Its one of the busiest times of the year for New Orleans musicians, but the Hot 8 Brass Band found time to make a stop Thursday at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.
The Hot 8 Brass Band has epitomized New Orleans street music for more than a decade. Coaxing a unique sound from their well-loved and well-worn horns, the players offer performances infused with the funk and energy that has inspired a love for New Orleans music worldwide.
Hot 8 was founded originally by Bennie Big Bennie Pete (tuba), Jerome Jones and Harry Swamp Thang Cook (bass drum) in 1995. Its players are all natives of New Orleans, and many began playing together in high school. Once coming together professionally to perform traditional New Orleans brass band music, they joined the traditional Second Line parades hosted each Sunday by the Social Aid and Pleasure Club, and have participated ever since.
Described as Defiant Swing by the New Yorker, the Hot 8 has toured internationally and is a celebrated performer at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which is happening now and continuing through Sunday in The Big Easy. After Hurricane Katrina, Hot 8 garnered national recognition, featured in a variety of news reports as well as in Spike Lees documentary, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.
Hot 8s work with the Finding Our Folk Tour has brought music and instruments to evacuee shelters, the temporary trailer parks and communities throughout the United States providing temporary homes to displaced New Orleans residents.
In the years since Katrina, three members of Hot 8 have lost their lives because of violence on New Orleans streets, and in response to these tragic setbacks, the Hot 8 Brass Band has recommitted itself to bringing people together to celebrate, heal and learn through its unique brand of music.