"Yimutha" - Youngblood Brass Band

"Yimutha" (PDF) from the Youngblood Brass Band album, Word On The Street.
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I really like this tune.  I remember when I first heard the album and "Yimutha" stood out to my young ears.  At the time, I was not entirely hip to the brass band traditions that are prominent throughout the album, and "Yimutha" has something different to add to the mix that I could naively recognize.  Admittedly, the groove is funky, the parts intersect with each other, and the horns are fat, but it is not a marching tune.  "Yimutha" is the sound from the outside, the suburban brass band that is separated by distance and comes together, one by one, to meet up in the drummer's garage to jam.

The solo, uncredited in the liner notes, shows some of the young tendencies that I mentioned in my previous post, but its phrasing and shape are the work of an experienced ear, someone who listens by feeling the music.  The structure of the tune is simple and the solo is a 16-bar form made up of two "choruses."  It should automatically phrase itself.  For instance, the first two bars of a "chorus" make a statement, then the next two bars answer and elaborate on that statement.  In the improv world, this action is called the "Yes, And…"  Bars five and six introduce new ideas that create tension through harmony or emphasized rhythms.  This tension is released in bars seven and eight through an expressive tone, note and/or a closing phrase.  Then just add in some background horn riffs and repeat.  You now have an effective solo.

Notice, here, how each "chorus" builds up to a high Ab, a note that rubs against the harmony.  In the first, the sound of dissonance is introduced and gradually walks up to the Ab, where it is then repeated for good measure.  In the second, the sixteenth-note rhythms lay heavy on the Eb (the dominate pitch of Ab).  Because this rhythm is very deliberate, the soulful syncopated rhythm on the Ab is a resolute contrast to the static phrasing that preceded it.  The use of form and structure should provide a framework for musical expression, rather than to limit it, and any musician that ignores these aides is simply misguided.

If the third background riff sounds familiar, it might be trying to quote "Tennessee" by Arrested Development.

There are a couple YouTube videos of other brass bands playing "Yimutha," but what I appreciate about this one is the specific use of Afro-Cuban rhythms within the groove.  This is what separates New Orleans from the rest of the world, and even from the United States.

Recommended Reading: COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE by John Hodgman.  That is all.