Hustlers Brass Band

Short days got you singing the blues? Are you hungry for some free red beans and rice and funk-drenched brass-band jams? Got five bucks? Then get on down to the Big Top every Tuesday through the end of the year for Mardi Gras on Main, the Hustlers Brass Band's very first official Houston residency. Comprised of a half-dozen or so of New Orleans's top players from that city's historic and still-thriving brass band scene — many of whom now live part-time here in Houston — the Hustlers specialize in the Big Easy-fication of old-school funk and soul songs. On their debut CD Second Line Soul, the band gumbos up everything from "Cisco Kid," "Brick House" and Bill Withers's "Use Me" to the themes from Sanford and Son and The Jeffersons. Not that they shun the traditional New Orleans brass band repertoire: Hymns like "Just A Closer Walk with Thee" and street parade jams like "The Second Line" and "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" get equal time, as does their irreverent take on the ancient "St. James Infirmary." Powerhouse snare drummer Lumar Leblanc — a big man with hands as fast as hummingbird wings — leads one of the most exciting rhythm sections you'll ever see, while the layered horns (two trumpets, trombone, sax) shimmer with Earth, Wind & Fire sheen.

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