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The Hot 8 Brass Band

The internationally renowned Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans is one of the most enduring and innovative groups in the Crescent City lineage that dates back to Congo Square in the 1880s. Despite traveling the globe often, at home they are among the most popular -- and visible -- funk-style brass bands to participate in community parades and funerals. Their albums have all been issued on the U.K. label Tru Thoughts (which is normally associated with the music of DJ culture and soul and R&B). Several of their tracks have been remixed by well-known producers and DJs and issued as EPs. The band, whose lineup changes often but always retains its four core founding members, can feature as many as ten members. Their funk style blends elemental influences from the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth brass bands, contemporary R&B, rap, and bounce. Their unique sound is due to creative original songs and ideas composed or introduced by its members.

The band was founded in 1995 when sousaphone player Bennie "Big Peter" Pete successfully merged the best players from the Looney Tunes Brass Band and the High Steppers Brass Band. They included trombonist Jerome "Baybay" Jones, Harry "Swamp Thang" Cook on bass drum, and Wendell "Cliff" Stewart on saxophone; trumpet players Terrell "Burger" Batiste, Alvarez "B.I.G. AL" Huntley, Raymond "Dr. Rackle" Williams, and Jacob Johnson; trombonists Jerome "Baybay" Jones, Keith "Wolf" Anderson, Jereau "Cousin" Fournett, Demond "Bart" Dorsey, and Joseph "Shotgun Joe" Williams, with Dinerral "Dick" Shavers on snare drum.

That early lineup was shocked into change in 1996, when 17-year-old trumpeter Johnson was murdered in a home invasion. In 2004, the year before Hurricane Katrina -- which changed all their lives forever -- trombonist Demond Dorsey died of a heart attack and his section member Williams was shot and killed by the NOPD. His death remains under independent investigation over a decade later.

New members were recruited and Hot 8 soldiered on, becoming ever more popular on the NOLA scene. They issued their debut long-player Rock with the Hot 8 in 2005 on Louisiana Red Hot Records. The set featured a version of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" that was picked up on by several DJs for remixing and made its way north into dance clubs. The track has become Hot 8's de facto anthem.

After the devastation left by Katrina, Hot 8 became with involved with SAVE OUR BRASS!, a local grass roots project that brought music to evacuee shelters and temporary trailer parks, as well as supporting Katrina-displaced brass bands and brass musicians with funding, supplies, and instruments to replace the ones they lost. They also became an integral part of Finding Our Folk, an organization directed at displaced New Orleanians in an effort to reunite communities of the Gulf Coast diaspora created by the storm.

Hot 8 was featured prominently in Spike Lee's 2006 HBO documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (they also were an integral part of his sequel, If God Is Willing and the Creek Don't Rise in 2010). The same year, their snare drummer Shavers was shot and killed while out driving with his family. Still the band refused to quit. In the aftermath of his death they became (and remain active) in the Silence Is Violence organization, and with Save Our Brass, which supports and supplies Katrina-displaced brass bands and brass musicians with funding and sometimes instruments to replace the ones they lost. In an effort to reunite communities, Hot 8 undertook the organization's Finding Our Folk Tour, which was directed to and attended by many displaced New Orleanians.

In 2007, Will "Quantic" Holland got hold of a copy of a remix of the Hot 8 cover of "Sexual Healing" and played it during a DJ set in New York -- it received enthusiastic audience approval. As a result, he also spun it for Tru Thoughts label bosses Robert Luis and Paul Jonas who, impressed, went in search of the group and its music. They signed Hot 8 and later in the year issued their "Sexual Healing" single. Limited to 500 copies, it became a rarity almost immediately. They followed it up with a reissue of the band's Rock with the Hot 8 debut. It received positive reviews globally and the label put the band on a European tour in early 2008. To accompany these shows, the label released a second single, a cover of Snoop Dogg's "What's My Name." A collection entitled Hot 8 Remixes was issued later in the year.

The band began touring internationally, playing their own gigs, and opening for artists including Lauryn Hill. Their annual performances at Jazz Fest were released by local labels in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, Tru Thoughts released the band's second long-player, the autobiographical Life & Times Of.... The album featured a stellar host of originals -- some of which have become staples of the NOLA brass band scene's fakebook -- and well-received covers, including a dynamite version of the Specials' "Ghost Town." Hot 8 kicked off 2013 with the January 1 issue of the digital singles for "Homies" and "Milwaukee Fat," which were both included on their simultaneously released third album, Tombstone. The set was dedicated to former bandmembers and other departed friends and musicians. Despite its somber title and subject, the music was far from funereal. Live at Jazz Fest 2013 also appeared that year.

The unit undertook U.S. and European tours and festival dates as headliners in support of the studio album. It kept them busy for the rest of the year and into 2014. They celebrated their 20th anniversary with Vicennial: 20 Years of the Hot 8 Brass Band, in 2015, a set of brand new tracks and newly recorded versions of repertoire tunes. Tru Thoughts also issued the Sexual Healing Remixes, an album's worth of versions by Ibibo Sound Machine, Maddslinky, Werkha, Space Captain, J-Felix, and others. It also included an a cappella take of Hot 8's version. A single combining a cover of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" b/w "We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City" was also released. The band was also featured on "The What Stop (Work out Your Hips)" single by DJ Jubilee.

In May 2016, the Can't Nobody Get Down EP was issued. It featured three new tracks including the title number, the funky dance jam "Take It to the House," and the uptempo party revisioning of Stevie Wonder's "That Girl" -- it also included two more remixes of "Sexual Healing" by Wrongtom and Roy Cooper, precursors to On the Spot, their fifth full-length. The set offered a host of originals including "8 Kickin It Live," "Get It How You Live," and "Bottom of the Bucket," as well as the Wonder cover, a steamy reading of Sade's "Sweetest Taboo," and the standard "St. James Infirmary." Released at the end of March, the set debuted strong on digital and streaming charts. ~ Thom Jurek
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Bottom Of The Bucket (Single)

1. Bottom Of The Bucket (Edit)

2. Bottom Of The Bucket

x

Track List: On The Spot

1. 8 Kickin' It Live

2. Get It How You Live

3. Bottom Of The Bucket

4. On The Spot

5. St. James Infirmary

6. That Girl

7. Sweetest Taboo

8. Annie Mae

9. Working Together

10. Can’t Nobody Get Down

11. Keepin' It Funky

x

Track List: Working Together / Keepin' It Funky (Single)

1. Working Together

2. Keepin' It Funky

x

Track List: Can't Nobody Get Down EP

1. Can’t Nobody Get Down

2. Take It To The House

3. That Girl

4. Sexual Healing (Wrongtom Remix)

5. Sexual Healing (Feat. Smadar Akray) (Roy Cooper Remix)

x

Track List: Sexual Healing Remixes

1. Sexual Healing

2. Sexual Healing (20th Anniversary Version)

3. Sexual Healing (J-Felix Remix)

4. Sexual Healing (Maddslinky Remix)

5. Sexual Healing (Ibibio Sound Machine Remix)

6. Sexual Healing (Werkha Remix)

7. Sexual Healing (Jonny Faith Remix)

8. Sexual Healing (Space Captain Remix)

9. Sexual Healing (I Record The Hands Remix)

10. Sexual Healing (A Cappella)

x

Track List: Papa Was A Rolling Stone / We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City

1. Papa Was A Rolling Stone

2. We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City

3. Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Radio Edit)

x

Track List: Milwaukee Fat

1. Milwaukee Fat

3. Hot 8 S**t

4. Hot 8 S**t

x

Track List: Milwaukee Fat (Single)

1. Milwaukee Fat

2. Hot 8 S**t

x

Track List: Homies/Bingo Bango

x

Track List: Tombstone

1. Tombstone Intro

2. Wolf Burger

3. Homies

4. Shot Gun Joe

5. Milwaukee Fat

6. Eldridge

7. We Goin' Make It

8. Hot 8 S**t

9. Big Girl

10. Take It To The House

11. Tombstone Outro

x

Track List: The Life And Times Of...

1. Steamin' Blues

2. Fine Tuner

3. Bingo Bango

4. New Orleans (After The City)

5. Can't Hide From The Truth

6. Ghost Town

7. Let Me Do My Thing (Remix)

8. Skit

9. War Time

x

Track List: Ghost Town / Let Me Do My Thing

1. Ghost Town

2. Let Me Do My Thing

x

Track List: Sexual Healing

1. Sexual Healing

2. It's Real

3. Sexual Healing (Edit)

x

Track List: Hot 8 Remixes

1. It's Real (Lack Of Afro Remix)

2. Get Up (Diesler Remix)

3. It's Real (Pavlov & Mishkin Remix)

4. We Are The One (Natural Self Remix)

5. What's My Name (Aldo Vanucci Remix)

6. Jisten To Me (Hint Remix)

7. Sexual Healing (Me&You Re-Edit)

8. Mish Mash (Unforscene Remix)

9. Get Up (Unforscene Remix)

x

Track List: Rock With The Hot 8 Brass Band

1. What's My Name

2. It's Real

3. Fly Away

4. I Got You

5. Sexual Healing

6. Jisten To Me

7. We Are One

8. Skeet Street

9. Rastafunk

10. E Flat Blues

11. Skit #1

12. Love Don't Live Here

13. Get Up

x

Track List: Vicennial: 20 Years Of The Hot 8 Brass Band

1. What’s My Name?

2. Sexual Healing

3. Get Up

4. Royal Garden Blues

5. Papa Was A Rolling Stone

6. Rasta Funk

7. Take It To The House

8. It's Real

9. Just My Imagination

10. We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City

11. New Orleans, After The City

Comments

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7th Ward Ronkie Nola Boy to da bone n**ga!!! Hard Head 4life
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Fave band
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Real N.O. sounds, touches the soul
.
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rcopelandjr3 1
When I first came across this recording at a public library, I took it home and could not stop playing over and over!!## What a blast! Still playing.
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That's. So n.o
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Off the hook sound so good keep up the good work big B 1love big brother
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What a sound.

Like the big muddy and the bayou roiling n a ripplin where it all meets the sea

Sweet smooth and unstoppable
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Hot8 rollin yea
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Dis my s**t
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IVE NEVER BEEN TO NEW ORLEANS BUT WHEN I DO IM BUCKIN ALLLLLLLL ACROSS THAT THANG OMG I LOVE THIS MUSIC!!!! #mymorningco f f e e
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This dat fiya
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This music is the realist, that NOLA is where it's at.
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R.I.P SHOTGUN JOE 9TH WARD
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I LOVE IT
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Rip Booker T Glass & Nowell Glass ur niece & grd daughter.Pam e l a Martin Cager
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Missing my brother da snare drummer Dinneral Shavers. R.i.p.brothe r one of the best to ever do it.
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grahamfracha
I love it
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lclockridge
Exactly what I need....Clea n i n ' my kitchen and jookin' to the Hot 8, Kermit Ruffins and alla dem!
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woooooooo
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that's that fya
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louis.p.fene c h
Sweeet
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deedee_macke y
Go Head Hot 8. Love dem boys...

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