Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at Ronnie Scotts – 12th April 2015

brothers_brassBrothers in Brass –  Wow, wow and super wow… This is hypnotic with a twist. I am trying to keep up with my notes, failing superbly, on a Sunday night full of surprises. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Nine most amazing players from Chicago with a pedigree that will leave you speechless.

The line of the night is:

GabrielHubert- trumpet&vocals
Amal Hubert- trumpet&cornet
Tarik Graves- trumpet&vocals
Seba Graves- trombone&tenor saxophone
Saiph Graves- tenor trombone
Uttama Hubert- Euphonium&vocals
Andrew Mclean- percussion&drum kit
Hashim Bunch- electric bass&6-string
Kevin Hunt- electric&acoustic guitar

I won’t talk about their beginnings, hard as they were on the south side of Chicago. This, you will find and can read all about it on the band’s website. What I want to delve into is the power and the intoxicating sound of their brass.

These guys know brass and they are not afraid to push the boundaries. One should never be afraid to do so.

They play two dates at Ronnies: Sunday 12th and also mid-week, Wednesday 15th April.

Both dates are a sell-out. Are we surprised? Not really.

The harsh and clear-cut sound of the Ensemble is devastatingly good. By the end of the first set, I am still finding it hard to get my notes down as, I am, quite literally, hypnotized.

With a superb mix of hip-hop, jazz, funk and gipsy sounds, HBE evoke purity of sound and energy to last well after the show has finished. There is such a buzz at Ronnies on the night, I, quite frankly, don’t recognize the place….

One of the tracks played towards the end of the 1st set, “Coffee” is so full of groove, it pulls one in. Is this show just an incredible journey into the world of brass? This is, of course, a rhetorical question. HBE have created such a mood in this packed arena that is Ronnie Scott’s, one has only to look around to realize the adrenalin levels are high.

By the time the 2nd set comes along with the explosive start that is “Are they really your friends?”, the brass sound has got a particular kick to it.   HBE are shaking it, moving it all the way inside your soul, the deepest part of it because that’s what HBE do best.

Again and again, we are shown throughout the night how mighty the power of music is.

Heading towards the end of show, “Something like a fantasy” is a mad tune. By now we are all standing and dancing along to the brasstastic sound that HBE is conjuring up for us, and there is such intensity in the air, it is only fair to say, we could all be shaking it till there is no tomorrow.

A special mention has to go to: Kevin Hunt for his cool guitar solos on the night. Slick to the bone.

And to the Hubert and the Graves brothers aka The Bad Boys of Jazz, please keep on being bad!

Author: Erminia Yardley

Erminia Yardley is a writer and freelance journalist. She has recently published a book of short stories (available at lulu.com) and is planning a new one on poetry. Music and Art are vital ingredients in her world. She is well known to be an Astronomy fiend.