The Dirty Dozen shake things up at Higher Ground

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band of New Orleans, Louisiana tore the roof off of the Higher Ground Ballroom last night in South Burlington, VT despite a surprisingly low turnout. The septet laid down an infectious bed of New Orleans funk and groove that will not soon be forgotten

Though originally it seemed to be an odd pairing, the indie band Adam Ezra Group opened for the Dirty Dozen with a 50 minute set. Adam Ezra had performed a solo set at Higher Ground opening for Kaki King on 10.9.08. A few songs into their set, it became more clear as to why the group had been chosen to open. They performed a set full of vibes that reminded me of Rusted Root and other funky, more mainstream acts. At one point, Ezra mentioned that they had backed out of a gig in New Hampshire to come open for DDBB. The applause that followed ensured that they had made the right decision.

The rhythm section of the brass band took the stage just before 10pm and laid down a funky groove as the rest of the members walked on. The band didn’t let the music stop for more than a minute for the rest of the evening. Bass sousaphone player Julius McKee played some of funkiest bass lines throughout the night even though he remained atop a stool for the majority of the show.

Terence Higgins, the drummer, was easily the highlight of the evening for me. I’ve wanted to see him for years now and I enjoyed every minute of his performance. He is truly an example of a drummer with skills beyond belief who knows how to play tastefully. He would lay down a groove and then I’d catch little over-the-barline phrases with ghost notes and fills between his floor tom and snare. He only had a kick, snare and floor tom in his setup but he played it more impressively than a lot of 5-piece drummers I’ve seen lately. 

I’m definitely looking forward to concerts coming up in the next few weeks including the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. Eric Krasno & Chapter 2 are playing this Thursday at Club Metronome in Burlington. Adam Deitch is sure to bust out some funking drumming at that show!


Dirty Dozen Brass Band | Higher Ground Ballroom 5.23.09

Dirty Dozen Brass Band | Higher Ground Ballroom 5.23.09


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