Every now and then, an idea comes along that really hits home.
For years, I’ve watched other cities in the country claim to be the “music capital of the world.” Having grown up in New Orleans and traveled all over the country at a young age, I’ve always found this idea laughable. While every area of the country has a unique flavor and style when it comes to music, it’s truly hard to beat the talent of musician found in the city of New Orleans. I am astounded every day by the sheer quality of musician that grows up performing on the streets of our city.
Having said that, the music industry stays far, far away from New Orleans. While some would disagree, all it takes is a quick walk through the music centers of Nashville, LA, and even Austin, TX to realize that the same music industry that drives these cities simply does not exist in New Orleans. Many would say that is a great thing as it leaves the music unadulterated, while others would say that it leaves us slightly unprogressive in delivering our product to a mass audience. Like many things in life, it’s a give ‘n’ take situation.
Jason Parfait is one of those musicians who has a contagious energy and a super-charged spirit. His talent on the saxophone is unmatched by many – I firmly believe he is one of the leading saxophone players in Louisiana. While he’s always out to improve his craft, Jason is very unique in that he understands the big picture, business-wise. Jason’s always looking for new and exciting things to do in our world of music. I was very excited when both of us started talking a few years ago about putting together a “for-hire” professional horn section. The “504 Horns” are the result of many, many phone calls, lunch meetings, and general game planning – and it’s a project we are both very excited about.
Going back to the talent of New Orleans, …unlike other music cities…there’s never been a showcased a for-hire brass section exclusively from New Orleans. There has been plenty of incredible horn sections that have come from NOLA (I think of all the great sections my friend Mark Mullins has put together over the years for any number of projects), but we’ve never experienced a dynamite horn section arranged, branded, and sold strictly for this “for-hire” reason. I find this to be somewhat crazy that WCA is the first agency to promote this concept in New Orleans, but there’s always a first! While there are several for-hire groups around the rest of the country – including such groups like The Hollywood Horns, The Memphis Horns, etc., we wanted to assemble a similar group that could give a great taste of New Orleans/Louisiana to our clients, while providing the best in chart creation, stylistic diversity, and size options. Combined that with the utmost levels of music professionalism, and you’ve got the beginnings of the 504 Horns.
What the 504 Horns are NOT – a bunch of random horn guys jamming their way through structured songs hoping for a good outcome. From the start, Jason and I both wanted to establish this section as something apart from that idea of a glorified “jam” session. The 504 Horns are a rehearsed unit, that comes to any client polished, ready, and excited to perform at the highest level.
The section has already made a splash, performing on stage and record with such acts like Marc Broussard, Little Big Town, Ray Boudreaux from NBC’s The Voice, and many more. They’ve held court on the Acura Stage for several years at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, as well as The Bayou Country Super Fest in Tiger Stadium at Louisiana State University. It was apparent quickly that this idea of a working horn section was going to be a hit, and if the upcoming schedule is a gauge, there’s nothing but great work ahead for the 504 Horns.
Sometimes, successful ideas will lead you to create something that no one has ever thought of. Other times, successful ideas are a simple fulfillment of a void – a need is isolated and the concept develops. In this particular situation, The 504 Horns are a little of both.
I am very excited to offer to all performing acts, touring acts, recording producers, and engineers across the country – The 504 Horns!