Blind Boys of Alabama w/ Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Ottawa Jazzfest

Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Blind Boys of Alabama at Ottawa Jazzfest

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It seemed like a recipe for a perfectly combined set of music, a mashup of a New Orleans jazz brass band backing a southern gospel vocal group would be a no brainer but the production was a little unexpected.  The show was split up like a showcase for bands, which placed the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the start of the show on half of the stage, with 4 vacant chairs on the other half.  It appeared like they would be joined by the Blind Boys after a couple of numbers, but this half of the bill were solo for around 40 minutes.

They were warming up the audience, calling them to their feet and engaging them to sing along in numbers like "When the Saints Go Marching in".  There was plenty of participation from the less than packed audience, and it still felt a little small mostly because the stage was only half occupied.   A short break was announced as the Blind Boys would be arriving to the stage soon.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Blind Boys of Alabama at Ottawa Jazzfest

When the Blind Boys from Alabama appeared on the stage to the welcoming audience, they also began to perform a set alone on their half of the stage.  It seemed like all that warming up from the Dirty Dozen had dissipated and the Blind Boys would need to work the audience back up onto their feet.

Eventually, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band exited the stage leaving the Blind Boys to finish the show.  There was one of those predetermined encore fake-outs that is always part of the live music formula.  Band leaves the stage, crowd screams out for more, band returns acting like the crowd willed them back for more.  In this case, the Blind Boys were led through the curtain opening behind the drums and hid for about 20 seconds before reappearing, along with the Dirty Dozen Brass to play one more.

This was a fun show loaded with great performances, and it could have hit a larger peak had both bands dominated the stage together for the majority of it.