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New Orleans meets Tahoe on Monday

One of New Orleans’ most recognizable bands is displaying the same resolve as are the residents of the recovering city.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which performs Monday, July 2 at the River Ranch Lodge, has released its Hurricane Katrina-inspired interpretation of the Marvin Gaye classic “What’s Going On?”

Founding members Roger Lewis, Kevin Harris and Gregory Davis’ homes were completely destroyed by the storm and the flooding aftermath, as was the home of trombone player Revert Andrews. Band members Terence Higgins and Efrem Towns’ homes remained standing, enduring massive wind and water damage.



For the past three decades, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band has taken the traditional brass band music of New Orleans, combined it with funk, jazz, gospel and soul, and introduced it to the rest of the world.

When discussing their next step musically, the members of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band unanimously concluded that it needed an outlet for the overwhelming feelings of loss for their beautiful city and community, and frustration with the government’s response to the disaster, or lack thereof.



Members of the band had been listening to “What’s Going On,” and finding that the strong sentiments Gaye expressed 35 years ago were again resonating loud and clear. Reinterpreting each of the nine songs on Gaye’s album was simply the right concept at the right time.

Guest vocalists Chuck D, Ivan Neville, G. Love, Guru and Bettye LaVette contribute to The Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s musical message. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of are donated to the Tipitina’s Foundation, benefiting the music community of New Orleans.

While Gaye’s original was smooth rhythm and blues, the The Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s turn in expansive, powerhouse instrumental performances on “Save The Children,”

“Right On,” and “Wholy Holy.” Contemporary artists add yearning vocals on “God Is Love” (Ivan Neville), “Mercy Mercy Me” (G. Love), and “What’s Happening Brother” (Bettye LaVette), and new lyrics on “What’s Going On” (Chuck D) and “Inner City Blues”(Guru).


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