Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, (HBE), set the bar for the rest of Jazz Festival artists during their show at the Rialto Theatre on Jan.11. HBE hails from Chicago, but they have become citizens of the world as they have toured the world. They recently finished a tour opening for Gorillaz. The band consists of seven brothers whose father was Phil Cohran, trumpeter of Earth, Wind, and Fire and Sun Ra Arkestra fame. To say they cut their teeth on playing music would be underestimating how long they have been playing music together. This was a show that lured the older members of the crowd out of their seats to shake their ‘booty.’
The band consists of Uttama Hubert on euphonium, Hashim Bunch on electric bass, Kevin Hunt on electric guitar, Cidjan Graves on trombone, Jafar Baji Graves on trumpet, Seba Graves on trombone, Benyehudah Hubert on trumpet; Tarik Graves on trumpet, and Christopher Anderson on drums. Christopher is the only non-sibling member.
Early in the set, HBE reminded the crowd of a Miles Davis quote that there are really only two kinds of music. It is not jazz, blues, rock, funk, hip-hop, Afro-beat, or pop. The two kinds of music are bad music and good music. This seemed to be a declaration that HBE does not want to be pigeonholed into one genre of music. The set was a blend of all genre mentioned with pure instrumentals and vocal performances rotating between rap and singing. Their sound and vibe are very different from other brass bands.
Some of the songs in the set included “War,” a piece that is a part of the first two installments of "The Hunger Games." More selections included “Yo Friend,” “Showtime,” and “Delta.” They included selections from their newest album release, The Book of Sound. The band was in perfect unison as they stepped to the beat and played. There was a synergy between the band and the crowd that escalated as the show progressed. Perhaps Miles Davis should have included a third genre of music, great music. It seems to fit for the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.