Rebirth Brass Band
The Rebirth Brass Band is so essential to the fabric of musical life in New Orleans that it seemed only logical that this was the first music heard in the first episode of David Simon's post-Katrina HBO dramatic series Treme. Of course, the very name of this seven-piece band, founded in Treme by brothers Phillip and Keith Frazier and long since departed alumnus Kermit Ruffins, carries deep metaphorical resonance for a city and region struggling to be reborn. This year, Rebirth celebrated its 30th anniversary with the typically joyful Move Your Body, showing again that although the current fresh wave of Crescent City brass bands may be more musically adventurous than earlier waves, few are as reliable as Rebirth at getting the dance floor going. At Union Transfer on Friday, fellow New Orleanians Naughty Professor will open the show.
- Dan DeLuca
Television's iconic status rests on a slim body of work: 1977's sui generis classic Marquee Moon, 1978's underrated Adventure, and 1992's more-than-worthy Television, plus a few live albums. But those records form a guitar-lover's paradise, with songs both panoramic and pithy and dual lead guitars that spiral away from one another or lock into serrated riffs. Helmed by Tom Verlaine, who grew up in Delaware before running away to New York City, Television was a mainstay of CBGB's at the birth of NYC punk, but when he and fellow guitarist Richard Lloyd stretched "Little Johnny Jewel" and "Marquee Moon" past the 10-minute mark, they basically invented post-punk. Lloyd left the band in 2007 and was replaced by Verlaine's longtime associate Jimmy Rip, and a new album has been rumored for years. Guitar worshipers can congregate at the TLA Monday night for a rare live Television performance.
- Steve Klinge
It's been 25 years since Ted Horowitz came blasting out of the Bronx as Popa Chubby. The New York City borough and birthplace of hip-hop is not a bastion of the blues, but from the start the rotund guitar-slinger displayed a confident command of the music and used the blues as a base to forge his own distinctive style. It's a style that, fittingly for a former punk-rocker, incorporates heavy doses of rock but also mixes the aggression with some genuinely soulful moments. It's also a style that allows Chubby's personality - as outsize as his girth - to blaze through while he skirts most of the clichés of the blues. The title of his new album is
I'm Feelin' Lucky
, but at this point it's clear that Chubby has a lot more going for him than just good fortune.
- Nick Cristiano