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The Hot 8 Brass Band: On the Spot

Chris M. Slawecki By

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On the Spot celebrates the fifth album and twenty year history of The Hot 8 Brass Band, the first American band signed by UK-based Tru-Thoughts Records. Like their New Orleans hometown, The Hot 8 knows tragedy, from Hurricane Katrina to the separate deaths of five bandmates, yet triumphantly and fiercely embody the Dionysian energy and gospel fervor in New Orleans' musical culture.

Certain music seems to come at you roaring and then detonate in between your ears with a sonic boom. On the Spot is just that type. There's no getting around it: The sound of "8 Kickin' It Live" is the sound of 'round-the-clock Mardi Gras, overflowing with vocal and instrumental calls and responses, merging the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Go-Go funkateers Trouble Funk into a singular, unique sound, with the "If you want some, come get some" vocal inviting you to the party.

On the Spot launches several outside compositions into the Hot 8's unique musical orbit. It combines "Annie Mae" (Natalie Cole) with "Working Together" (Frankie Beverly) so seamlessly that they sound like a single Motown tune decked out for Mardi Gras. Their explosive banging of "That Girl" (Stevie Wonder) sounds so tightly arranged you wonder why nobody else did it this way (New Orleans style) before, and they expand Sade's slinky, quiet storm "Sweetest Taboo" into a stomping New Orleans twist and shout.

Yet they pull the worn and torn New Orleans blues standard "St. James Infirmary," a slow-rolling funeral procession full of hurt and heart, through an eight-minute moan led by trumpet which spans the emotional heights of heaven and depths of hell, and a roughhouse vocal that honors New Orleans' most famous and favorite son, Louis Armstrong.

Whether they're ripping through the US, the UK, elsewhere in Europe or across Australasia, The Hot 8 Brass Band simply doesn't stop. "We are privileged to tour and to tell the stories of life in our city, to keep alive the memories of our band members who have passed, as well as all the musicians who have gone before," explains band leader and tuba player Bennie Pete. "We can't wait to share this new music and party with our fans, who help us to keep pushing ourselves on."

Track Listing: 8 Kickin' It Live; Get It How You Live; Bottom of the Bucket; On the Spot; St. James Infirmary; That Girl; Sweetest Taboo; Annie Mae; Working Together; Can't Nobody Get Down; Keepin' It Funky.

Personnel: Terrence Andrews: bass drum; Gregory Veals: trombone; Corey Peyton: trombone; Wendell Stewart: saxophone; Dr. Michael White: clarinet; Raymond Williams: trumpet; Gregory Veals: vocals; Michael Harvey: violin; Bennie Pete: sousaphone; Harry “Swamp Thang” Cook: bass drum; Raymond “Dr. Rackle” Williams: trumpet; Terrell “Burger” Batiste: trumpet; Alvarez “Big Al” Huntley: trumpet; Larry “Big World” Brown: trombone; Tyrus “Tito” Chapman: trombone; Dwayne “Douchie” Finnie: trombone; John “Prince” Gilbert: saxophone; Solomone Doyle: washboard; Sammy Cyrus: snare drum; Shawn King: snare drum; Philip Armand: snare drum; Errol Marchand: snare drum; Christopher Cotton: trumpet.

Title: On the Spot | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Tru-Thoughts Records

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