The third night of The Soul Rebels’ residency at Brooklyn Bowl was a lesson in musical perfection. DJ Natasha Diggs kept the waiting crowd warmed up with dance hits spanning the last two decades until the New Orleans based brass band took the stage.
What was fascinating to watch were the twenty-somethings concertgoers occupying the first few rows of the venue. While the DJ was spinning, their energy was high and they were shaking their tail feathers with wild abandon. When the Soul Rebels lifted their instruments to their lips two hours later and began to play, the young hipster audience looked on dumbfounded as if someone had told them they were getting a bicycle for Christmas and instead their gift box contained a tennis racquet. The Soul Rebels presented them with a taste of true New Orleans funk soul jazz and the crowd didn’t know what to do with it. This type of music is not the typical fare found in Williamsburg. Its foundation is in chromatic scales and masterful musicianship. There is no techno-gadget wizardry in the Soul Rebels; they are a quintessential and studied expression of the spirit of New Orleans and of music itself. This is perhaps something that is lost in translation between the Big Easy and the Big Apple, but all of the trendsetting musicians in NYC and beyond should take heed of the Soul Rebels music for this is where real art comes from.
Eventually the audience began to understand the groove and flow of The Soul Rebels show and moved in time with the mesmerizing rhythms pumped out of the double drums and bouncing tuba. Special guests Rakim and Talib Kweli brought the hip-hop accents to the evening rounding out the explosive set.
The Soul Rebels are the epitome of trained musicianship rooted in the genesis of the art form and they play with their hearts on their sleeves and an obvious joy in every brass note. One hopes that they continue to educate us Yankees for many years to come.
Article: Hannah Soule