The Bad Cactus Brass Band

You're a culturally land-locked Arizonan. As such, the closest you've ever come to a bona fide New Orleans "second line" street band is an episode of Treme — or maybe that funny funeral scene in the voodoo-rific James Bond flick To Live and Let Die. Well, your jazz illiteracy days are over. Founded by Scottsdale-based sousaphonist Benjie Messer, The Bad Cactus Brass Band takes the singular sounds of the Big Easy and deposits them right here in the land of norteño and jangle rock. First used to describe the throng of handkerchief-waving, parasol-twirling revelers that would follow the main line in a New Orleans jazz parade, the "second line" also came to mean the brass-and-percussion-dominated style of music that accompany the parades — everything from festive swing to Dixieland to the doleful wa-wa of a regular New Orleans dirge. With their arsenal of tuba, saxophones, trombones and trumpets, BCBB faithfully recreates the standards, along with a smattering of original dance songs. As for the parasols — hey, twirl 'em if you got 'em.


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