GRAMMY nominated Hot 8 Brass Band is set to release their fifth album, On The Spot out March 31 on Tru Thoughts, and embark on an extensive world tour including select markets in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Australasia.
Stirring up excitement ahead of the album and tour, lead single “Working Together”/“Keepin’ It Funky” released on Dec. 16, 2016, has been gaining support from Jamie Cullum (BBC R2), Garth Trinidad (KCRW) and Craig Charles (BBC R2/6Music). The latter tastemaker also stars in the “Keepin’ It Funky” video, which sees him leading the crowd of revellers in a raucous Hot 8 parade performance on London’s Clapham Common. Wherever they are, Hot 8 bring the unique, undiluted energy of the New Orleans Second Line parades.
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The new record has its roots firmly in live performance, and in true Hot 8 style it pairs hard-hitting, heart-on-sleeve sentiment with party-fuelling beats, hooks and grooves. On The Spot refers to the saying, on the spot, the glorious, rare moment in a New Orleans parade when the band stops to take a break but keeps playing for the crowd. Vibing and keeping the energy up, when they’re completely in the moment they sync up and the magic happens – a new tune is created, on the spot. Buzzing with the live, spontaneous synchronicity which has fuelled their development from the streets of New Orleans to the forefront of the global scene over the last two decades, the new LP sees Hot 8 committing this spirit to record – and in the live arena the tunes are set to blow up.
“We are privileged to tour and to tell the stories of life in our city, to keep alive the memories of our band members who have passed, as well as all the musicians who have gone before”, says band leader and tuba player Bennie Pete. “We can’t wait to share this new music and party with our fans, who help us to keep pushing ourselves on”.
The last year Hot 8 Brass Band celebrated their 20th Anniversary with the ‘Vicennial: 20 Years Of The Hot 8 Brass Band’ album released in late 2015, and they have toured almost constantly since. Delighting crowds with their rambunctious mix of hip hop, funk and inimitable Big Easy jazz, they have performed along side headliners at sold out festivals including BST Hyde Park (supporting Mumford & Sons), North Sea Jazz, Secret Garden Party and WOMAD. They wrapped up the summer at Madness’ House Of Common event with their jubilant New Orleans-style parade, before being welcomed with open arms by fans and media during their fall France tour.
Mixing an old school street brass approach with funkier currents and hip hop vocals, Hot 8’s magnificent originals are juxtaposed with fresh versions of Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, The Specials and Basement Jaxx. And of course their anthemic take on Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, which recently re-launched with a new video that is nudging 1 million YouTube hits. This year’s On The Spot Tour is set to bring these essential cuts to an even wider audience, while cementing the next generation of Hot 8 classic tunes in the hearts and minds of fans.
Always in demand, so far Hot 8 has performed extensively in the UK including the tastemaker outlets of BBC 6Music Morning Show, BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Jazz FM, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC R3; add these to in-depth interviews with Mary Anne Hobbs (6Music) and BBC World Service’s Outlook programme, touching on tragic stories from Hot 8’s history which chimed especially intensely with listeners in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement. A recent mini-documentary, Hot 8 Brass Band: 20 Years In The Making, has also helped to tell the story of this indefatigable musical and cultural force at a pivotal point in their evolution. Hot 8’s incredible tale, which comes across in their life-affirming and powerful music, has also previously featured in Spike Lee’s two New Orleans documentaries, When The Levees Broke and The Creek Don’t Rise, and David Simon’s HBO series Treme (in which the band played themselves), to add to extensive features across the world’s media.
One of the great New Orleans acts, Hot 8 has pushed on through a barely imaginable series of trials. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the separate deaths of five band members, and the horror of trumpeter Terrell “Burger” Batiste losing his legs, have tested these men almost to breaking point. They honour their lost friends and work towards the future of their community by putting their energies into positive projects at home as well as touring as much as possible. They march together and they play their music, not merely as a livelihood, but because their lives depend on it.
Transcending genres and trends, Hot 8 have performed and collaborated with artists from Lauryn Hill to Mos Def to the Blind Boys of Alabama, and were nominated for a GRAMMY in 2013 for their second album ‘The Life and Times Of…’. 2015’s acclaimed ‘Vicennial: 20 Years Of The Hot 8 Brass Band’ exemplified their ability to honour their city’s musical traditions while forging their own powerful legacy – a story that continues apace via the ‘On The Spot’ album and tour.