Hot 8 Brass Band : On The Spot
Hot 8 Brass Band are a collective of New Orleans-based musos who’ve taken the second-line band tradition – mixing up jazz with funk, soul and hip hop – and run with it. Although they’ve been around for 20-plus years with a revolving lineup (tragically, members haven’t just retired or moved on to other projects, numerous players have been shot dead, including in incidents of police violence).
As you’d expect, Hot 8’s fifth album On The Spot is another party for the ears. It’s raucous and jubilant, with the exception of Louis Armstrong’s classic St James Infirmary, where the band keeps it pretty true with a slow, almost funereal spin on the original. Highlights include another inspired cover, Sade’s Sweetest Taboo, in which the band ditches smooth in exchange for boisterous hand-clapping funk, and the super-funky title track On The Spot. As the name suggests, the band penned the latter on the fly during a jam in between songs on their set list. Wait for the end where you hear a band member marvel, “Did we just make that up?” As the band says, “We brass hard.” Yeah they do.
By Meg Crawford