Hypnotic Brass bring their ‘cosmically connected’ jazz to Limerick

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

THEY ARE back, continuing a long and healthy association with Limerick that has taken them from street performers to full-blown headliners in their own right.

THEY ARE back, continuing a long and healthy association with Limerick that has taken them from street performers to full-blown headliners in their own right.

The nine-man Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - encompassing eight brothers, sons of legendary jazz musician Philip

Cohran, who had a seminal role with Sun Ra in Chicago in the 1950s, and drummer Christopher Anderson - form something of a spiritual and cosmically connected brass-jazz-hip-hop collective and have grown in stature with each gig they have played in Limerick over the course of the past three years.

Limerick is a place the brothers hold dear because of the reception they receive each time they play here, with Gabriel ‘Hudah’ Hubert, reminiscing about a particularly wild night in April 2010 in Dolan’s Warehouse when he spoke to City Life recently.

“I was just remembering the energy of that crowd out there - it was nice,” he said.

“The energy was incredible there last year. Ireland always shows us love, no matter what city we are in, what crowd we are performing before - they seem to love us and we respect the love back. It is a give and take thing that has been working out.”

While they have played a huge number of sold-out gigs in Ireland over the past three years, their popularity shows no signs of waning, and their abilities have improved with every gig, their live show simply hypnotic, in the absence of a better description, the eight brothers employing a mixture of battered brass instruments - tubas, trombones, trumpets - swaying and swinging as they play, the brothers adding a new element of lyricism and crowd participation, beefing up their act considerably.

“The more and more you do something, the better you get at it, and you always try and flip it up and make it fresh so it doesn’t become boring to you, and as long as you can be creative and keep it exciting, then the crowd is going to receive that,” said Hudah.

Touring commitments mean that the Brass will not be playing at Electric Picnic this year - the first time in three years - so this might just be the last chance to see the superb brass outfit live in the flesh this year. The collective recently sold out two nights at the Sydney Opera House and are currently working on a new album with Damon Albarn, Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and legendary afrobeat drummer Tony Allen. The Brass also expect to launch their own LP later in the year.

Joining HBE on the night are popular local acts The Funk Junkies and Groove Junction. The gig takes place this Wednesday at 8pm and tickets are still available.