Sept. 14, 2016 12:57 AM

Label a record jazz or funk and include the words brass in the name — of a Louisiana band, no less — and it’s sure to be seen as a New Orleans street creation. While Brass Mimosa’s Stay Sharp has just as much butt-shaking rhythm as any band out of the 504, they are far from this preconceived stereotype.

Instead, Brass Mimosa appears to draw from bands out of Lafayette. Though few in number — sometimes existing in a genre all their own — there is a lineage of Hub City funk/jazz fusion bands that have done well by doing their own thing. There’s a free form foundation familiar to Modern Jazz Movement, though Brass Mimosa is farther from jazz than the Bisbano’s staple. Most clearly, Brass Mimosa lines up nicely with Asparagus Allstars but with less focus on guitar and a laid back and patient approach. In fact, the way Brass Mimosa slowly lays out a song is more like going on a journey via a progressive rock time table. Don’t expect quick resolutions, instead these compositions take their time and morph into completely different pieces. Surprises seem to wait around every corner — “No Soap for Days” emerges from a breakdown as spacey prog rock.

Although the record doesn’t speak at all, it seems to speak volumes, telling stories through rhythm and sound. A smart batch of jazz fusion here, a sweaty boogie there, Stay Sharp is incredibly eclectic and ever building. There are spots of jam band crunch with Latin keys. There’s a world music sound and feel that isn’t world music at all. Thanks to the seven members, it’s a big sound yet is without jumble and commotion. Oddly, though rooted in Lafayette’s music, they are a band you’d expect to be just visiting when they play in town. Yet, for anyone who has been paying attention to local sounds, they seem right at home.

Employing a freedom — of ideas and away from genre constraints — that our scene has always had, Brass Mimosa’s Stay Sharp is equal parts funky and Lafayette-born.


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