Monday, December 7, 2009

We Are Family: The Neville Brothers

The Neville Brothers: Yellow Moon


I got a chance to see the Neville Brothers live in their hometown way back in my teenage years, in the midst of the Jazz and Heritage Festival, and let me tell you, if you've seen 'em too, you know I'll never forget the swampy energy that oozed from that stage that night like dark voodoo sweat.

Unusually for a sibling act, the Neville Brothers started off separately, making names for themselves as solo and session players; they did not perform together until their uncle Big Chief Jolly brought them together for a 1976 recording session for his Louisiana carnival "tribe" The Wild Tchoupitoulas. On their own, each of the brothers had evolved his own style - Art as the long-time post-doo-wop solo artist and founding keyboardist for The Meters, Cyril as the hand percussionist who followed in his older brother's footsteps, Aaron as the angelic and saccharine soul pop singer, Charles as the rock & roll and jazz session saxophonist. Put 'em together, and the sound is a fusion of all these styles and more: big, bold, smooth and sultry all at once, and every second of it pure New Orleans funk through and through.

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