MarchFourth Marching Band: A Brassy Strut
The idea of an album of marching-band music is pretty funny, but MarchFourth Marching Band doesn"t go for laughs in "Magnificent Beast," as trombonists, trumpeters and sax players use their horns to build alluring melodies and throbbing beats. The group goes even brassier in "Rose City Strut," as it's joined by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's clarinetist, tenor saxophonist and tuba. The Preservation Hall band had come to Portland, Ore., home base for MarchFourth, for a joint concert last April; the New Orleans players agreed to improvise some solos for free if the recording could be made at the concert hall.
The horns push and pull, wail and oompah, share conversations and sometimes seem to have a difference of opinion, but always reunite in blissful harmony. The band was going for a dark, sultry mood, but an optimistic spirit is just as evident. The bah-BOMP-a-BOMP BOMP melody insinuates itself into the listener's brain, while the pace is perfect for a stroll down the street. The song's "Rose City" title calls out to a dancer named Rose who performs with the band, but it also functions as an homage to Portland's nickname. Portland has many musical identities, but here, it sounds like the grooviest place in America.
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