Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Hot 8 Brass Band Brings Some New Orleans Flavor To A Marvin Gaye Classic

In recognition of Mardi Gras, I thought I would share this terrific clip of New Orleans-based brass ensemble the Hot 8 Brass Band covering Marvin Gaye's classic "Sexual Healing." The band does a stellar job with its New Orleans-style makeover of the song. Hearing their version makes me appreciate the song even more. The band has also done covers of songs by Michael Jackson and Snoop Dogg. All the members of the Hot 8 Brass Band were born and raised in New Orleans. The band was formed in 1995 by Bennie "Big Bennie" Pete (tuba and band leader), Harry "Swamp Thang" Cook (bass drum) and former band member Jerome "Baybay" Jones (trombone). The other members of the band's current lineup include Terrell "Burger" Batiste (trumpet); Edward "Juicy" Jackson (trombone); Samuel "Lil Sammy" Cyrus (snare drum); Raymond "Dr. Rackle" Williams (trumpet); Gregory Veals (trombone); Alvarez "B.I.G. Al" Huntley (trumpet); and John "Prince" Gilbert (saxophone). Gotta love those nicknames.

The Hot 8 Brass Band fuses the traditional New Orleans brass sound with funk, jazz and hip hop. The band received a big surge in popularity after appearing in Spike Lee's powerful documentary When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006), which chronicles Hurricane Katrina's devastating impact on New Orleans. The band has also appeared on CNN, Nightline and was featured in The New York TimesThe band plays in second line parades hosted by Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs on Sunday afternoons. And they perform regularly at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and have also played in the Zulu Parade, San Antonio Zulu Association Festival, and the City of New Orleans New Year's Celebration. The band has toured worldwide, bringing their homegrown New Orleans music to places like France, Italy, Japan, Spain and Finland. And they have shared the stage with legendary artists such as Dr. John and Lou Reed. Yesterday, the band played at the American Theatre in Hampton, Virginia to celebrate Mardi Gras.

The band released its debut album Rock With The Hot 8 in October of 2007 on independent label Tru Thoughts.

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