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.

Members of Soul

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.

JAMES R. MARTIN

James Martin 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.

LEON "KID CHOCOLATE" BROWN

Leon Brown has accomplished a lot at a relatively young age. Picking up the trumpet at the age of 9, he has 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.

DANNY ABEL

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.

Soul Brass Band