The Free Agents Brass Band, led by bass drummer Ellis Joseph, began playing parties, clubs, parades, and funerals in September 2005. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many established bands were still dispersed throughout the South, leaving gigs open citywide. The Free Agents took advantage of the situation and began playing regularly at venues around the city, including the Duck Off Lounge on Sunday nights.
The band is known for their song “Made It Through That Water,” which is a variation of the traditional spiritual “Wade in the Water.” “Made It Through That Water,” on Free Agents’ 2008 album of the same name, is representative of the contemporary New Orleans brass band style. The tune blends traditional brass band sounds, funk-based tuba riffs, and hip-hop lyrics and attitudes:
Please Mr. Officer, don’t shoot
‘Cause I ain’t in a rage, I was stuck up on that roof
They trying to make an excuse but they running from the truth
We know they blew them levees, man, but we ain’t got no proof
Listen to the Free Agents Brass Band play “Made it Through That Water”
The Free Agents are active on the current brass band circuit.