The Brass-A-Holics is a well-oiled machine running red hot. Throughout Word on the Street, which was recorded live at the Blue Nile, the attention given to the horn arrangements is evident even when the ensemble is driving full-on, which it often does. With the members’ roots in the streets, the ensemble has evolved into a dance party stage band—a necessity with the inclusion of a guitar, keyboards and percussion.
The band is most successful here when it fully embraces its influences, as it does on one of the many well-written originals, “Let It Roll.” Even its title conjures up the image of a street parade, though the tune moves to contemporary rhythm and blues with some fine vocals by trumpeter Tannon Williams and saxophonist Robin Clabby. That it is given a more soulful treatment than some of the hard-hitting, rock-laced tunes makes for a smart change of pace for inclusion on the album. The lovely tonal qualities of leader Winston Turner’s trombone toward the conclusion of the song emphasize the softer approach. The rhythm section also comes on tastefully strong on this highlight.
Since this is a New Orleans band, which is obvious by its horn-heavy instrumentation and its proclivity for diversity, the Brass-A-Holics naturally get down with some funk and hip-hop. That several of the talented musicians boast backgrounds in modern jazz is also apparent and speaks to its native city.
Surprisingly, there is no tune on the album that stands as the title cut—not a complaint, just an observance. The complete video of Word on the Street, which is on YouTube, shows visually as the album does audibly what the Brass-A-Holics and the disc is all about—a New Orleans-style, good-timin’ party.