Ready for Mardi Gras? |

Ready for Mardi Gras?

Cassie Pence
Special to the DailyFor a band like Brotherhood of Groove, only 4 years old, to land a spot on the 2005 New Orleans Jazz Fest lineup speaks highly of the players' chops.

WEST VAIL – In New Orleans, music is so abundant it oozes from the cracks of the sidewalks. So for a band like Brotherhood of Groove, only 4 years old, to land a spot on the 2005 New Orleans Jazz Fest lineup speaks highly of the players’ chops.”We’ve been trying to get into the festival’s fairgrounds for three years. A lot of big name national acts, like Medeski Martin and Wood and Karl Denson, aren’t getting in this year. It’s a huge acknowledgment for us,” said Brotherhood of Groove founder and guitarist Brandon Tarricone.For the uninitiated, New Orleans Jazz Fest celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. It’s one of the biggest music parties of the year, in the past featuring special guests like Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, B.B. King, Dave Matthews Band, the Allman Brothers Band, Joni Mitchell, Al Green, James Brown and Stevie Ray Vaughan. And the guests are just the ones that attract attention, it’s the performances by the lesser-known musical gems hailing from the Bayou city that really make the three-day festival special.

Tarricone, also the band’s composer and lead singer, moved from Boston to New Orleans about eight years ago to study jazz at Loyola University on scholarship. He formed the band about four years ago. But it was the lessons on the streets and in the clubs, not the classrooms, that have taught him the most about playing music.”I went to school to speak the language, but school doesn’t teach you soul. You learn soul from playing in town,” said Tarricone. “There’s a lot of competition in New Orleans. It forces you to keep playing better and better.”Brother Hood of Groove (B.O.G.) is conscious about trying not to emulate other New Orleans bands, like Papa Grows Funk. But the group’s style is quintessential New Orleans – greasy and loose – the main reason people love New Orleans music, said Tarricone. “We’re pretty different, though. We get into a little more rock ‘n’ roll and a little more jazz. I’m a huge fan of Trey (Anastasio), Jerry Garcia and Wes Montgomery. We incorporate all those encompassing influences, funky improvised jams, jazz work and that rich New Orleans vibe into everything we’re doing,” said Tarricone.

The band’s latest album, “BOG Style,” showcases the brass section with Jeff Watkins of James Brown Band, who also produced the album, Sam Kininger of Soulive, Geoff Vidal (a regular member), Steve Bernstein of Sex Mob, Henley Douglas Jr. of Boston Horns and guests Ivan Neville of Neville Brothers and Marco Benevento of the Duo. It’s one of those CDs you might throw in to rev up a party – it’s good-time music. Kininger on saxophone will join Tarricone with the rest of the Brotherhood members – Stew McKinsey on bass, Jon Massing on drums (who used to play percussion for Brian Stolz of the funky Meters) and Vidal on tenor sax – at Sandbar in West Vail Tuesday night at 10.”Geoff is probably the least well-known but our strongest player. All the guys are phenomenal,” said Tarricone. Brotherhood of Groove hasn’t played the same set twice since they left New Orleans late December. They have 65 original tunes and play a vast array of covers from the Meters to Parliament to Outkast. As always, I’m sure Vail will be welcoming of the New Orleans crew.

“Every night we lay it on thick. It’s a party. We come out in full costumes. Jumpsuits, bathrobes. We’re already in Mardi Gras season,” said Tarricone.Tickets for the show are $7. For more information log on to or call the Sandbar at 476-4314Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.comVail Colorado

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