The To Be Continued Brass Band (or TBC Brass Band) plays every Wednesday at Celebration Hall on St. Bernard Avenue in the Seventh Ward of New Orleans, but their performance on Wednesday August 20 was special, as it coincided with the birthday of the band’s deceased saxophone player Brandon Franklin. Any TBC performance is spirited, but this night was especially significant, and they opened with a traditional reading of “Just Over In The Glory Land” as a tribute. It was a steamy hot night, the musicians covered with sweat by the second tune, but nothing stopped the second-liners and buckjumpers on the dance floor in front of the stage. Aside from members of another local brass band (without instruments) talking smack during the intermission, it was another one of those memorable New Orleans nights.
Every Wednesday, the TBC Brass Band plays at Celebration Hall on St. Bernard Avenue in the 7th Ward of New Orleans. All brass band performances are fun, but the ones in neighborhood spots like this one are particularly fun, as the band is playing for its friends, neighbors and relatives, and there’s just a different vibe from when they play for tourists in or near the Quarter. The dancing is more exuberant, the music more blazing. The crowd was full of people I recognized from other bands, the Hot 8 and the Stooges Brass Band. My homeboy Darren Towns was rock-solid on the bass drum, aided by a snare drummer and at least two cowbell players. And the cowbell players play an important role in brass band music in New Orleans, helping to convert the feel of the music from traditional marching patterns to something more Caribbean or perhaps even African. At the end of the night, the band marched to the door to lead us all out, but nobody wanted to leave. You really never do when the music and the footwork are this good.