Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Music Fridays – Tuba Can’t Be Cool, Can It? Yes, yes it can.

Posted by middlerage on April 12, 2013

I heard this song on a local funk show and was immediately taken. It of course goes out to all my readers, but with an extra special helping of dedication to Dahveed and Nieuw.

The band is the Soul Rebels, and I 95% luv this jam, with my 5% reservation owing to the overly brassy, shrill sound of the horns. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big lover of brass jazz, but it sometimes devolves to a tinny sound (e.g. Dixieland) that just grates on me. Which is why I showcase only this one song from this band. The Rebels have other songs on the ‘net, but they suffer from the quonk, and don’t have the charm of this recognizable cover.

Question for the musicians… is the bouncing ball, back-and-forth trading of beats, what is known as syncopation? If not, then what is this (and for that matter, what is syncopation)?

(And, oh yes, Tea Time loves the 80s…)


5 Responses to “Music Fridays – Tuba Can’t Be Cool, Can It? Yes, yes it can.”

  1. The second-line brass bands were pretty much the origin of jazz. If the characteristic over-driven trumpet sound reminds you of dixieland, it’s because dixieland players got that sound from the brass bands.

    Syncopation is the interruption of a predictable rhythm. In that “Sweet Dreams” arrangement, all the lines played together produce the steady eighth-note pulse, but each player plays only a bit of the rhythm before handing it off to someone else. It’s syncopation in that each player starts playing the eighth notes but then unexpectedly stops, letting another player take over.

    Another recognizable cover, by a different brass band, that I also like:

    • Anonymous said

      Nice. I could google 2nd line brass band, but I’ll just be lazy and ask you to tell more about what those are.

      • The roots of jazz are in New Orleans brass bands. Brass bands were the loudest possible groups, man-for-man, from the late 1800s until the invention of electric amplification. This made brass bands the obvious choice for outdoor dances, or indoor dances where you wanted to be physically moved by the music.

        New Orleans had a unique combination of a mild climate which made outdoor dance concerts a year-round possibility, a cosmopolitan populace that was interested in music (which resulted in a lively musical performance culture and a stock of cheap brass instruments available), and a large black population with a distinct musical heritage.

        Brass bands became an integral part of New Orleans culture, whether they were playing a completely formal dance concert at a resort at the west end of Lake Pontchartrain or a sweaty bar gig in Storyville. They also functioned as advertising — whether they were marching down the street advertising a new furniture store, a wedding celebration, trying to draw bodies to swell the crowd of mourners at a funeral procession, or trying to attract more paying customers to a bar or brothel. They also supplied (and continue to do so) the musical entertainment for Mardi Gras parades.

        But anyway…

        The “second line” started as the funeral mourners who followed a funeral procession. There was a tradition of hiring bodies to fill out the crowd, but it was discovered that a good band would bring out volunteers. So the “second line” was the non-players who followed the band down the street. Over time a quasi-dance tradition developed and second-liners started carrying umbrellas that they used for group choreography.

        A second-line brass band is, at this point, a brass band that springs from this tradition. In the right circumstance they might attract a second line. But even if they don’t, they’re still a second-line brass band.

  2. Dahveed said

    Finally got around to watching this. My loss! This was #$@ing awesome! I spent a late night a few years ago programming the synth sounds and drum patterns to sequence the main _Sweet Dreams_ riff. I think I like brass version better!

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