The Big 6 Brass Band is the sound of New Orleans streets today. The ensemble, which was founded in 2017, amazingly played all but about five of the approximately 40 social aid and pleasure clubs Sunday afternoon parades in the 2018-2019 season. One listen to its debut album, Big Six, makes it easy to understand why it’s so popular, especially with yet another “next generation” of young buckjumpers eager to party down. Its music is hip in its rhythmic attack, forceful with the driving two trombones of Dwayne Finnie and Lamar Heard and often contains relevant lyrics and a stark hip-hop edge. Importantly, the Big 6 do it all with tonally fine ensemble work while seemingly having a ton of fun on all original material.
The album kicks off with trumpeter Chadrick Honore’s “After Party,” that moves with an almost celebratory Caribbean feel that is always welcome on a “line.” The snare accentuates the rhythm and the trumpeter goes a little wild on this tune that boasts a memorable melody that makes it a standout on the recording.
Another solid tune is trumpeter Eric Gordon’s composition “Haters” that opens with the tuba of Clifton Smith. It’s an anthem of sorts musically and a song with a message not unlike the Soul Rebel’s 1995 “Let Your Mind Be Free.” The lyrics offer some strong advice on how to deal with those who might lure one into trouble: “I walk past my haters, I ain’t got no time/I’m trying to get ahead and not behind.”
Clapping and hollering add to the live feel of the sound as heard on “Baby Mama” that, like several cuts, dons an “explicit” warning though why is difficult to detect and trombonist Heard assures that there is “no cussing” on the disc.
Big Six rolls with its street vibe and rhythmic and melodic variations that keep the feet and spirit moving.