Hypnotic Brass Ensemble bring their fresh and funky jazz sounds to Nashville for the first time for an evening of unforgettable music at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theater on Feb. 14, 2018. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (HBE) is comprised of the seven sons of famed Jazz trumpeter and band leader Phil Cohran (Earth, Wind, and Fire, Chaka Khan).The sons carry on his musical legacy in the brass band tradition in HBE with generous doses of hip hop, soul and funk, creating an intoxicating and boisterous musical blend that is sure to delight jazz enthusiasts and a new generation of music lovers.
While growing up on the south side of Chicago, they were raised in a household that was continually surrounded around music. Phil Cohran’s “Circle of Sound” held rehearsals in the living room and put on live shows in the adjacent loft/theatre called the “Sun Ark”. The brothers were obligated to wake at 6am and play their horns before and after school. As adolescents, they played around Chicago as the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble, performing for folks like Nelson Mandela, Harold Washington, and other prominent figures of the day.
Once they entered high school, they stopped their study of music for other pursuits. In 1999, after enduring the passing of several close friends and family members, they picked back up with their music, formed HBE, and refined their sound in the subways of NYC and Chicago until recording their first project in 2004. The documentary film “Brothers Hypnotic,” explores their music, work ethic, life and experience of being raised by their jazz legend father Phil Cohran. After screening in major cities and festivals, it aired on PBS.
Together the brothers of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble have toured throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America. They’ve performed at Coachella, WOMAD AU, Lincoln Center, The Sydney Opera House, at the North Sea Jazz Festival. and Carnegie Hall, among other venues.
They have performed with Mos Def, Aquilla Sadalla, Phil Cohran, The Recipe, Nomadic Massive, Tony Allen, Wu Tang Clan, De La Soul, Prince, Femi Kuti, Gorillaz, The B-52’s, They have recorded with names ranging from Erykah Badu to Ghostface Killah of the Wu Tang Clan to BK-One to Childish Gambino to Maxwell. They are also collaborators on a number of tracks from the third Gorillaz studio album, Plastic Beach.
Their hit song “War” was featured in the box office smash The Hunger Games as the theme song for Caesar Flickerman. They collaborated on tracks with the group Rocket Juice & the Moon, a project featuring Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) on vocals/guitar/keyboard, Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) on bass, and legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen (Fela Kuti and many others) on the group’s self-titled debut album.
HBE has now become legendary in their own right, creating and developing their own sound which is a blend of hip hop, soul and funk, salsa, and more. Now celebrating 10 years of touring internationally as independent artists, the band quietly released “Sound, Rhythm and Form” in 2016 as a special treat for their loyal fans. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble continues to create and record and are currently working on the forthcoming “Bad Boys of Jazz” LP.
In performance, HBE is comprised of Gabriel Hubert (“Hudah”) – trumpet; Saiph Graves (“Cid”) – trombone; Amal Baji Hubert (“Baji” or “June Body”) – trumpet; Jafar Baji Graves (“Yosh”) – trumpet; Seba Graves (“Clef”) – trombone; Tarik Graves (“Smoove”) – trumpet; Uttama Hubert (“Rocco”) – baritone horn; Hashim “Hash” Bunch – bass; and Kevin “Vo Era” Hunt – guitar.
When they aren’t performing, HBE is busy inspiring younger musicians and by advocating for music and the arts in schools. While in Nashville, they will also be playing two shows through TPAC’s HOT (Humanities Outreach Tennessee) program for local school children.
Tickets are on sale now by phone at (615) 782-4040, and at the TPAC Box Office, 505 Deaderick St., in downtown Nashville, or through the official TPAC website.