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Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans (Refiguring American Music)

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Roll With It is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. These young men are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that chara Roll With It is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. These young men are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that characterize life for many black Americans. Some achieve a degree of social mobility while many more encounter aggressive policing, exploitative economies, and a political infrastructure that creates insecurities in healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. The gripping narrative moves with the band members from back street to backstage, before and after Hurricane Katrina, always in step with the tap of the snare drum, the thud of the bass drum, and the boom of the tuba.


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Roll With It is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. These young men are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that chara Roll With It is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. These young men are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that characterize life for many black Americans. Some achieve a degree of social mobility while many more encounter aggressive policing, exploitative economies, and a political infrastructure that creates insecurities in healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. The gripping narrative moves with the band members from back street to backstage, before and after Hurricane Katrina, always in step with the tap of the snare drum, the thud of the bass drum, and the boom of the tuba.

30 review for Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans (Refiguring American Music)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Smart and moving. I want a companion volume that looks at women. But, really, a compelling and evocative book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    A compelling history of brass/marching/jazz bands and New Orleans and how the two are interwoven. This brings up painful aspects of the life of musicians in New Orleans, and how the city that relies on the culture that those musicians provide also denigrates, delegitimizes, and devalues the work and lives of those musicians. Also, it introduced me to a bunch of bands that I wish I'd have been listening to since I was young! (I'd probably have had a greater desire to stick to the tuba after high A compelling history of brass/marching/jazz bands and New Orleans and how the two are interwoven. This brings up painful aspects of the life of musicians in New Orleans, and how the city that relies on the culture that those musicians provide also denigrates, delegitimizes, and devalues the work and lives of those musicians. Also, it introduced me to a bunch of bands that I wish I'd have been listening to since I was young! (I'd probably have had a greater desire to stick to the tuba after high school!)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    This is ethnomusicology, written from field study inside the first and second lines on New Orleans brass bands--from the day jobs as music teachers building a next generation of musicians, to the etiquette of funerals, the acoustic claiming of public space and the status accorded to successful band leaders. It is particularly striking that the routes taken by bands often ignore 1960s destruction of black neighborhoods and feature cathartic moments at key points under interstate overpasses and ot This is ethnomusicology, written from field study inside the first and second lines on New Orleans brass bands--from the day jobs as music teachers building a next generation of musicians, to the etiquette of funerals, the acoustic claiming of public space and the status accorded to successful band leaders. It is particularly striking that the routes taken by bands often ignore 1960s destruction of black neighborhoods and feature cathartic moments at key points under interstate overpasses and other places urban renewal attempted (not entirely successfully) to obliterate.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    New Orleans is like the Canary Islands, home to cultures that evolve independently from the rest of the world. The local brass bands -- the descendents of 19th century oompah bands that along the way crossbred with funk and hip-hop beats -- are a prime example. Roll With It puts these remarkable bands in in their larger context (the focus is on Rebirth, Soul Rebels and the Hot 8), while also being timely in reporting on post-Katrina changes in brass culture. Consider it an essential field guide New Orleans is like the Canary Islands, home to cultures that evolve independently from the rest of the world. The local brass bands -- the descendents of 19th century oompah bands that along the way crossbred with funk and hip-hop beats -- are a prime example. Roll With It puts these remarkable bands in in their larger context (the focus is on Rebirth, Soul Rebels and the Hot 8), while also being timely in reporting on post-Katrina changes in brass culture. Consider it an essential field guide to sounds of the city's streets.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

    A book about the brass bands of New Orleans and how they have evolved in recent years, to some extent in a way at odds with the traditions from which they started. Several well-known bands are followed and one learns about jazz funerals, second line parades, New Orleans love affair with music, and the often dangerous culture in which the musicians live. The passion these musicians develop for music, at a young age, is also readily seen. A very entertaining and educational read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    April

    New Orleans brass band culture is on display here. Like the city itself, brass bands are in a constant flux of tradition and innovation and they, somehow, manage to maintain both beautifully but not without struggle.

  7. 5 out of 5

    molly

    A sensitive and original examination of New Orleans's brass bands and brass-band culture. I learned a lot, not only about the cultural economy, formal and informal, but also about race, representation, and appropriation. A sensitive and original examination of New Orleans's brass bands and brass-band culture. I learned a lot, not only about the cultural economy, formal and informal, but also about race, representation, and appropriation.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley Shaw

    My only complaint: no samples of the music to listen to! Definitely enjoyed this book and illustrations; definitely recommend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Evan Parker

  10. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leidy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bhavana Ragipani

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kit

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  16. 4 out of 5

    TravisHuberty

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dani Morell

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Cheney

    Incredible

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leah

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tori Vontz

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cormac

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian Slattery

  26. 4 out of 5

    Duncan T

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tim Wolfson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julio Guillen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Skylar Dullhuttis

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eric Beyer

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