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Rebirth Brass Band Brings NOLA to Pensacola


By Hana Frenette

It’d be easy for a band with such a loyal following and solid set of shows to become complacent and just coast off their good name. Rebirth Brass Band is doing just the opposite.

Rebirth has been combining traditional New Orleans brass band music with a modern side of soul and R&B since the early ‘80s. They’ve seen a lot of members come and go. They’ve played at the Maple Leaf on Tuesday nights for 23 years. They even won a Grammy last year. Lately the band has been doing what they always do: Playing a lot of shows and enjoying their hometown when they can.

“They put me in a few gigs and they really liked the way it all sounded,” trumpet player and newest member of Rebirth, Chad Honore said. “I’ve been with the band for five years now.”

In those five years, Honore has been a part of many tours and the traditional Tuesday gig at the Maple Leaf in the New Orleans Carrollton neighborhood.

“Every Tuesday night we’re not on tour, we’re there,” Honore said. “We go on at 11p.m. and we try to start on time, so that the people that work in the morning can still come see us for a bit.”

The band isn’t too comfortable at their old-time spot though. In the past few months, Rebirth has done an East Coast and West Coast tour, with several dates added for a tour of the Southeast as well.

“It’s much different playing in a city outside of New Orleans,” Honore said. “People there are used to seeing and hearing us, but when we go out of town we feel like we’re giving people a breath of fresh air.”

The band’s identifiably New Orleans style is almost always appreciated, but often with different reactions.

“It’s funny because people on the West Coast just want to jam off the vibes, and you’ll see these crazy mellow crowds, or these wild hallucinating crowds, and then the people on the East Coast are real cool and collected,” Honore said. “They want to ask you questions about how you got your trumpet to sound a certain way.”

After the added dates in the South, Rebirth will make their way back home to play at the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans.

“We usually play on the very last Sunday of the festival, but we switched it around this year and we’ll be there on the first weekend,” Honore said. “The atmosphere is just great and we always have a lot of friends that we don’t get to see often that come down for the festival.”

In the rare moment that Rebirth isn’t playing a show or traveling across the country, Honore is still probably playing the trumpet. Or watching someone else play the trumpet.

“I like to try and keep myself busy when we’re not on tour,” Honore said. “I like to sit in with other bands and play with them, or maybe just go check out another band I’ve never seen.”

The Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans is a favorite stop on Honore’s list.

“Howlin’ Wolf is a big spacious place,” Honore said. “So many great bands come through there, there’s always something new for me to look forward to.”
It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.


REBIRTH BRASS BAND

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 6
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox St.
COST: $15-$20, tickets available at the door
DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com; rebirthbrassband.com