Not to be confused with the English band, Brass Monkey, this group is a high energy San Francisco brass band not unlike the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth brass bands of New Orleans. With a traditional lineup of sousaphone (played with funky virtuosity by leader Jon Birdsong), saxes, trumpets, trombones, bass drum and snare these guys are anything but traditional. Brass Monkey takes a very contemporary approach to their sound and style, drawing their repertoire from such diverse sources as Stevie Wonder and the Beastie Boys, plenty of originals, as well as a funked up version of "When The Saints Go Marching In."
Arrangements are written with plenty of room give over to solos that are backed by sometimes off-kilter and dissonant riffs and churning percussion. Particular highlights are "Blue Light" and "Voodoo Duty" written by Jon Birdsong, who has logged in playing time with Beck, Victoria Williams and Mushroom. The seven live, extended-length songs on the group’s debut CD capture a typical Brass Monkey performance that one minute could be acoustic acid jazz, the next minute old fashioned big band grooves. Highly recommended to fans of the brass band sound. Warning: It’ll be hard to sit still while listening to this group of twisted groovers!