The Pin Stripes, as they are commonly called, are part of the New Orleans brass band revival which began in the 1960’s and continues to this day. Manager and player Herbert McCarver relates, “The Pin Stripes first came together in 1977 when a bunch of us were hired to be backup to Doc Paulin’s Brass Band at the Endymion Mardi Gras Ball and we all wore pinstripe suits.”
Most of the members of the Pin Stripes are from uptown New Orleans and grew up in either the 11th or 12th wards. Some got their start playing with the Olympia, Chosen Few, or Doc Paulin’s Band.
Since 1978, the Pin Stripes have been a regular feature at the Zulu’s Social Aide and Pleasure Club’s annual Mardi Gras Ball and parade. They also perform at the annual parades of the Scene Boosters, Young Men Olympians, Better Boys, and Second Line Jammers. In addition, you might catch them at one of the many jazz funerals held throughout the city.
Their music is not confined entirely to the streets. They have performed in Lisbon, Portugal, at the Chicago Jazz Festival, San Francisco’s Mardi Gras Ball, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in Osaka, Japan, at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and numerous other places throughout the city and world.
Their sound combines r&b, jazz, blues, gospel, and soul. The rhythms are from the parades. The Pin Stripes and other brass bands play an important role in the cultural heritage of New Orleans. This is the music of the people. The people of New Orleans who know how to celebrate life with a second line parade or mourn the passing of a friend with a jazz funeral. This music is the tradition, but doesn’t mean that it’s stagnant. The music of brass bands has always adapted to popular music tastes of the day. It is in this tradition that the Pin Stripe Brass Band of New Orleans excels.
Jerry Brock, Louisiana Music Factory