The Lowdown Brass Band

The Lowdown Brass Band

Lowdown Brass Band (LDB), hailing from Chicago, is a ten-piece, horn-driven ensemble with strong roots in the New Orleans Second Line Tradition. A fierce sousaphone sets the foundation for trumpets, trombones and saxophones that intertwine in a cacophony of tight lead lines, spontaneous call-and-response and bombastic brass attacks. While taking a page from the jazz and blues giants of the past, LDB melds modern funk, hip-hop, reggae and pop into a unique new style. Lowdown forges new ground with original compositions that challenge the listener and player alike, breaking down the barrier between performer and audience.

The Lowdown Brass Band is:

Trumpets | Shane Jonas & Sam Johnson

Tenor Saxophone | Chris Neal

Baritone Saxophone | David Levine

Trombones | Raphael Crawford, Steve Duncan & Andrew Zelm

Sousaphone | Lance Loiselle

Battery | John Barbush, David Agee, & Mikey “lightning” August

“Get up everybody, clap your hands and stomp your feet – it’s time to get funky!” I kid you not, these guys woke me up with a tuba keeping the main beat/rhythm for the first good portion of the song. There’s no way to be lazy when somebody is working this hard to be happy. Fun fun way to start the week – thanks! Foot tapping or body swaying, doesn’t matter which – the week is started with a smile.

Furious Frank

Furious Frank is a formidable yet friendly group of Chicagoans who are diligently working at the perfection of a unique yet warmly familiar brand of rootsy sonic spillage. Sometimes they are raucous and celebratory, at other times gritty and introspective; they can vamp, chug, clang, wail, groove and pluck (+ strum) string, one moment recklessly rocking the party and then at another expertly bringing down the level of intensity just enough so that two people can, if they so choose, clasp hands and sway. Furious Frank can concoct some wicked gypsy ska on “Another Life”, border on something approximating a low-key collaboration between Tom Waits and Calexico on “Hunkr Down”, and most importantly, bob and weave into a heavy handful of welcome areas that are much less easy to define.

Suffice to say, the band kick up some serious dust that just screams out for a bonfire and a large metal pot full of some sort of simmering sustenance, an epicurean delight that’s destined to be ladled out liberally for the enjoyment of everyone. But the band (at just the right moment) wet down the ground that’s hosting their righteous get-down with the intention that the limbs of those cavorting to their sounds will joyously stomp into the moist soil and allow the thick earthiness to get between their toes and through their pores and into their blood and (finally) into their hearts and consciousness. That, bluntly put, is what Furious Frank is all about. Getting dirty never felt so liberating. Ya’ dig?

-Joseph Neff (The Vinyl District)


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