All That: making the brass funky 

All That epitomizes the immense diversity of musical styles in New Orleans. Merging elements of funk, big band, jazz, rock and hip-hop, All That tops New Orleans' list of party bands and are now taking their infectious grooves on the road to try out new material for rookie audiences.

"We've got about two or three new songs that are starting to pop up in our set," says saxophonist Doug Miller. "We've got more of a hip-hop slant in the new songs -- Derrick `Freeman, drummer` is really into that and has a lot of background and knowledge in it and is steering us in that direction."

All That, like so many bands in New Orleans, is a fairly nebulous collection of players surrounding a few regular core members. Musicians from Royal Fingerbowl, New Orleans Klezmer All Stars, Iris May Tango, Anders Osborne's band, the ReBirth Brass Band and many other are likely to play with All That at any given performance. But with more out-of-town gigs on the way and studio time scheduled for September, All That is becoming a more cohesive unit.

Formed nearly three years ago, All That was a dream project of keyboardist/vocalist Davis "DJ Davis" Rogan and sousaphonist Kirk Joseph, a former member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Davis approached Joseph about putting a brass section in front of a funk band and playing funk and hip-hop. The two began assembling some of New Orleans' hottest players to form the lineup for All That.

"The band arrangement confused a lot of people when they came to see us, 'cause they didn't know who the frontman is," Rogan says. "The idea is, the horns are across the front and contributing to the voice of the band on a different level than a horn section."

All That's first release, "Eponymous Debut," received high praise among New Orleans press and music fans, many of whom are regular attendees at the band's packed gigs. Rogan is convinced the band's appeal goes far beyond any one crowd, and as is evidenced by the audience response at All That shows, the appeal is a strong one.

"In a live situation we're an energy band," says Rogan. "When we start going -- you can call us a jazz band, a funk band, or a brass band -- but when we're rolling, we rock, we're pure energy."

More by Alex Oliver


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