For years, the ReBirth Brass Band would be hired to welcome visitors on their arrival at the New Orleans airport. This time, the tables were turned. Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, the Baby Boyz and Kinfolk brass bands plus others gathered at the airport’s luggage area to great the victors.
“I never thought we’d have a band waiting for us,” Frazier exclaims. “It was a big surprise, a big surprise!”
The happy moment was captured on video as trumpeter Derek Shezbie put down some mean second line steps while using his suitcase as a partner. The smiles all around couldn’t have been bigger.
Frazier realizes the significance of Rebirth winning the Grammy award to young, upcoming musicians like those in the Baby Boyz and Kinfolk.
“ReBirth achieved our goal, so you can reach your goal,” he offers. “Keep playing, never stop. It’s not about bands battling each other, it’s about playing music because you love it. We love it so much and we’re from the streets and the streets took us to a Grammy. It’s a big accomplishment for us.
Naturally, calls came pouring in from all over the country with folks eager to congratulate the band. “There were a lot of numbers in the phone,” says Frazier mentioning a few notables who got through such as actor Ed Anderson and vocalists Erykah Badu and Ani DiFranco. The celebration continued on Tuesday night when the ReBirth performed its first, post-Grammy winning live show at the Maple Leaf. In honor of the occasion, the street in front of the uptown club was closed down to accommodate ReBirth’s ecstatic fans. “It was phenomenal,” Frazier declares of the night.
This was also the first Grammy for Basin Street Records, which did enjoy a nomination once before for Los Hombres Caliente’s release, New Congo Square.
“Now we will always be able to refer to ourselves as a Grammy-winning record label,” says Samuels proudly. “And similarly, the band will always be Grammy winners. It takes a lot of people to win a Grammy award and it starts with the ReBirth Brass Band working their butts off for the last 28 years.
“We put our heart and soul into this album,” says Frazier in moment of calm before bursting back into sheer exuberance. “I’m glad to bring a Grammy – like the Super Bowl – back home to New Orleans. I’m so happy, I’m so happy.”
Dave Bartholomew Honored
Dave Bartholomew, New Orleans legendary trumpeter, composer, producer and bandleader was honored by the Recording Academy with a special Grammy Trustees Award. It is given to those who have made a significant contribution to the field of recording in a non-performing capacity. Previous honorees include such luminaries as Duke Ellington and Motown’s Berry Gordy.
His sons, Ron and Don Bartholomew accepted the award for their father, who, Ron explained was fine but had a little knee trouble.
Ron relays his father’s response to receiving the accolade saying, “The first thing he said was it was the greatest news in the world for him and his family to be recognized. Because when you become 90-plus years old versus being 30 or 40, it’s that much more special. Often when you’re older in age you’re often forgotten about. To be remembered at 91 years old is a blessing.”
Bartholomew was a creator of the New Orleans rhythm and blues sound of the late 1940s and 1950 that evolved into rock ‘n roll. He’s most noted for his collaboration with Fats Domino that led to a string of classic hits like “Blue Monday” and “Ain’t That a Shame” and many, many more. The ReBirth Brass Band tapped into Bartholomew’s treasure chest by including his Latin-flavored “Shrimp & Gumbo” on its Grammy-winning CD, ReBirth of New Orleans. Bartholomew’s music is core to New Orleans and remains vital.
This article originally published in the February 20, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.