CONCERT REVIEW: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band


Last night, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band brought a little taste of N’awlins to The Blockley in west Philly where they greeted fans of all ages with a blistering, crowd-pleasing performance. The band, which is touring in celebration of their new album, Twenty Dozen, delivered a mixed bag of old and new tunes that had feets stompin’ and asses shakin’. Their signature funk-jazz fusion is a breeding ground for improvisation, providing each member a chance to display his musical dexterity. The Dozen, who has sustained several lineup changes over its 35-year career, is grounded by original members Gregory Davis on trumpet, Roger Lewis on baritone sax, Kevin Harris on tenor sax, Efrem Towns on trumpet, and Kirk Joseph on sousaphone. Drummer Terence Higgins and keyboardist Kyle Roussel round out the ensemble as the newer additions to the band. The band got the crowd moving with a particularly rousing rendition of fan-favorite “Charlie Dozen” and turned the audience into a sweaty mess of flailing limbs with “Kidd Jordan’s Second Line.” The Dirty Dozen proved that they still have the funk with their new song “Tomorrow”, which latticed Davis’s rich vocals through corridors of bold brass lines and spanking percussion. They tied it all together with the traditional “When the Saints Go Marching In”, which also makes an appearance on Twenty Dozen, and affirmed their uncanny ability to take old standards and breathe new life into them. Last night’s performance served as validation to their 35 years of making music and solidified their presence as a New Orleans institution. In short, The Dozen’s still got it. — MEREDITH KLEIBER