Soul Rebels Brass Band formed when Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, originally members of New Orleans' iconic Dejean's Young Olympia Brass Band, decided they wanted to play the new, exciting music they were hearing on the radio while respecting the tradition they loved. Both New Orleans natives, the pair was steeped in the fundamentals of New Orleans jazz, but inevitably, contemporary styles of music began to seep into their psyches. While LeBlanc attended the famed St. Augustine High School, Moss went to Lil' Wayne’s alma mater McMain High School, and paraded alongside soon-to-be Cash Money Records CEO Ronald "Slim" Williams in the school’s marching band. All around were new sounds they found as exciting as the horn-combo style featured in jazz funerals since the turn of the Twentieth Century.
"We wanted to make our own sound without disrespecting the brass tradition," LeBlanc recalls, "so we knew we had to break away." They found a stylistic middle ground when they spun off and formed a band of young, like-minded local players from all over New Orleans. All graduates of university music programs throughout the South, they picked up influences from outside the city as well as late-breaking local styles and began mapping them onto the marching band format they had learned in school.
Soul Rebels honed their skills where most New Orleans brass bands do - in the street. But by the time they were a functioning unit, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band had already broken out as an international touring act. That band's success showed Soul Rebels a New Orleans brass band could not only have a contemporary sound, but it could also have a place on stage. Although the Dirty Dozen had updated the brass band tradition with elements of R&B and funk, Soul Rebels took it a step further, incorporating hip-hop, especially through half-sung, half-rapped lyrics. "Most of our originals have vocals," says LeBlanc. "You wouldn’t have done that in a traditional brass band."
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Jan: Released international debut album "Unlock Your Mind" (Rounder Records) for Universal Distribution
March: Toured with Galactic on their 2012 national tour- Performed on Conan O'Brien TV show with Galactic
April: Co-Headlined with Cee-Lo Green: Congo Square Stage, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
June: Playing Bonnaroo, Electric Forest Festival and Orion Music and Arts Festival
July: Europe Tour
Sept: Performed NBC pre-game program for New Orleans Saints home opener
Nov: Performed ESPN pre-game BCS bowl game show between LSU and Alabama
Dec: Picked by Metallica to open all four 30th anniversary shows at the Fillmore
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