An eight-piece New Orleans band coming by their name honestly, I Am debuts with a lot of fun, bordering on happy-go-lucky, which only serves to better le bon temps. The trick with this style band is capturing in the studio what they do so well on stage. Too far one way, it’s a sterile specimen, stripped of its funk DNA; too far the other, the recording turns to mud with a “had to be there” shrug. I Am hits on almost all marks, though the conservatory-level rapping on the first couple songs could use a bit more grit. By the time the mid-tempo “Hey Baby” kicks up, guest vocalist Samukele Mkhize is more than welcome. The go-go-meets-New Orleans flavor helps the band stand out from the shockingly large number of quality brass bands working today.