Bonerama brings its brass/rock/funk sound to Beaches

Photo courtesy of Danny Clinch


Not your average brass band, New Orleans’ Bonerama offers audiences a unique brand of brass, rock ’n’ roll and funk. They perform at the Beaches International Jazz Festival on Saturday at 5 p.m. in KEW Gardens.

Bonerama is not quite the traditional brass band people are accustomed to seeing at the Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival. Instead of trumpets and saxophones, this group of seven New Orleaners make their magic with four trombones.

Band leader and co-founder Mark Mullins describes his band’s sound as deeply rooted in New Orleans brass band tradition, yet not afraid to quickly venture to other places.

“That’s a tough one … it can be a brass, rock, funk sound, if that makes any sense at all. So you can definitely say it’s New Orleans based brass, funk, rock,” says Mullins.

Craig Klein (of Harry Connick Jr.’s band), who co-founded Bonerama with Mullins, will be joined Saturday at the jazz festival by fellow band members Steve Suter, Rick Trolsen, sousaphone player Matt Perrine, guitarist Bert Cotton and drummer Eric Bolivar.

So how did the guys come up with a name like Bonerama? Mullins explains it came from a friend in New Orleans who belongs to a band called Twangrama. Their concept is similar to Bonerama, but instead of trombones they feature a lot of guitar music.

“(Bonerama) is primarily a trombone-oriented brass band,” Mullins says, continuing that the name of the band “just seems appropriate and is sort of a funny play on words.”

Mullins and Klein have known each other for years, going back to before they started playing in Connick Jr.’s band in the ‘90s. Between gigs when they got back home, they would also play in funk, rock and brass bands, more for fun than anything else.

But when Connick Jr. started getting more into movies and television, Mullins and Klein started to get an itch to put something fun together; something they could do during their down time.

“Craig Klein and I kind of started the whole thing … we started (the band) in 1998, so almost 10 years ago was when Bonerama started playing around New Orleans,” he says.

“It was just a fun thing, but we quickly realized by the responses from people that it looked like it was going to turn into something more … it was more of a fun outlet to try different kind of music.”

For more info, check out www.bonerama.netor

catch bonerama live

  • Bonerama will be performing tomorrow at the Beaches International Jazz Festival on the main stage at KEW Gardens at 5 p.m.

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