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First Class Brass
Shawna Mulkey

First Class Brass

It's less than a week before Fat Tuesday, and Phil Frazier finds himself in a good place: watching a parade in his beloved New Orleans. He can't resist putting his phone on speaker and holding it toward the marchers' music. Frazier, a tuba player, loves parades, and he loves his hometown. The feeling, in both cases, is reciprocal. In 1983, Frazier cofounded the ReBirth Brass Band, nine horn players and drummers and singers who've mastered the art of the second line, playing a powerhouse mix of funkified covers, electrifying jams, and originals most often inspired by the jubilant shouts and chants of fellow paraders and fired-up fans. "It's important to our culture, to our heritage, to be back in New Orleans," Frazier says when the subject of Hurricane Katrina comes up. "We lost houses and stuff, but we were lucky because we're a touring band." When traveling to other cities, RBB always plays certain tunes to cheer up New Orleans transplants in the crowd. "Music is what will bring the other people back," Frazier says. "And playing for evacuees — that's a real blessing for us." Then again, their scintillating, joyous mix of spirituals, clever covers, marching tunes, and originals is the perfect boost to lift up any place and anyone.

The ReBirth Brass Band performs at 10 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, as part of Mardi Gras on Clematis. Admission is free. Call 561-832-9999.

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