Dixieland Jazz Primer for Mardi Gras Party!

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Well, the time is almost here and on Friday February 28th, 2014 at the BSR Bar & Grill (formerly Branch Street Retreat) in Middleton, we’re going to be releasing our latest EP, Archaeopteryx. We’re really excited because it sounds awesome. Literally, I was in the studio the other day and thought, this is the kind of music that I hear in my head. We’re really getting some exciting sounds for us and that makes the whole process an incredible pleasure. You’re going to motherfucking dig these new songs. 

So when it comes to the release party, I wanted to prepare everyone for Friday night. It’s going to be a different kind of show for us because it’s not only going to be rock songs, but we’re jumping full into Mardi Gras this year by doing a Dixieland Jazz set. Yeah, horns, banjo, piano the whole deal… That’s not that weird for us, we’re always up for experimenting with different kinds of music and there’s nothing better than trying something new. Especially if it means we get to party New Orleans-style (if we partied Rio-style, we’d all go to jail, so might as well keep it to the US.) But when I’ve been telling people about the style of Dixieland or New Orleans music, some people get it and some people don’t. Also, the word, “Dixieland, has a whole Confederate/Rebel vibe, which can get uncomfortable quickly (hey man, we always thought that the Confederate flag on the General Lee on Dukes of Hazzard was questionable!) Anyway, here’s a quick primer on some of the better artists that represent this genre so you can get some idea of where we’re coming from on this one.

Number one, it’s all about the trumpet. You know how in rock music, there are guitar heroes? In Dixieland, it’s trumpet heroes.  They usually hit the main melody and the rest of the horns improvise around that. Clarinets get the melody too sometimes, usually when they wanna “bring it down”.

Here’s one that everyone knows – the guy with the crazy voice and  Louis Armstrong

Here’s another dude that was popular in the 60s and has a totally sweet beard, Al Hirt.

You’ve heard this song as done by David Lee Roth and here is an awesome version by a Hungarian Dixieland band. Yeah, that’s right, there’s Hungarian Dixieland musicians.

And of course, there’s Madison’s most famous Dixieland purveyors, Mama Digdown’s Brass Band. They’ve been at it for over 20 years!

Okay, so hopefully this gives you some idea of what the first set will be Friday night. It’s fun party music and it’s perfect to show your moobs for some Mardi Gras beads! Try it, you just might love it, and you’re going to get a big Sunspot rocking set to follow it up with!

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