A handful of Athens’s most in-demand horn players have come together to form the Half Dozen Brass Band, an ensemble that brings its own unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and Dixieland to the Classic City. As the only New Orleans-style brass band in Athens, Georgia, Half Dozen Brass Band offers the kind of celebratory music that thrives in the streets of the Big Easy, equally at home on stages or sidewalks.
The group, influenced not only by established brass bands such as Dirty Dozen and Youngblood, also draws inspiration from sources as varied as Dr. John, James Brown, and the Dukes of Dixieland to bring both original tunes and inspired arrangements to life. Active in the music scene of Athens, the HDBB has begun playing more extensively throughout the southeast.
The Half Dozen, named for its core of six founding members, was formed in May 2008 by Joshua Cutchin, and by year’s end had performed in many of Athens’ live music venues to local acclaim. The following year saw significant personnel changes, including the joining of Chuck Arnold straight from the Big Easy. In addition to performing on the main stage at AthFest, the HDBB was voted 2009 Flagpole Athens Music Award Winner for “Best Jazz Band.”
Members of the Half Dozen Brass Band have performed in New Orleans and around the country with the likes of Ray Charles, Michael Wagner, Antsy McClain, Maynard Ferguson, The Modern Skirts, Stephanie Nilles, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The O’Jays, Grogus, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Tommy Smothers, Lou Rawls, and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. The ensemble has also collaborated with such Athens talent as JazzChronic, George W. Bush Cover Band, Betsy Franck & the Bareknuckle Band, and Lefty Hathaway on both albums and live performances.