The Soul Rebels have traveled the globe only to discover the old cliché: “There’s No Place Like Home.” This spiritual, emotional, and cultural revelation inspired the band to focus their new CD on the soulful roots of New Orleans’ culture. After being confounded by the devastation Hurricane Katrina brought to their home, the group commenced a reformation of purpose. Unfortunately, some members were not able to rebuild their beloved homes or couldn’t handle the financial burdens as a result of the storm’s aftermath.
This was a hard time for the Soul Rebels and it required new members to keep the band going. After recording “504”, “Get Up”, and “No Place Like Home”, original tuba player Damien Francois was replaced by Edward Lee. Damien plays from time to time when he visits New Orleans, will forever carry the mark of the Da Rebel on his back and will be an eternal Rebel to us. Trumpet player Marcus Hubbard insisted that the band incorporate a lead guitar after experimenting with the concept when they performed with Makuni “Jackie Chan” Fukuda, lead guitarist for The Neville Brothers. Marcus appreciated the sound that was added to the Da Rebel flavor and along came guitarist Norimitsu Hirata. A new saxophonist, Erion Williams, joined the group and was the first to start the new Rebel regime leading into “No Place Like Home”. While the old members will be missed, the new members continue to hit the stage as if they were born to be Rebels.
A new lineup was just the first obstacle for the band after Katrina. Adding to the frustration was that the Rebelution CD with recevied with mix emotions. The group concentrated on making Rebelution a project that showcased the many talents and musical interests of the members. It was not brass band music, not New Orleans music, not Jazz, but simply compositions and melodies that represented a piece of each individual member of the band. However, our ability to arrange, sing, direct, recite poetry, write lyrics, program complex rhythm sequences, and bring in other artists to complement the Da Rebel sound went unnoticed. The Soul Rebels believed they embarked on a new frontier musically; but while some saw it as a masterpiece, others felt it was “over produced”.
The band was disappointed to hear the clean, crisp Rebel sound called “over produced” and contemplated ways to combat the statement. Many people agreed that the energy and musicianship displayed at a Rebel show was unmatched but not properly presented to the world. The idea for a live recording came up among Da Rebel management team and, after deciding to record at the Blue Nile Nightclub in the Marigny, the band members settled on the songs. Da Rebels play songs dedicated to New Orleans and the urgency to come together and rebuild. This compelled the band to record “No Place Like Home”, “Get Up”, and “504” without a record company or other outside assistance. The only studio-recorded tracks on the album are kept 100% NOLA, with help from Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, whose touch of magic can only be found in the Big Easy.
Now, another MASTERPIECE is in place!