Keeping the New Orleans Brass Band Tradition Alive… In Wisconsin!

Sousaphonist Erik Jacobson’s romance with New Orleans brass bands started when he was in high school and was exposed to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band record “My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now.” After sharing the album with fellow University of Wisconsin-Madison music student Christopher “Roc” Ohly, he started up Mama Digdown’s Brass Band. They’ve kept it going for thirty years touring all over, including making more than fifty trips to New Orleans. It’s become a kind of family band, as both Ohly and Jacobson each have children that regularly sit in with the group (see photo above, which Ohly is towing his four-year old son with a rope tied around his waist and attached to a wagon in which his son plays trombone). Friday, January 12th, Mama Digdown’s Brass Band plays a concert at the Parkway Theatre, sharing a billing with the Akie Berniss Trio and comedian Trish Cook. Erik Jacobson spoke with Jazz88’s Peter Solomon about the history behind the band and what makes him so passionate about New Orleans brass band music.


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