Dancing with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the Ottawa Jazz Festival


The OLG After Dark Series of the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival delivered an amazing night once again, this time with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

The boys from New Orleans had almost everyone in the jam packed tent up on their feet dancing. This is a huge accomplishment at the festival often referred to as lawn chair fest. So great to see people up and moving, and how can you blame them with such amazing music being played. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, formed in 1977, changed the sound of the New Orleans brass band style by incorporating funk and bebop. And let me tell you, their set sure was funky.

Seven men on stage who really know their instruments and have honed their trade of making super catchy hip-shaking southern style jazz. Their performance (see video below) was chalked full of amazing 8 to 10 minute long songs that just flowed perfectly. People of all ages, 19 to 65+, in attendance agree as they were constantly singing, cheering them on and getting down with their bad selves.

The incredible set was also full of brain-melting solos. Those who know me know I am not a big fan of solos, especially guitar solos, but the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a whole different story. They had me captivated and wanting more after every solo and every song. Most notably would be the really cool tuba solo, the first I ever heard in my life, and it blew me away. It was like watching a really talented bass player picking away and jamming except this was on a tuba, which somehow made it way cooler. Unreal stuff.

As the set went on, it was time for them to take us on a trip to their hometown. “We are going to take you down South, down to Louisiana, let’s go to New Orleans.” They played us a festive song about dancing in the streets as the beats take you over. With my toes tapping and hips swaying they began to shout “Who dat nation!” and “Who dem Saints!” As a football fan I knew what was next, as those are the chants of the New Orleans Saints. The band proved me right as they launched into “When the Saints Come Marching In,” and the crowd roared.

If that wasn’t enough, they followed it up with an amazing rendition of Stevie Wonders’ classic “Superstition.” I had never seen this band before, but I would never miss them again, and neither should you.