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Seven horns for seven brothers

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are all sons of the legendary antiestablishment jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran
The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are all sons of the legendary antiestablishment jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran / SUR
  • The Chicago-based Hypnotic Brass Ensemble will bring their explosive music to Marbella

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, one of Chicago’s most innovative, and truly inspiring, young brass bands, is coming to Marbella as part of the current world tour. The band has already performed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America, exciting audiences at the New York Lincoln Center, The Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall.

Following a truly amazing performance on the Costa del Sol last year, the band is set to return to Marbella next Thursday, 7 September.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (HBE) is a Chicago-based septet consisting of seven brothers who are sons of the legendary antiestablishment jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran. Their musical style, which they call ‘now music’, ranges from funk to rock and hip-hop to gypsy jazz.

They were raised communally on Chicago’s South Side, with their father, and two mothers, who were also musicians. Music was a constant element of their upbringing and they were obliged to rise at 6am every morning to rehearse before going to school. They soon mastered the trumpet, tuba, cornet, trombone and the French horn, and they began performing as the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble in Chicago.

Rehearsals began early but, unlike the 1970s sensation The Jackson 5, their father had no intention of creating a pop sensation: instead he taught them to create sounds that would fuse both body and soul.

Phil Cohran, who fathered 23 children, is credited with inspiring so many jazz musicians who went on to become household names, including Earth Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan and George Benson.

“Our father exposed us to so many different and unique types of music from across the globe. When it comes to being creative, we draw from within our soul to bring forth the music we write. One of our missions is to bridge the gap between genres and return music to truly being a universal language,” Gabriel Hubert, the eldest of the brothers, told SUR in English.

In 1999, the brothers took to performing daily on the subways of Chicago, quickly attracting considerable attention, and they used this period to launch themselves onto the mainline Chicago music scene. The brothers formed the HBE and began playing at various jazz clubs in Chicago, and by 2004, they had recorded their first CD.

The HBE was once an eight-piece ensemble, but one of the brothers tired of music and quit the band.

“We never considered ourselves street musicians, we only used the streets as a means to market and promote our music to the world until we could sell tickets in various venues around the globe,” Gabriel says.

Known as the ‘bad boys of jazz’, the band has performed with some of the top jazz musicians and they have also collaborated with many well-known pop artists, such as Prince and the B52’s. They also supported Blur in the Hyde Park Reunion concerts in 2009.

A 2007 documentary film explores their music, work ethic, life and experience of being raised by their jazz legend father, who died aged 90 in June this year.

The musicians are now young men in their 20s and 30s and they have created their own sound which is renowned throughout the world.

“In a nutshell, HBE music speaks to what’s going on today in music, period. We cannot be classed as jazz, soul, funk, hip hop or house, because we’re not locked into one style. We’re able to manoeuvre through genres with ease. Our music is high energy, high spirited, and high in style and flavour,” the 30-year-old musician insists.

The band are currently touring Spain and they have already taken their explosive music to Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and Granada. The day after performing in Marbella’s La Catarina - where they will play music from their forthcoming album, The Bad Boys of Jazz, the band will be heading to the Bestival festival in the UK.

“We still feel like we haven’t arrived or are considered famous. There is so much the band hasn’t accomplished yet. Fame is not high on the list in priority. Our drive and moral fluctuates according to other things in life. We want to present some new music here in Spain and want to make you guys dance, sweat and listen to some great music,” Gabriel says enthusiastically.

The concert in Marbella will begin at 11pm.