Brass Magic, “Journey Around the Lake” from ‘Fanfare’ (2018): Something Else! Video Premiere

Share this:

Even if you weren’t hanging out in the San Francisco East Bay in the ’70s and ’80s, you might still be old enough to remember how Oakland’s Tower of Power so successfully carried out the concept of a large horn band carrying out quality contemporary funk and RnB. Now there’s another horn band from Oakland who’s carrying forward the idea of using innovative ways to deploy a bunch of horns at today’s various forms of music.

Brass Magic was started up in 2013 by trombone player Danny Ludin-Laden as a vehicle for his compositions when he put together a band of two saxophonists, two trumpeters, two trombonists, a tuba player and a drummer. That getup could make some pretty convincing trad jazz or New Orleans RnB à la Dirty Dozen Brass Band, but Brass Magic is going for something a little different by breaking out from convention.

“Journey Around the Lake” shows just how much Brass Magic has raised the bar. Sure, it’s party music but it’s not your basic two-chord riff with a simple 4/4 beat. Drummer Adam Starkopf has a different pulse for each phase of the song, such as in the opening moments with saxophonist Raffi Garabedian and a short time later with trumpeter Max Miller-Loran’s pointed trumpet spotlight. Sprinkled throughout are smart horn arrangements that pit one part of the group laying out the melody with the other section providing harmonic counterpoint. So much cleverness packed in two minutes and forty-four seconds.

In the eye-catching video of “Journey Around the Lake” premiering above, the band members aren’t shown but animator Kelsey Boncato highlights the dynamism of the song with constantly mutating figures that shows glimpses of a silhouette dancing, an instrument being played or constantly-morphing abstract shapes. Put another way, it effectively tells a story that has no words.

“Journey Around the Lake” will be part of Brass Magic’s upcoming third album Fanfare. This new release will be available on October 12, 2018 and can be pre-ordered from Brass Magic’s Bandcamp page.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at [email protected] .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
Share this:
Close