Title: On the Spot
Artist: Hot 8 Brass Band
Label: Tru Thoughts
Formats: CD, LP, MP3
Release date: March 31, 2017
The Hot 8 Brass Band uses their new release, On the Spot, to keep on doing what they do best. The album is filled with the kind of up-tempo lively party music that one might expect from a top tier New Orleans brass band. The Hot 8 is just that and they do not disappoint.
The album begins in spectacular fashion with “8 Kickin It Live” which is jam packed with energy via those great New Orleans syncopated rhythms which definitely had me dancing in my seat as I listened. Following are more original pieces, including “Working Together,” “Get It How You Live,” and “Bottom of the Bucket,” which is funky as all get out and features an infectious horn line with great feeling.
According to the Hot 8 Brass Band, “On the Spot” refers to 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 sync up and the magic happens—a new tune is created.” You can almost hear this happening as the band lays into the title track.
The album features a few notable covers including “St. James Infirmary,” which sees the band dipping into classic New Orleans jazz and incorporating woodwind instruments into the track. Also covered is Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo,” reworked into a slightly more up-tempo jam, and Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl” which the Hot 8 mold in a rhythmic party anthem. The album closes out on a few more originals, most notably “Can’t Nobody Get Down” featuring a horn line reminiscent of Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing.”
With On The Spot, the Hot 8 Brass Band truly does a great job at packaging as much of the live energy they bring to their performance as possible. I can only imagine what heights are reached when experiencing the band in real time.
Editor’s Note: the Hot 8 Brass Band’s U.S. tour in support of the album begins May 27, 2017 in Denver.
Review by Levon Williams