tue 21/11/2017

CD: The Hot 8 Brass Band - The Life & Times Of | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Hot 8 Brass Band - The Life & Times Of...

CD: The Hot 8 Brass Band - The Life & Times Of...

Righteous grooves and lyrics from New Orleans

The Life & Times of... a deeply serious party act.

It's sad, isn't it, that we still live in a world where the more something sounds like a great party, the less “serious” it is considered? Think about how much deep meaning is attached by how many to, say, the portentous mitherings of Thom Yorke, then try to imagine that degree of beard-rubbing analysis being given over to this non-stop blast of joyous grooves that have rocked festival stages, dance clubs and hip hop shows over the summer. Not gonna happen, is it?

It's a shame, because there is so much depth in those grooves. Their rowdy, complex sonorities come out of the unbroken living tradition of New Orleans marching music that stretches back well over a century, predating jazz, but absorbing it along with everything else that came into its path up to and including hip hop. That rich mongrelism is precisely why Hot 8 are able, on this album, to play the carnival house rhythms of Basement Jaxx's “Bingo Bango” and the demented cabaret singalong of The Specials' “Ghost Town” and make them sound entirely their own, just as they did with Marvin Gaye and Snoop Dogg songs on their debut album.

“Ghost Town” of course has deeper resonance in post-Katrina New Orleans, but there's much more lyrical depth elsewhere. In “Let Me Do My Thing”, member Tyrus Chapman addresses his struggles with heroin, and indirectly the failure of the war on drugs which has ravaged US cities in its own way. “Can't Hide From the Truth” speaks proudly and with dignity to the New Orleans police who shot and killed fellow member Joseph Williams, and so it goes on. This music, which practically demands that you lose your dignity and dance like a fool, also carries more meaning than a truckload of “serious” singer-songwriters.

Hear Hot 8's version of "Ghost Town"


This music, which practically demands that you lose your dignity and dance like a fool, also carries more meaning than a truckload of 'serious' singer-songwriters.

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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