Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

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Dirty Dozen Brass Band

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The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a New Orleans, Louisiana, brass band. The ensemble was established in 1977 by Benny Jones together with members of the Tornado Brass Band. The Dirty Dozen revolutionized the New Orleans brass band style by incorporating funk and bebop into the traditional New Orleans style, and has been a major influence on the majority of New Orleans brass bands since.


The Dirty Dozen Brass Band ultimately grew out of the youth music program established by Danny Barker at New Orleans' Fairview Baptist Church. In 1972 Barker started the Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band, with the goal of providing young people with a positive outlet for their energies; the band achieved considerable local popularity and transformed itself a professional outfit led by trumpeter Leroy Jones and known as the Hurricane Brass Band. By 1976, however, opportunities for brass bands were drying up; Jones left the group to play mainstream jazz and, after a brief period as the Tornado Brass Band, the group fell apart.

Nevertheless, a few of the musicians from the Tornado band—trumpeter Gregory Davis, sousaphonist Kirk Joseph, trombonist Charles Joseph, and saxophonist Kevin Harris–continued to rehearse together into 1977, and they were joined by Efrem Towns and Roger Lewis on saxophone and Benny Jones and Jenell Marshall on drums. By this point the popularity of brass band music in New Orleans was at a low ebb, and paying gigs were rare, a circumstance which influenced...
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