Like any of the true New Orleans brass bands its members have long looked up to – and are pretty nearly eye-level with these days -- the Twin Cities’ own Jack Brass Band can go from playing ultra-funky versions of modern tunes by R. Kelly and Usher to soul-stirring renditions of traditional gospel tunes.
The nine-man horn troupe offered up the former format on last year’s album “For Your Body,” and now they’re offering up the latter genre on the follow-up record “For Your Soul,” which they’re promoting with a release party Thursday night at Vieux Carré in downtown St. Paul (9 p.m., $8).
The album features some of the must-do gospel standards that have long been a part of the nonet’s live repertoire, including “Down by the Riverside,” “I’ll Fly Away” and “When the Saints Go Marching In,” plus some deeper holy cuts. Minneapolis’s best-known gospel belter, Robert Robinson, shows his amazing vocal grace on “Do Lord” and “Amazing Grace.” Being so far away from the actual NOLA brass ensembles who do this stuff day in and day out, JBB probably could have turned in rather by-the-numbers renditions of these tunes and made out fairly well. But they actually produced some surprisingly innovative and inspired versions.
Here are some samples of the album's tracks below.