New Orleans’ Grammy-nominated Hot 8 Brass Band will accompany the release of their fifth album, ‘On The Spot’ (due late March, via Tru Thoughts), with an extensive tour including their biggest London headline yet at The Roundhouse as well as key spots across Europe, Australasia and North America.
Stirring up excitement ahead of the album and tour, lead single “Working Together”/“Keepin’ It Funky” (out 16th Dec) has been gaining support from Jamie Cullum (BBC R2), Garth Trinidad (KCRW) and Craig Charles (BBC R2/6Music). The latter tastemaker also stars in the “Keepin It Funky,” video which sees him leading the crowd of revellers in a raucous Hot 8 parade performance on London’s Clapham Common. Wherever they are, Hot 8 bring the unique, undiluted energy of the New Orleans Second Line parades.
The new record has its roots firmly in live performance, and in true Hot 8 style it pairs hard-hitting, heart-on-sleeve sentiment with party-fuelling beats, hooks and grooves. ‘On The Spot’ refers to the glorious, rare moment in a New Orleans parade when the band stops to take a break but keeps noodling with their instruments to please the crowd. Vibing and keeping the energy up, when they’re completely in the moment they sync up and the magic happens – a new tune is created.
On The Spot. Buzzing with the live, spontaneous synchronicity which has fuelled their development from the streets of New Orleans to the forefront of the global scene over the last two decades, the new LP sees Hot 8 committing this spirit to record – and in the live arena the tunes are set to blow up.
“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”, says 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”.
The last year has seen Hot 8 Brass Band reaching out ever further; having celebrated their 20th Anniversary with the ‘Vicennial: 20 Years Of The Hot 8 Brass Band’ album in late 2015, they have toured almost constantly since. Delighting crowds with their rambunctious mix of hip hop, funk and inimitable Big Easy jazz, they have sold out strings of headlines alongside festivals including BST Hyde Park (supporting Mumford & Sons), North Sea Jazz, Secret Garden Party and WOMAD. They wrapped up the summer at Madness’ House Of Common event with their jubilant New Orleans-style parade, before a mini tour of France in the autumn.
Mixing an old school street brass approach with funkier currents and hip hop vocals, Hot 8’s magnificent originals are juxtaposed with fresh versions of Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, The Specials and Basement Jaxx (and of course their anthemic take on Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, which recently re-launched with a new video that is nudging 1 million YouTube hits). The ‘On The Spot’ Tour is set to bring these essential cuts to an even wider audience, while cementing the next generation of Hot 8 classic tunes in the hearts and minds of fans.
Always in demand, this year Hot 8 have performed radio sessions including BBC 6Music Morning Show, BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Jazz FM, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC R3; these add to in-depth interviews with Mary Anne Hobbs (6Music) and BBC World Service’s Outlook programme, touching on tragic stories from Hot 8’s history which chimed especially intensely with listeners in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.
A recent mini-documentary, Hot 8 Brass Band: 20 Years In The Making, has also helped to tell the story of this indefatigable musical and cultural force at a pivotal point in their evolution. Hot 8’s incredible tale, which comes across in their life-affirming and powerful music, has also previously featured in Spike Lee’s two New Orleans documentaries, When The Levees Broke and The Creek Don’t Rise, and David Simon’s HBO series Treme (in which the band played themselves), to add to extensive features across the world’s media.
One of the great New Orleans acts, Hot 8 have pushed on through a barely imaginable series of trials. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the separate deaths of five band members, and the horror of trumpeter Terrell “Burger” Batiste losing his legs, have tested these men almost to breaking point. They honour their lost friends and work towards the future of their community by putting their energies into positive projects at home as well as touring as much as possible. They march together and they play their music, not merely as though, but because their lives depend on it.
Transcending genres and trends, Hot 8 have performed and collaborated with artists from Lauryn Hill to Mos Def to the Blind Boys of Alabama, and were nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for their second album ‘The Life and Times Of…’. 2015’s acclaimed ‘Vicennial…’ exemplified their ability to honour their city’s musical traditions while forging their own powerful legacy – a story that continues apace via the ‘On The Spot’ album and tour.
If You Only Get To See One Gig Next Year……………….
Tuesday 4-Apr-2017 The Roundhouse, London (UK)
Wednesday 5-Apr-2017 The Quarterhouse, Folkestone (UK)
Thursday 6-Apr-2017 Rescue Rooms , Nottingham (UK)
Friday 7-Apr-2017 Invisible Wind Factory , Liverpool (UK)
Saturday 8-Apr-2017 Old Granada Studios, Manchester (UK)
Sunday 9-Apr-2017 Guild Hall, Preston (UK)
Tuesday 11-Apr-2017 Liquid Room, Edinburgh (UK)
Wednesday 12-Apr-2017 O2 ABC Glasgow (UK)
Thursday 13-Apr-2017 The Wardrobe, Leeds (UK)
Friday 14-Apr-2017 O2 Academy, Birmingham (UK)
Monday 1-May-2017 Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Cheltenham (UK)
Tuesday 2-May-2017 O2 Academy Sheffield, Sheffield (UK)
Wednesday 3-May-2017 The Fleece, Bristol (UK)
Thursday 4-May-2017 Tramshed, Cardiff (UK)
Friday 5-May-2017 The Factory, Barnstaple (UK)
Monday 8-May-2017 Boiler shop, Newcastle (UK)
Tuesday 9-May-2017 The Welly, Hull (UK)
Wednesday 10-May-2017 Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick (UK)
Thursday 11-May-2017 Pocklington Arts Centre, Pocklington (UK)
Friday 12-May-2017 The Soundcrash Funk & Soul Weekender, Camber Sands (UK)