The chase has been on for a longtime for drummer/percussionist extraordinaire Scott Kettner. With his collective Nation Beat, he has long explored the folkloric musical traditions of Brazil and Louisiana. That exploration of the shared history and culture of these two incredibly rich musical areas has led to a hybridity, one mixed with his jazz influence, inspiring Kettner and his crew to compose and perform new music that brings all of these influences together.
The chase has led Kettner to a royal payoff. The Royal Chase (NBM), out now, is an album that represents a new distinctive sound for Nation Beat. It is the primal sounds of brass instruments mixed with drums and percussion, reinterpreting classics and presenting original songs for curious listeners who thrive on musical pluralism and surprises. The new Nation Beat sound is unplugged and funky. Forró, Funk, Brass ’n’ Sass!
“I wanted to reimagine the classic forró songs from Brazil as vehicles for improvisation in a funky brass band format.” Kettner enthuses in the studio where he co-produced The Royal Chase with longtime friend and collaborator Rob Curto (Lila Downs, David Krakauer), “I’ve always imagined my musical heroes making music together and what it would sound like, what kind of energy it would generate. Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band meets Chico Science and Jackson do Pandeiro.” Kettner also partnered with Paul Carlon Tenor Sax (Tony Allen) on the horn arrangements, which helped shape the new sound of the band.
That energy comes through this album in spades. The original compositions blur the lines between genres and bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary music. Throughout, there is a fascinating and funky blend of the roots styles of New Orleans and Brazil. NOLA jazz slips and slides around Brazilian Baião; insistent maracatu beats push a Second Line swagger. Guest vocals and a stellar production add to the overall power of The Royal Chase.
The Royal Chase represents all that is evident in cross-cultural explorations and the importance of sharing, learning and discovering. But forget the musical history; this is music to make you dance.
The chase doesn’t really end here, though. Nation Beat’s bandleader Scott Kettner holds a weekly online livestream from his Facebook page on drumming and will be featuring new songs and collaborations from The Royal Chase in the coming weeks. You can tune in every Tuesday at 8:00pm EST at https://www.facebook.com/scott.kettner. Also stay tuned for Scott’s involvement as a co-producer for an upcoming virtual Globalquerque event. More info coming at https://www.globalquerque.org.
When touring opens up again, Nation Beat will be ready to bring The Royal Chase to stages across the country and beyond. Their live shows are joyous, rocking, affairs, lifting the feet – and the souls – of audiences with the group’s singular musical mojo that calls across time and continents with the force that blew through Louis Armstrong and the power that gets Brazilians swinging in the streets for carnival.
Head over to https://www.nationbeat.com for order details and a new line of merchandise rolling out for The Royal Chase.