Personnel: Danny Barker (vocals, guitar); Dizzy Gillespie (vocals, trumpet); Jamie McLean, James McLean (guitar); Robert Randolph (pedal steel guitar); Gregory Davis , Gregory Michael Davis II (trumpet); Charles Jones, Charles Joseph (trombone); Eddie Bo (piano); Benny Jones, Benny Jones (bass drum); Jenell Marshall (vocals, snare drum); Kevin Harris (tenor saxophone); Roger Lewis (baritone saxophone); Efrem Towns (trumpet); Revert Andrews, Sammie Williams (trombone); Julius McKee, Kirk Joseph (sousaphone); Richard Knox, Frederick Sanders (keyboards); Terence Higgins, Raymond Weber (drums); Lionel Batiste (bass drum).
Additional personnel: Danny Barker , Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Bo.
Photographers: C. Taylor Crothers; Michael Smith .
Arranger: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
By kicking up the beat and adding in elements of bop, R&B and funk to the century-old tradition of funeral and parade standards practiced by New Orleans street bands, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band has almost single-handedly revitalized the genre over the past 30 years, and with an outstanding horn lineup that generally includes trumpets, saxes, trombone and the almighty sousaphone; the DDBB has managed to stay fresh and vital through eight studio albums and two live ones. This Is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band Collection assembles representative tracks from all of these into a quick overview of the band's career, and what is most amazing here is how well it all coheres, given the time span (the DDBB was formed way back in 1975). It all falls together into a sweet tapestry of funky street anthems, beginning with the barn-burning "My Feet Can't Fail Me Now," through reconstructed versions of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," Charlie Parker's "Bongo Beep," the Meters' "Cissy Strut," and a delightful rebuild of Blind Willie Johnson's gospel-blues classic "John the Revelator." The great Dizzy Gillespie guests on "Oop Pop a Dah," contributing both his trumpet and a grinning scat vocal that underlines the sheer joy that lives in this music. Dedicated fans of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will already have most or all of these cuts, but newcomers to the DDBB may well want to start here to sample one of the most unique and forward-thinking bands in the long, storied history of popular New Orleans jazz. ~ Steve Leggett