Listen to Atmosphere




Michael Hepworth


HOLLYWOOD (Perfect Music Today)  12/7/20/–Calling your attention to Atmosphere by the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, nominated for a Grammy® in the Best Regional Roots Music Album category. Atmosphere is the band’s fifth album and their first release in eleven years. Their Grammy nomination is, arguably, a career pinnacle achieved after more than a quarter century though their appearance on an episode of The Simpsons (“Lisa Gets The Blues”) comes close.* During that time, the band has kept the flame of the New Orleans brass band tradition burning brightly while adding elements of soul and funk keeping their repertoire contemporary.   Replay Magazine saluted “their intoxicating combination of traditional jazz, modern funk, and “a booty-shaking, hanky-waving rhythmic base that would set even the most rhythmically impaired among us to stomping.” The Louisiana Weekly noted “We need the Nightcrawlers to ensure that the quality of brass band music remains high and to lead the next generation of players by example.”

The cover art for Atmosphere shows the band on earth under the gaze of New Orleans music “angels” in heaven underscoring their debut to their musical forbears.  These include Allen Toussaint, Eric Traub  the band’s tenor sax player who died two years ago, Fats Domino, the late Leigh ‘Lil Queenie’ Harris who fronted Li’l Queenie and the Percolators for many years, Dr. John, and Lucien Barbarin, the trombonist who was part of the Preservation Hall Jazz band and backed Harry Connick, Jr. among others as well as Danny Barker who helped revitalize the brass band scene in the 1970s by getting youngsters involved in the tradition, Lucien Barbarian among them.

The New Orleans Nightcrawlers today officially number nine members including  Kevin Clark and Barney Floyd on trumpet, Caytanio Hingle, bass drum; Kerry “Fatman” Hunter, snare drum, cymbal; Craig Klein, trombone and vocals; Miles Lyons, trombone,; Jason Mingledorff, tenor sax and clarinet and Matt Perrine, sousaphone and Brent Rose, tenor sax.  Except for two tracks, the repertoire on Atmosphere was composed by band members, keeping the brass band movement relevant to current times. One of the two songs by outside writers is “Big Bottom,” a song improbably sourced from the repertoire of Spinal Tap.  It was written by group members Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel), Michael McKean (Derek St. Hubbins), Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls) and director Rob Reiner (Marty DiBergi).  Shearer, a New Orleans resident, commented, “Even if it didn’t include the best-ever cover of ‘Big Bottom’, the Nightcrawlers’ new collection has this exceptional brass band in furiously great shape, exploring new harmonies and sonorities for the traditional New Orleans instrumental format.  No sitting allowed.” In the film This Is Spinal Tap, the band employs three electric basses to get the desired effect; the Nightcrawlers used three sousaphones.

Listen to “Big Bottom” from Atmosphere:

BY Keith Spera,

writing for, observed, “The influence of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the patriarchs of contemporary New Orleans brass band music, looms large in the crisp musicianship, sophisticated arrangements and spirited execution of Atmosphere.” Jake Funkmayor, made Atmosphere Album of the Week on, noteing, “Although the group credits Dirty Dozen Brass Band as the progenitors of the brass bound sound, I feel the Nightcrawlers have definitely carved their way into the quintessential funk, brass NOLA style sound which they’ve made all their own.  Listen to this album end to end and you’ll be transported right to the center of Congo Square.” Ron Littlejohn, DJ on Toronto’s JazzFM91, reports, “I go on a musical journey to New Orleans every week on the show.  Every time I play The New Orleans Nightcrawlers the phones and emails light up. It never fails!”

*Full disclosure: Lisa Simpson does not play on Atmosphere 

Watch the New Orleans Nightcrawlers performing a full-length set from NOLA’s Funky Uncle to benefit the Funk Fund:




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