

13. Visions

17. Please Settle In Vietnam

18. Shake 'em On Down

21. Finger Lickin' Good

Disc 3

1. Church Point Breakdown

3. Gibson Creek Shuffle

5. You Ain't Got A Chance

7. Satan's Burning Hell

8. Luzita

12. Allons A Grand Coteau

15. Fast Santa Fe (Bear Cat)

16. I'll See You In C-U-B-A

17. El Balaju

21. Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio

22. Mi Problema

Disc 4

1. Gritenme Piedras Del Campo

2. Co-Fe

3. Single Girl

4. Bee De La Manche

6. Negra Ausencia

12. Here To Stay

13. I Know That's Right

19. Hot Chili Mama

21. El Canoero

23. San Francisco Can Be Such A Lonely Town

Disc 5

5. Food Stamp Blues

6. Ain't It A Shame

8. La Mal Sentada

9. Falling For You

14. El Corrido De Esequiel Hernandez

15. What's His Name-Jesus

16. Just A Closer Walk With Thee

x

Track List: Dead & Gone #1 - Trauermarsche - Funeral Marches

x

Track List: They All Played For Us: Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Celebration

4. Voy Caminando

5. El Chuchumbe

6. Vigilante Man

7. Wooly Bully

8. Let Me Fall

9. Long Lost Lover Blues

10. C-U-B-A

11. I've Got What It Takes

12. Bee La Manche

13. La Valse A Pop

14. Boudreaux / J'ai Ete Au Zydeco

15. The Free Mexican Air Force

16. Break My Heart Again

21. I Bid You Goodnight (Feat. Genny Haley)

27. Le Fond De Culottes / La Danse De La Misere

28. Separation Waltz

29. Tes Parents Ne Veulent Plus Me Voir

30. Joe Simien Special

36. Port Arthur Blues

37. Marie

38. Midland Two Step

39. I Made A Big Mistake

40. Amede Two Step

41. Parading To The Freight & Salvage

42. A Jazz Funeral

43. My Bucket's Got A Hole In It

44. Welfare Blues

45. When The Saints Go Marching In

50. I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag

51. Save The Whales

52. Oklahoma Hills

53. End Of My Journey

54. Going Home On The Morning Train

55. Jump For Joy

56. Mexico Americano

57. Prenda Del Alma

58. Arizona, Estado De Verguenza

59. Puno De Tierra

60. Lapin Dans Son Nique

61. 'Tits Yeux Noirs

62. Quo Faire

63. Reno Waltz

64. Eunice Two Step

65. Blues With A Feeling

66. Roscoe's Mule Down In Roscoe's Barn

67. Fishing Blues

68. Corinna

69. The New Hula Blues

x

Track List: Treme: Music From The HBO Original Series, Season 1

1. Indian Red

2. My Indian Red

3. We Made It Through That Water

4. Time Is On My Side

7. Skokiaan

8. My Dawlin' New Orleans

9. Buona Sera

10. Indian Red (Wild Man Memorial)

11. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You

12. Drinka Little Poison (4 U Die)

13. This City

14. Shame Shame Shame

15. I Hope Your Comin' Back To New Orleans

16. Feel Like Funkin' It Up

17. New Orleans Blues

18. Just A Closer Walk With Thee

19. Ooh Poo Pah Doo

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