Second line music is most common in New Orleans, but with the efforts of groups like the Element Brass Band, second line is reaching appreciative audiences well beyond its traditional boundaries. Second line music is being played both nationally and internationally. Element Brass Band is the premier brass band in Sacramento, CA and one of the few authentic second line bands on the West Coast! EBB have toured New York, Atlanta, and New Orleans and performed at many, many clubs including The Fillmore, The New Parish, Club Amnesia, the Boom Boom Room, Ace Of Spades, the Starlight Lounge, the Shady Lady Saloon. Element has opened for the likes of Giza (Wu-Tang Clan), Blackalicious, Andy Frasco, The California Honeydrops, Turkuaz and many others.
When Sacramento trumpeter Ryan Robertson traveled to New Orleans in 2010, he knew that he had found a new home and calling. Robertson immersed himself in New Orleans’ rich culture and became fascinated with the local music, finding work playing in several local brass bands. When Robertson returned to his hometown of Sacramento in 2011, he brought the music of New Orleans with him. He quickly rallied some of Sacramento's top aspiring musicians, and the Element Brass Band was born. Robertson could not get New Orleans out of his blood and soon returned to the Crescent City to further his musical career, passing the bandleader torch to saxophonist Byron Colborn.
Second line is a long standing tradition with brass band parades, born out of New Orleans. The tradition is rooted in post-Civil War America with musical ties and lineage dating back to early West African culture. The main line, also known as the first line, is the first section in a brass band parade. The first line is led by members of the respective club who hold a parading permit. In the first line of the parade you will also find the brass band. Those who follow behind the parade to dance and enjoy the music are known as the second line; this means YOU! Second line parades generally lack the slower hymns and solemn music of "jazz funerals," also a common tradition in New Orleans. The second line style of traditional dance, known as "second lining," includes exaggerated movements, loose coordination, and a freedom of interpretation. Brightly colored parasols and handkerchiefs being held high are common to brass band parades. Second line music represents freedom, history and celebration of life itself!
You may not know it, but since the band began Element has been fusing second line music with hip hop. When an audience member listens closely they will often hear west coast hip hop being played as a back ground to a horn players' solo. In September 2013 the Element Brass Band decided to no longer be subtle about their love for hip hop. Element began a long lasting collaboration with Z.F.G. Promotions, lead by Andru Defeye. The pair started Sacramento's first live Jazz/Hip Hop fusion event known as FLOW, and have worked closing together for events like "The Most Open Mic in the City". Since the beginning of their collaboration, E.B.B. and Z.F.G. Promotions have been heard at venues including Concerts in the Park, Assembly Music Hall, The Press Club, and The Crocker Art Museum. Their fusion of of jazz and hip hop can even be heard from time to time right on the streets of Sacramento! Check out the links below to stay updated on the hip hop side of Element.