By Robert Ham | Published June 2021
Brass bands, especially those that emerged since the ’90s, have to maintain a tricky balance. The emphasis is on party anthems. But those fiery tunes have to be tempered with more somber material meant for seduction or contemplation.
Trumpeter Mike Wade’s ensemble The Nasty NATI Brass Band does a better job than most in keeping balancing those two creative sides.
As fun as the record gets, particularly the jumpy rewrite of Cheryl Lynn’s disco classic “Got To Be Real” and the groovy take on the Cincinnati Bengals fight song, the album is best on thoughtful tunes.
The weight is borne by two songs written in honor of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy from Cleveland killed by police in 2014. Equally powerful are the two gorgeous versions of “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” that meld the Blood Sweat & Tears and Donny Hathaway versions. An abrupt jump into uptempo can be jarring, but it is a platform to showcase the group’s skills.
The Nasty NATI Brass Band: Marauder Groove; 2 B Real; Jammin’; Hot Hot; In Memory Of: Tamir Rice (Version 1); Reality; Where Is The Tip?; I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know (Instrumental); Bobby Drake; In Memory Of: Tamir Rice (Version 2); Pump It Up; Bengals Anthem; I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know (Vocal). (67:32)
Personnel: Mike Wade, trumpet and vocals; Wm. Alexis Owens, sousaphone and vocals; Charles “Ali” Schweitzer, percussion; Roland Joseph, trumpet; Dr. G. Scott Jones, trombone; Dione Howard, drums; Reggie Jackson, drums; Maurice “Rdot Edot” Suttles, Kelli Key, vocals; Eli Gonzalez, alto and tenor saxophone; Kayla Upthegrove, Ritwik Banerji, tenor saxophone; Kim White, soprano and alto saxophone; Marvin “T-Bone” Curry, trombone.
Ordering Info: mikewademusic.net