I first discovered Dupont Brass through their track “Drippin,” which I immediately added to my Nü Qü playlist. It’s so good and my personal favorite from their full-length album “Music Education.” It may have been released last June, 2020, but it’s better to be late to the party than never stumbling upon great music at all. Dupont Brass is a 9-piece jazz fusion r&b brass ensemble with so much soul it smacks you in the face with every brass rip. Their rhythmn section and MC vocalists add such a spicy element to their sound that it sounds like a hip-hop group and jazz band are combining forces to make magic happen, but it’s all entirely one cohesive group. All I’m saying is I would have been mind blown if Dupont Brass hosted a masterclass for my college music program. Getting their start as a group of five music majors from Howard University to having now performed as a full 9-piece brass ensemble at the D.C. Jazz Festival, with The Washington Performing Arts Society, and on Kennedy Center Millenium Stage, it is evident the path Dupont Brass is paving for themselves in both the educational and performance realms of the music industry. Their most recent project “Music Education” is a testament to their creative versatility, musical talents, and perseverance in making their mark.
Here are some highlights from “Music Education” —
The “Intro” is a clip of old-school jazz melodies and trumpet wails over a static that makes it sound like it’s being played on vinyl. It’s basically a message that anyone who is listening for the first time is about to get schooled on some quality modern jazz.
“Found Midnight” is the first full track on the album, starting with a modern trap drum beat with slow jazz brass chords and smooth r&b melodies singing of “keeping eyes on the bag.” Then, rap bars and piano take over, encouraging lyrics advising the grand kids “that by living in your own truth, you really got the gold.” A wailing trumpet feature carries the tune through to the end.
“Bring That Ass Here” boasts flirty horn melodies and even the drum intro makes you wanna dance. Boisterous warm female vocals and rap verses bounce back and forth. The lyrics, “lemme rub your feet… I used to be a player, whatcha done to me?” speaks to being whipped for that special someone!
The next tune “To Be Continued” is super creative and intelligently composed. A harp goes absolutely ham on the arpeggios, Anderson .Paak style fast raps and Pentatonix-esque chorus vocals pair well together, and the beat shifts from a basa of sorts to a shuffle to a full-on ballad mode. The track is ironically titled because it keeps going and changes up a lot, keeping you up on your toes for what’s coming next.
“Homecoming” starts with a stripped percussive intro that transitions straight into a suave horn and vocals feature. When the chorus hits, the bass absolutely slaps (nice and slow), and feels like a homecoming party with your best friends and lover… aka it’s a party.
Skip forward a few tracks to “‘Til The End,” an uptempo song that feels exciting and sexy. The airy guitar melodies paired with horns and fun pop vocals make for a groovy anthem.
“Au Naturel” is a feel-good, light-hearted track loving on all the beautiful, natural things we cute humans have to offer. Upbeat rhythms and little bird sounds bring the feeling of sunshine beaming on rosy cheeks. The rap styling and vocal duo in this one is reminiscent of will.i.am and Fergie… of course, in the fashion of Dupont Brass with contagious energy.
Finally we get to the penultimate track of “Music Education,” “Drippin,” my personal favorite. I particularly love the second verse; it’s got lots of bounce and yummy tail-ends of phrases. The horns are comping splendidly behind the featured voices of the lovely backup lady vocalists. They say, “Drippin from my head way down to my shoes; I feel way too fly, you can’t kill my mood,” emphasizing feeling good and looking good.
“Let’s Go” is the closing track and finishes the album with a sweet farewell. It’s very conversational in the drums and bars. A sexy breakdown after a serious groove hits the spot in the middle of the song. Old school r&b with upbeat drums and great horn comping fill in for a perfect jam.
After listening to this album top to bottom, I now consider myself music educated. Throw on this record and get schooled!