The Life And Times of The Hot 8 Brass Band

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COMPOSERS: Hot 8 Brass Band
LABELS: Tru Thoughts
ALBUM TITLE: The Life And Times of The Hot 8 Brass Band
WORKS: The Life and Times of…
PERFORMER: The Hot 8 Brass Band: Bennie Pete (tuba), Samuel Cyrus (snare), Harry Cook (bass drum), etc


The music on this second release by New Orleans’s Hot 8 Brass Band certainly lives up to its title – ‘Life and Times’. Signed a couple of years after Hurricane Katrina by UK label Tru Thoughts, the band continues to demonstrate a spirit of survival in music that captures the city’s life (and death) on the streets. There’s an upbeat, if poignant, opener with ‘Steamin’ the Blues’ – penned by former member Joseph Williams, who was shot by police.

Formed in the mid-1990s, the Hot 8 take the basic set-up of the marching ‘second line’ jazz tradition and overlay chanting vocals. The rhythmic foundation laid down by tuba player Bennie Pete, with Harry Cook’s bass drum and Samuel Cyrus’s snare is irresistibly restless. It’s a winning idea to include a version of The Specials’s ‘Ghost Town’. A great track and a nod to the city’s recent past.


Neil McKim