Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

A new breed of New Orleans brass bands — Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Soul Rebels, and others — have been struttin’, swinging, and funkin’ it up since the early ‘80s. The Chicago-rooted Hypnotic Brass Ensemble evokes that tradition but this electrifying group clearly has its own thing going on — eight of the members of this nine-piece drums-and-horns ensemble are sons of trumpeter Phil Cohran, who played with Sun Ra. The album kicks off with the rousing “Alyo,” a piece written by the elder Cohran. Funky tuba and drums back a great horn chart and chanting vocals, immediately establishing the album's high energy level. The group’s original material is impressive, too; on tracks like “Gibbous” and “War,” HBE comes off like a revved-up R&B-flavored marching band. “Marcus Garvey” sports an attractive Spanish flavor, and on “Flipside” layers of horns slip and slide over each other in wonderful ways. “Party Started” is both elegant and groovy, and there are two versions of “Rabbit Hop,” a piece by the visionary composer Moondog. What more could you ask for?

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