Brass Monkey Brass Band
The Bay Area's BRASS MONKEY BRASS BAND (BMBB) is a powerhouse 8-piece ensemble in the style of New Orleans' own Dirty Dozen and Rebirth Brass Band, with the traditional lineup of tuba, saxes, trumpets, trombones, bass drum, and snare. BMBB's wide repertoire ranges from New Orleans classics like "When the Saints Go Marching In" to danceable favorites by a variety of artists from Led Zeppelin to Roger & Zapp, plus their own irrepressibly funky originals.
BMBB originally formed to play a Fat Tuesday party in 1999 by Bay Area tuba man Jon Birdsong (Beck, Victoria Williams, Beth Orton) and drummer Kevin Stevens (Meow Meow, The New Morty Show). The success of this one-off show inspired BMBB's eight members to start writing and playing together on a regular basis while maintaining their sideman gigs with greats including Santana, Boz Scaggs, KC and the Sunshine Band, Howard Tate, Pharoah Sanders, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Polkacide, the Rhythm Pigs, and even the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Word quickly spread about BMBB's high-octane, highly danceable nights, establishing them as favorites on the SF club scene, playing The Fillmore, Bimbo's 365 Club, Great American Music Hall, Elbo Room, etc. Before long they were invited to play countless festivals such as the Monterey Jazz Festival, "New Orleans Day" at the Concord Pavilion with John Fogerty and Dr. John, Blues by the Bay (Eureka, CA), and the Rhythm & Roots Festival (Santa Rosa, CA). While the band's musical chops earned them the coveted slot performing an impromptu set with Bobby McFerrin at the SFJAZZ Festival in 2002, BMBB's universal appeal made the band the perfect choice to play for the San Francisco Giants Opening Day at Pac Bell Park.
BMBB's debut CD, Live in Time and Space (2001, Weed Records), received national airplay on a wide variety of radio, and the song "Saints" was the soundtrack for a 2002 Coca-Cola commercial. BMBB has just released their second full-length recording, The Highest Good, which features 75 minutes of wide-reaching writing, arranging, and performing, and pushes the New Orleans brass band to the next level.