The Rebirth Brass Band

The Maple Leaf Bar

June 01, 2004

I'm thinking about turning my Rebirth hand stamp into a tattoo. The good people at The Maple Leaf Bar placed the Rebirth name on the inside of my wrist last night, and it's looks pretty good there. What other New Orleans band would I endure pain and a lifetime message for? Can't think of one.

There is no other New Orleans band that brings the ruckus like Rebirth. There's no need to worry about their song selection. Whatever they play is good. Also, you know how's there's insta-mix for food? Rebirth is like an insta-party. You don't have to worry about dancing. You're gonna dance your ass off.

The place was full as bandleader/sousaphonist Philip Frazier and company kicked out the jams. Frazier was backed by bass drummer Keith Frazier, snare drummer Derrick Tabb, saxophonist Byron Bernard, trumpeters Derrick Shezbie, Glen Andrews, Shamarr Allen, and trombonists Herbert Stevens and Stafford Agee. Bernard stood out from the rest. His crisp, angelic sound could have come straight off a pop record.

From the first song on, people danced like crazy and stood on the benches to get a better look. The band got the crowd clapping, and they kept the positive energy up by giving each other props and doing their best Lil' John impressions. Frazier kicked off each song, and a highlight was "Roll With It," a recognizable number that encapsulated what Rebirth is like when at their best. Everybody was blowing, there must have only been one melody, but there sounded like more. They tricked my ears. The smooth snare rolls and the syncopated beat threw me into a frenzy. I was dancing.

These guys have been around for 21 years. Frazier said recently in an Offbeat article the band will retire from the streets after 25 years. Get in your Rebirth shows while you can.

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