Hot 8 Brass Band

Late Show

Hot 8 Brass Band

Zongo Junction

Fri, June 14, 2013

Doors: 10:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

This event is 21 and over

Hot 8 Brass Band - (Set time: 11:30 PM)
Hot 8 Brass Band
“Hot 8 music is feel good music…music with a message. It’s life music.” – Band leader, Bennie Pete

New Orleans’ Grammy nominated 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 naturally shifted and changed. 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 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 cite each other as influences.

Robert Luis and Paul Jonas of Tru Thoughts first heard Hot 8 Brass Band when Quantic (having got his hands on a rare copy) played their cover of “Sexual Healing” in a New York DJ set. Witnessing first-hand the unprecedented round of applause that sprang up from the crowd, they knew this band had something special. So they had a scout around for more of Hot 8’s music. The band had previously been signed to the label “Louisiana Red Hot,” a label which had been, along with so much else in New Orleans, all but wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, and much of their previous material had been taken with it.

Over the next few months Tru Thoughts signed Hot 8, and released “Sexual Healing” as a limited edition single in summer 2007. All 500 copies were snapped up immediately, making it the fastest-selling single in the label’s history. Following a flood of enquiries, it was given a wider release, and the album ‘Rock with the Hot 8’ followed shortly after to widespread acclaim. Listen to the elegant jumble of jazz and soul, traditional boisterous brass band music and unmistakable hip hop attitude, and you will know this music could only have come from New Orleans. The band’s first UK live dates came in February 2008, with a sell-out tour which blew the minds of audiences up and down the country and won an army of dedicated new fans. The second single, “What’s My Name? (Rock With The Hot 8)” - a Snoop Dogg cover - was a huge crowd-pleaser, and received rave reviews.

Hot 8 Brass Band have always believed in contributing to their culture by playing in traditional Second Line parades, expressions of freedom and community through music and interaction. They have earned a great reputation on the streets, with seemingly boundless work ethic and energy: Hot 8 have been known to pack in nine shows in a single day.

Having survived one of the worst natural and political disasters the USA has ever known - Hurricane Katrina – Hot 8 have thrown themselves into the subsequent relief and awareness projects to aid their community’s redevelopment and recovery. They have been a key band in “SAVE OUR BRASS!” a local grass roots project that brought music to evacuee shelters and temporary trailer parks; and reached out to New Orleanians displaced after Hurricane Katrina via “Finding Our Folk”. As well as the devastation of Katrina the Hot 8 Brass Band have faced more than their fair share of adversity. Four band members have died (two of them lost to violent acts on the streets of New Orleans) and the band are now active figures in the group “Silence is Violence,” an anti-violence campaign that was founded following the murder in December 2006 of Hot 8 member Dinerral Shavers.

During the years since their first album, the band have gone from strength to strength, their public profile rising to such a level they were invited to support the likes of Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Thievery Corporation, and Mary J Blige; performed in front of Wesley Snipes and Oprah Winfrey; and played several international tours taking in SXSW, Glastonbury, the Big Chill (where they were chosen as the festival highlight by the UK’s Observer newspaper), Roskilde and a roof-raising show at London’s Scala, and even the famous Do-Over party, among others. Highly respected among fellow musicians, they have guested on albums by the Blind Boys of Alabama and Basement Jaxx. The band and their story were also featured in Spike Lee’s post-Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke, and the follow-up When the Creek Don’t Rise; and HBO’s hit television series Treme.

November 2012 saw the long awaited second album release; ‘The Life & Times Of…’, was preceded by a double A-side single featuring “Ghost Town”, a delightful and typically rambunctious cover of The Specials classic, and “Let Me Do My Thing”, a breathtaking original cut which hears sometime band-member Tyrus Chapman expressing the story of his past relationship with heroin. The album gained a Grammy nomination, four and five star reviews in publications including The Observer, Songlines and MOJO, and worldwide daytime and specialist radio support such as KCRW and BBC.

‘The Life And Times Of…’ is itself the first part of a two album project; showcasing the party side of the band, it is packed with joyful grooves to get feet moving. The following instalment – ‘Tombstone’, dropped the Summer of 2013 and is a more reflective, emotional tribute to fallen band members and the funeral parades which centre on this music. “These records will celebrate the times we have had both before and after the storm. Burying our dead and letting their spirits soar, celebrating our city and the lives that our band mates have lived individually and collectively as Hot 8,” explains band leader and tuba player Bennie Pete.
Zongo Junction - (Set time: 10:30 PM)
Zongo Junction
Generating a well-deserved buzz in NYC’s exploding afrobeat scene, Zongo Junction electrifies dance floors wherever they perform. The Village Voice describes their live show as “Sheer energy with the force of a tractor-trailer that roars with power and noise.” With five horns, and a six-piece rhythm section, audiences can’t help but move no matter where the band is playing.

If the Talking Heads produced a Fela Kuti record of Sun Ra’s music, the product would probably sound something like Brooklyn’s Zongo Junction, and in an industry where it has become commonplace to watch bands perform with laptops & backing tracks instead of live musicians, Zongo Junction takes the stage 11 strong. "The only thing Zongo Junction has to do to start a legitimate dance party is show up and plug in – anyone within a square block earshot of this Ford-tough funk factory would be hard pressed not to join in the hoopla” says the Bay Area’s SF Station.

Zongo Junction formed in 2009, when drummer and California native, Charles Ferguson, returned from a six-month stay in Ghana, West Africa. “Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to a lot of amazing music from many different cultures, a lot of which had roots in West Africa. As a kid, a few different music teachers introduced me to afrobeat, and the pioneers of the genre—Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, OJ Ekemode, Sunny Ade and others. My love of African music brought me to Ghana in 2008 and when I returned to New York, I knew I wanted to start this band.”

In college at the New School, Charles and a classmate put together a list of friends who they thought would be good fits for the band. Soon after they started rehearsing, Zongo Junction began performing and developing a following in East Coast clubs. They made their first album, Thieves! (2010), which included a collaboration with longtime Fela Kuti band member, Leon Kaleta Ligan-Majek, and quickly began performing at venues & festivals around the country including a residency at Brooklyn Bowl, a main stage performance at the Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival in Florida, and an appearance at the Kennedy Center in DC. More recently the band has collaborated with FELA! cast member Abena Koomson. Members of the band have performed or recorded with TV On The Radio, Man Man, Easy Star All-Stars and The Walkmen, among others.

The band is hard at work recording their second album, scheduled for release in 2013. “In writing this music as a collective, a lot of really cool new influences have emerged,” points out tenor saxophonist Adam Schatz. The music on the album embraces the individual members’ interests, from Dirty Projectors, to Albert Ayler, Wu Tang to Meshuggah. At the music’s core, you will always find the infectiously danceable West African grooves that are the foundation of Zongo Junction. The band effortlessly ties it all together, resulting in a unique version of afrobeat.

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Zongo Junction is:
David Lizmi - Bass
Charles Ferguson - Drums
Morgan Greenstreet - Percussion
Jordan Hyde - Guitar
Ross Edwards - Keys
Adam Schatz - Tenor Saxophone
Matt Nelson - Tenor Saxophone
Jonah Parzen-Johnson - Baritone Saxophone
Aaron Rockers - Trumpet
Kevin Moehringer - Trombone
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002