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Album Review

The shtick here is that the Soul Rebels are a brass band in the venerable New Orleans tradition, except that they play hip-hop and R&B. It's one of those fusion experiments that could easily go either way, ending up either as a brilliant bouillabaisse of complementary musical ingredients all mixed up in a clever new way, or a stinking pagaille of mismatched elements fighting each other for space in a crowded, chaotic musical brew. To the Soul Rebels' credit, this album is very much more the former than the latter, and when things don't work out so well, they mainly disappoint only by being more pleasant than interesting. The highlights are the songs that bring together the strongest flavors: the funky and discursive "Let It Roll," the gospel-hip-hop fusion of "Change My Life," the rapturous "Disco Tech," the reggae-inflected "Rebel Revolution." The less inspiring moments come in the disappointingly generic skankiness of "Get Freaky" and "Spend Some Time" and in the boring instrumental "They Don't Know." Listen to the whole thing through, though, and the great substantially outweighs the mediocre. Recommended.


Formed: New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The New Orleans group the Soul Rebels, which combines elements of hip-hop with a traditional brass band sound, was formed by former drum majors from the marching bands of Southern, Grambling, and Texas Southern University. Lumar LeBlanc (snare drum), Derrick Moss (bass drum), and Damion Francois (tuba) first played together as Young Olympia, the junior division of Milton Batiste's Olympia Brass Band. Joining Tannon Williams (trumpet), Winston Turner (trombone), and Marcus Hubbard (trumpet), they...
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Rebelution, The Soul Rebels
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