Although the city of New Orleans put a stop to the tradition of brass bands playing in the first block of Bourbon Street near Canal, brass band music can still be heard in and around Jackson Square on some afternoons, played by a band known as the Jackson Square All-Stars. This band is geared to the out-of-town visitors, and therefore doesn’t play the hood-infused youthful style that used to prevail at Bourbon and Canal, but a lot of the members of this band are young musicians from the city’s best brass bands, including the TBC.
Running a record store was never easy, and Gary Holzenthal’s Odyssey Records on Canal Street has seen more than its share of adversity, from the transition from albums to cassettes to CD’s, to Hurricane Katrina,to the closure of the Iberville projects where many of the store’s loyalest customers lived. Somehow, through it all, the iconic store has survived the ravages of time and a particularly-nasty hurricane and is still in its rightful place on Canal Street. This is one of a handful of stores in New Orleans that helped incubate and develop the bounce music and New Orleans rap scenes, and to walk in is to step into history. Besides compact discs, the store offers vinyl, official Bob Marley clothing and headphones. Visit them on Canal Street, or at http://www.odysseyrecordsneworleans.com/.
The TBC (or To Be Continued) Brass Band has performed all over the country, and have been the subject of a documentary film called From The Mouthpiece On Back. But despite national and international acclaim and regular gigs at the Hot East Daiquiri Shop and the Blue Nile, they still take the time to perform at the legendary Canal and Bourbon Street corner where it all began. 7/4/12
One of the best places to catch authentic brass band music is the corner of Canal and Bourbon Streets beside the Foot Locker. Despite being in the French Quarter, this corner is close to the Iberville Projects, and here the brass bands play as much for their friends and relatives as they do for the tourists. There’s always a friendly vibe, good crowd interaction and some amazing dancing and/or second-lining. It’s also free, although the bands will pass the box around for donations. This is also the ground where many young bands get their start, from the To Be Continued to the Young Pinstripes. 7/4/12