Funeral for a Friend
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Ropeadope Records For some poor schlep who, say, stayed up all night revising an article that was due two months ago, Funeral for a Friend is a relief. Wait. No. More than that. The latest CD from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the current standard-bearer of traditional N’Awlins jazz, is a reprieve from the drudgery of toil and the dreariness of everyday life. It’s a massive blast of fresh air that sweeps the listener back a century to the swirling cultural concoction that yielded jazz and, at the same time, blows away so much of the vapid pop drivel that contributes to the aforementioned drudgery and dreariness. Hyperbole? Whatever. With Funeral, DDBB — which for a quarter-century has produced its own stuff while guesting on albums by Miles Davis to Dave Matthews to Elvis Costello to Modest Mouse — mines the rich tradition of African-American religious music with bluesy interpretations of spirituals like “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” “John the Revelator,” “Down by the Riverside” and, of course, “Amazing Grace.” And may God’s grace shine on us indeed! The grind of life has made us weary, but lo! There is music. There is jazz. There is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Hyperbole? If you say so.