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Keeping the Beat on the Street

The New Orleans Brass Band Renaissance

216 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 48 Halftones, 1 Line Drawing


  Hardcover / 9780807130483 / January 2006
  Paperback / 9780807133330 / February 2008

Told in the words of the musicians themselves, Keeping the Beat on the Street celebrates the renewed passion and pageantry among black brass bands in New Orleans. Mick Burns introduces the people who play the music and shares their insights, showing why New Orleans is the place where jazz continues to grow. Brass bands waned during the civil rights era but revived around 1970 and then flourished in the 1980s when the music became cool with the younger generation. In the only book to cover this revival, Burns interviews members from a variety of bands, including the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen, Tuba Fats' Chosen Few, and the Rebirth Brass Band. He captures their thoughts about the music, their careers, audiences, influences from rap and hip-hop, the resurgence of New Orleans social and pleasure clubs and second lines, traditional versus funk style, recording deals, and touring. For anyone who loves jazz and the city where it was born, Keeping the Beat on the Street is a book to savor.

Mick Burns (1942-2007) was the author of Keeping the Beat on the Street: The New Orleans Brass Band Renaissance and The Great Olympia Band and played jazz professionally in Europe and the United States for forty years. He lived in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, in England.

Review Quotes for Keeping the Beat on the Street

"We should be grateful to Mick Burns for undertaking the task of producing . . . the only book to cover the subject of what he rightly calls the brass band renaissance."—New Orleans Music

"A welcome look at the history of brass bands. These oral histories provide a valuable contribution to new Orleans musical history. . . . What shines through the musicians' words is love of craft, love of culture."—New Orleans Times-Picayune

"A seminal work about the Brass Bands of New Orleans."—Louisiana Libraries

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