Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Honest Jon’s
WORKS: Assorted
PERFORMER: Gabriel Hubert, Amal Hubert, Jafar Graves, Tarik Graves (trumpet), Saiph Graves (trombone), Uttama Hubert, (euphonium) Tycho Cohran (sousaphone),


Just a few (hundreds of thousands of) people are hearing the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (HBE) this summer: the Chicago nine-piece jazz act are touring the UK’s biggest music festivals, and supporting label-owner Damon Albarn’s group Blur. It’s a far cry from HBE’s busking roots.

But, as this debut disc shows, they perform with the same compelling street spectacle – a throw back to early jazz marching bands – whatever the occasion. Eight of HBE’s ranks are sons of Philip Cohran, a pivotal trumpeter in Sun Ra’s Arkestra in the ’50s. Like Sun Ra, HBE can produce trance-like grooves, but any sense of the extraterrestrial is replaced by an extra-curricular love of hip-hop.


This disc attracts great cameos: Red Hot Chili Pepper Flea and Jamiroquai’s Sola Akingbola pitch in, as does Albarn on Moog synth for Moondog’s ‘Rabbit Hop’. Pass the hat! Neil McKim