SOUL with a Capital S
Soul Brass Band
Soul Brass Band is exactly what it needs to be: a great New Orleans Brass Band steeped in tradition that also plays the perfect party. Day after day in New Orleans, this all-star lineup is called upon for its top-flight traditional Brass Band repertoire and Second line Parades; and then night after night, they’re called upon again for frontman Derrick Freeman’s signature brass band infusion of classic Soul.
Book Soul Brass Band today!
Contact us here for Booking or fill out our booking request web-form.
Or you can call the management agency by phone at 504.421.8650.
See below for the biographies of this All-Star Team!
Soul Brass Band
LEON "KID CHOCOLATE" BROWN
Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown has accomplished a lot at a relatively young age. Picking up the trumpet at the age of 9, he’s toured the world playing music since the age of 15. He’s won a Latin Billboard Award, been nominated for two Grammy Awards, and won a Grammy in 2010. He’s recorded with such acclaimed artists as Irvin Mayfield and Jill Scott, and he plays the trumpet for Treme character Delmond Lambreaux (Rob Brown).These days, in addition to a weekly gig at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, Brown is on the faculty at the Don Jamison Heritage School of Music. He enjoys his time working with his lucky students.Leon is a graduate of NOCCA and UNO. He is also the leader of Onward Brass Band and is a long time member Smokers World.
JAMES R. MARTIN
James is a prolific songwriter and producer, working with artists such as Ivan Neville, Paul Sanchez, and Franklin IV (of BET’s “Sunday’s Best”). In 2011, He earned a spot playing guitar on the introduction to ESPN’s Monday Night Football with fiddler Amanda Shaw (with whom James has recorded and performed numerous times). In 2012, he was featured in a scene on HBO’s Treme along with Ernie Vincent and legendary saxophonist James Rivers. The same year, he began performing regularly with dynamic trombonist Glen David Andrews.
At NOCCA, James began his professional music career, performing with Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. His first year with Shorty included performances at New York’s Apollo Theatre and Central Park, as well as at French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest in New Orleans. He matriculated on full scholarship at Loyola University, New Orleans, while performing several times a week at local clubs and touring the United States, Europe, and South America. He is a founding member of MFG.
Terrance is native to New Orleans. He is a graduate of the legendary St. Augustine high school in the 7th Ward. He was member of Southern University's Human Jukebox which has received international acclaim. Taplin is a long standing member of the historic Treme Brass Band. He is the musical director of Delfeayo Marsalis' Uptown Jazz Orchestra. He has recorded and toured with Raphael Saadiq of Tony Toni Tone and Lucy Pearl fame. He has performed at The Grammys
Louis is a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) ('95). He has earned a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at Oberlin Conservatory of Music ('99). Kevin has also received a Masters of Arts from the Aaron Copland's School of Music at Queens College in New York ('01). He has studied under the following jazz musicians: Clyde Kerr, Jr., Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Kenneth Davis, Donald Walden, Bobby Ferrazza, Stacy Cole, Wendell Logan, Gregory Bandy, Neal Creque, Sir Roland Hanna and Michael Phillip Mossman. He also studied with the following classical instructors: Ronald Benko, Byron Pearson, William Lucas, and Charles Couch.
He has shared the stage with Dave Bartholomew, Bobby Watson, Victor Lewis, Jimmy Heath, Kermit Ruffins, Roland Guerin, Victor Atkins, Carmen Lundy, Curtis Lundy, Nicholas Payton, Gary Bartz, Henry Butler, Jesse Davis, Will Calhoun, Mos Def, Peter Martin, Fred Sanders, Shelly Caroll, Donald Edwards and many more. Kevin has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Chicago's Ravinia Festival, the Ford Montreaux Detroit Jazz Festival, the Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival, the Umbria and Pescara Jazz Festivals in Italy, and the Istanbul Jazz Festival in Turkey. He attended the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Colony at Jazz Aspen Snowmass. He has appeared on BET's Jazz Discovery, and Jazz ED. TV.
STEVEN "TUBA STEVE" GLENN
Steven Glenn aka TubaSteve, hails from Denver, Colorado and is a recent addition to the New Orleans family and community. Classically trained on the tuba, Steven has established himself as a freelance tuba/sousaphone player in his new home. In his relatively short time in New Orleans, he has appeared in performance with the Panorama Jazz and Brass Bands, Aurora Nealand's Royal Roses, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, James Andrews' Crescent City All-Stars and many others. In addition, he has also been featured as a guest sitting in with New Orleans' own Bonerama as well as appearances on WGNO with Magnetic Ear, for News with a Twist, and Kid Merv. Steven's latest collaborative project, DinosAurchestra, continues to expand on what has set New Orleans apart in the music world by blending traditional jazz and New Orleans R&B into a diverse group of musicians with eclectic, and modern, backgrounds. In expressing his views on music and the role of tuba in today's world, Steven spreads his message and love of instrument through a simply hashtag: #TurnUpBassAmplitude.
Since coming to New Orleans in 2001, Danny Abel has become one of the most in demand guitar players in the Crescent City. Originally from Jackson, MS, Danny began playing guitar at the age of 11. Learning to play music in Jackson, he quickly developed a strong sense of blues and got his introduction to jazz, two styles which largely shape his playing today. At the age of 18 Danny moved to New Orleans and began studying jazz performance at UNO, getting the opportunity to study with Steve Masakowski, Hank Mackie, and Ed Petersen, just to name a few. He graduated in 2005 and has stayed in the city, gigging regularly all over town.
Today Danny can be seen at many venues around the city, playing numerous styles. His diversity is one of his strongest assets and enables him to maintain a full schedule year round. He can be found all over NOLA and the country with his funk/ electronic band Gravity A. He also is a member of the high energy funk outfit Khris Royal and Dark Matter, with whom he tours regularly. Other groups you can catch Danny with include: Pat Casey and the New Sound, Mainline Brass Band, Corey Henry & The Treme Funktet, Derrick Freeman & Smoker’s World, Groovesect, etc – this list goes on and on. Additionally, he has had the opportunity to share the stage with many great musicians, including George Porter Jr., Doug Wimbish, Fred Wesley, Ike Stubblefield, Terrence Higgins, Nigel Hall, Big Sam Williams, and countless others.
Danny’s love for New Orleans has kept him in the city for over a decade and he has no plans to leave. The vibrant culture and bustling music scene create an ideal location for him. Just as diverse as the city itself is his musical palette and for that reason New Orleans has become his home. Keep an eye out for the busy guitarist when you go to see live music in the Crescent City.
Currently playing with the iconic New Orleans bands The Treme Brass Band, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles, FUNKIFRY'D, and drummer/producer of Cha Dooky Doo- the Music of Art Neville , New Orleans native Aron has grown to become a vital force in the honored tradition of New Orleans drumming. In addition to his current gigs, his touring the country (for years with the New Orleans band JUICE), playing every club from Preservation Hall to Tipitina's to the Fox and all the festivals in between, Aron's made 'em dance for over 25 years.
In addition to Treme Brass Band, JUICE and the Preservation Hall, Aron has played with Stevie Wonder, Art Neville, George Porter Jr., Cyril Neville, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Kirk Joseph, Anders Osborn, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Rev. John Wilkins, Jeff Coffin, Papa Mali, Eric Krasno, Ben Ellman, Lee Oscar, Leroy Jones, Trombone Shorty, Big Sam Williams, Chris Mule', Jeff Watkins, Joe Krown, CR Gruver.........
DERRICK "SMOKER" FREEMAN
Derrick Freeman is an American, New Orleans-based, virtuoso percussionist, vocalist, pianist, songwriter and music industry veteran. His work includes twenty years of percussion for Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers and a handful of other prominent New Orleans bands - Coolbone, Mass Hysteria, All That and Crönk; more than thirty years of study in jazz, funk, pop, and related styles; a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans under the direction of Ellis Marsalis and Harold Batiste, completed in 1998, leading to close study with Shannon Powell; touring and recording credits with a long list of internationally-cherished bands and musicians; acting and voice credits in TV and Film, most notably in Treme on HBO; and most recently, solo albums and band ventures that capitalize on Freeman’s devastating versatility (and good looks).
His solo work began in 2007 with Smoker’s World, a collective of musicians dedicated to Pop and Funk in the New Orleans-jazz tradition. In 2012, Freeman released Blurple Pain, nominated by OffBeat Magazine for R&B/Funk Record of the Year. Says John Swenson of Offbeat, “great arrangements, truth-telling and consciousness-raising, comic relief, fine storytelling, memorable love songs, and tasteful instrumental work,” Freeman made his “eccentricity work for him in a big way.” Freeman also created Band of Elliots, a group of musicians pushing Jazz, Hip Hop, Funk, and R&B further into the mainstream (and a great wedding band). In 2014, Freeman is ready to release his next album, DWB, where eccentricity and devastating versatility have made way for a fusion of party music that finds not only gangstas and grandmas, but everyday good people dancing along to the beat together. An energetic locus of creativity and pizzazz, Freeman is sought by musicians around the world to create unique, superlative arrangements of talent. He is also a member of MFG, a power trio. He is also the founder of The Soul Brass Band.