Soul Rebels: Lumar LeBlanc (rap vocals, snare drum); Curtis Watson, Jr. (vocals, trumpet); William Terry (soprano, tenor & baritone saxophones); Byron Bernard (tenor saxophone); Mervin Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steven Johnson, Ronell Johnson (trombone); Damoion Francois (tuba); Derrick J. Moss (bass drum).
Recorded at Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, Louisiana in May 1994.
Personnel: Rev. Curtis Watson (vocals, trumpet); Damion Francois (vocals, tuba); Lumar LeBlanc (rap vocals, snare drum); William Terry (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Byron Bernard (tenor saxophone); Mervin Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steve Johnson , Ronell Johnson, Steven Johnson (trombone); Derrick Moss, J. Derrick Moss (bass drum).
Recording information: Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, LA (05/1994).
Arrangers: Lumar LeBlanc; Rev. Curtis Watson.
Key players in the contemporary New Orleans brass band scene, the Soul Rebels add their own special flavor to the jazz and funk melange cooked up by older brass band cohorts such as Rebirth and the Dirty Dozen. The Rebels are a nine-piece ensemble that uses traditional brass band instrumentation (tuba, bass and snare drums, two trombones, two saxophones, and two trumpets) to combine New Orleans parade marches, swing, calypso, reggae, hardcore funk, rap, and hip-hop into its unique sound.
LET YOUR MIND BE FREE, the group's first offering, captures a healthy slice of the Rebels' collaborative, improvisatory energy while showcasing their ability to bridge genres. Everything makes its way into the mix, including Latin shuffle ("Culture in the Ghetto"), and jazz from the canon (a cover of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints"); even "Also Sprach Zarathustra," the theme from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, gets a funk treatment. Rocksteady island rhythms ("L.O.V.E. U") churn alongside streetwise jams such as "Flowing and Flying" and "Black Juke," which feature raps courtesy of snare drummer Lumar Leblanc. As the irresistible title cut claims, music is a force for personal and cultural liberation, and the Rebels' highly original, danceable brew employs that force to powerful effect.