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CD REVIEW: Jambalaya Brass Band - It's a Jungle Out There
By Cyrus Rhodes - 12/30/2010 - 12:04 AM EST

Artist: Jambalaya Brass Band
Album: It’s a Jungle Out There
Label: Redwood Entertainment
Genre: Jazz/Funk/Pop/R&B
Sounds Like: Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Jambalaya Got Fire, Super Sunday, P.F. Flyer
Weakness: Winded Songs, Very Busy Production
CD Review:

New York's own Jambalaya Brass Band releases their latest CD entitled It’s a Jungle out There in 2010. The title: like the band name suggests takes us back to our deep American which originated down in in a place called New Orleans where this amazing style of music was born. Members include Ric Frank (Tenor Sax), Walt Szymanski (Trumpet), Curtis Fowlkes Trombone) Ron Caswell (Tuba) & Washington Duke (Drum Kit), Chauncey Yearwood (percussion) & a slew of guest players All aforementioned members listed also play percussion & sing. Former members include a list of over 50 names.

The CD lights things off with the title track a slamming intro piece that sets the stage rather appropriately for this catalog of music. This first piece explodes in your ears quite like a lemon would explode in your mouth. It has a driving low end groove, set against hooky horns against a grand mosaic of sound & melody. Track 2 entitled “Specifunlify” serves up a steady low end Tuba driven groove served up hot against pulsating melody & horn harmonies & layering that can be described as captivating, mesmerizing & infectious. Track 3 “Repossessed” keeps things moving in the right direction as it explodes into a kaleidoscope of sound with horns, well placed percussive accents & even vocal harmonies,  that come at you from every which direction. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic New Orleans style Jazz served up hot in classic jam band fashion. Also present are impressive Latin rhythms & worldly percussive accents. Influences no doubt include the usual cast of characters: Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Max Roach, Duke Ellington Orchestra & even Buddy Rich. Also present are elements of R&B, Gospel, Funk, Zydeco, Latin, World, Hip Hop, & even Be-Bop. The music is extremely melodic but definitely brings to the table a lot of musical variety & a lot of musical variety & a degree of unpredictability. You never really know what waiting for you around the next corner on this CD. It definitely offers a lot of musical variety, & is listening experience that is highly original. The music is packed to the hilt chopped full of world class brass instrumentation that lunge at you from every direction. There's not really a dull moment on the entire production & like a heavy weight fighter this CD doesn’t hold back. From slamming “The Beast” & “Mardi Gras In New Orleans”  to hooky “Jambalaya Got Fire” to hypnotic “P.’F. Flyer” this CD has something for just about everyone. There’s even a splashes of Latin “P’a Gozar” & “Super Sunday”

Sometimes it's the notes you don't play that make you the composer or player you are. At the end of the day “It’s a Jungle out There” is one of the busiest, in your face productions I've ever come across. If this band was an interior decorator it might elect to stick a painting on every square inch of the wall. Sometimes a blank wall is appropriate, not requiring a panting stuck there. All songs over 5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. With all due respect to the word Jazz & all the ridiculous standards that go with it, I think it needs to be said this catalog is really more like old school Jam Band Jazz. 

From start to finish It’s a Jungle out There” is one of the most diverse musical experiences I’ve ever encountered this year. It’s extremely consistent, original, & very melodic. Its strength - its amazing originality, rich melodic brass layering, & classic Americana groove that will take you back to our Americana roots. It’s strong suit is it’s amazing diversity. Like the aforementioned you will hear brief splashes of R&B, Gospel, Funk, Zydeco, Latin, World, Hip Hop, & Even Be-Bop. Make no bones about it folks these cats can play in classic jam band fashion. When this ride is over you will be dazzled by its style, overwhelmed by its classic sound, & worn out from all the toe tapping. 

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