The Hot 8 Brass Band’s eagerly awaited second album, ‘The Life And Times Of…’ marks their first full LP since 2007’s highly acclaimed debut ‘Rock With The Hot 8’ put them on the global stage.
New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band was founded in 1995 by tuba player Bennie Pete, Jerome “Bay Bay” Jones (trombone) and Harry “Swamp Thang” Cook (bass drum) to play brass band music professionally. Although many of the current members began playing together in high school, over time the line-up has inevitably shifted and changed, and continues to do so. But any incarnation of Hot 8 Brass Band will boast eight or nine players of the highest rate, bringing the passion and noise through a bevy of trombones, saxophones, trumpets, snare and bass drums, all buoyed up by the immense tuba basslines of band leader Bennie Pete. These musicians over the years have been inspired by artists such as Tuba Fats, Leroy Jones, Louis Armstrong, JJ Johnson, Stevie Wonder and Jackie McLean, and have variously recorded and performed with some of those mentioned and more. They also continue to cite each other as influences.
Since their last studio release, Hot 8 Brass Band has been far from quiet. In addition to their regular US headline shows, parades and community projects, they have played support slots for the likes of Mos Def, Lauryn Hill and Mary J Blige, and also embarked on successful international tours, playing Glastonbury festival and more. They were featured in Spike Lee’s documentary When the Creek Don’t Rise (the follow up to When the Levees Broke which Hot 8 also appeared in) and most recently, HBO included a piece of their story in the acclaimed Treme TV series.
Hot 8 is a band with stories to tell. Their stories are neither fairytales nor melodramas, but simple, often hard truths: the lives and the times of the band’s eight full-time members, in which they have seen more than their share of tragedy, not least the deaths in violent circumstances of several band members, and the hurricane devastation and aftermath in their city. Carrying on the New Orleans narrative tradition, their debut introduced them and their richly connotative music to the world; “The Life And Times Of…” brings the next chapter, and a new level of significance for those interested in brass band music and its global power.
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