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Dirty Dozen Brass Band celebrates a fast 35 years

for Journal Register Newspapers

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The Dirty Dozen Brass Band's 35th anniversary crept up on saxophonist Roger Lewis and his bandmates -- five of whom were part of the original lineup of the New Orleans septet, which hails from the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in the Crescent City's Treme section.

"It's amazing that time went by like that, that fast," says Lewis, 70. "I remember the very beginning, and I just can't believe we've been together this long...'cause usually bands don't last like that.

"I think a lot of it's got to do with the guys and the chemistry that's involved in this. It's like family, even though we have differences from time to time. But it's the music, the people who are playing the music, the spirit. It's all of that."

Dirty Dozen celebrated the anniversary with a new studio album, "Twenty Dozen," that includes original songs as well as covers of Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" and the Rolling Stones' "Paint It, Black." And while the group's members aren't exactly getting younger, Lewis says he still has plenty of ambitions for the Dirty Dozen's future.

"I always wanted to do a project with classical music, country music -- all different styles of music from different parts of the world, man," he says. "That's how you keep it fresh. That's how you keep reinventing yourself. We've experimented with so many different styles over the years, from gospel to Rhythm & Blues ot jazz, fusion, avant garde...but there's so much out there.

"We're definitely still hungry when it comes to that, so we're not stopping any time soon."

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band performs Friday, Sept. 7, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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