Concert Review | The American Hypnotic Brass Ensemble was a two-piece band of brothers in Huvila that played loud and even louder

A party band-like composition would have been better suited to a club-like space instead of Huvila.

Wind music

Helsinki’s festive weeks. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble in Huvila tent 18.8.

American Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’s master of ceremonies emphasized twice in the Huvila tent that they do not play jazz – even though the name of the band’s latest full-length album is The Bad Boys of Jazz.

Why the underline?

Maybe because he, the third trumpet player in the line-up Tarik Graves thought until the end that he was performing at the “Helsinki Jazz Festival”, which he thanked twice on Thursday evening in a full Huvila.

But this was already clear by the time of his first thanks. No, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, originally composed of eight brothers who grew up in Chicago, does not perform jazz. No, although both the playing and the sound point to it – and of course sometimes the style is already inherited by blood

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Brothers father was an influential trumpet player and teacher in Chicago throughout his long life Phil Cochran (1927–2017), who at the turn of the 1960s played a mystical Sun Ran in the great cosmic Arkestra. Cohran, who was one of the founders of the important AACM organization in 1965, later made a few albums of up-to-date and political spiritual jazz under his own name.

In the music of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble founded by the boys, there were hardly any traces of them: neither cosmic, nor spiritual.

Live the modus operandi of this plush-sounding ensemble – six brass players, a bass guitarist, a drummer – was to be a strictly funky and hip-hopping “Party Brass Ensemble” that seemed to have only two gears: loud and louder.

Relative to this supposed goal, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble did its job well for all the money: the group energy, which almost completely replaced the individual performances, was transmitted and never sagged during the hour and a half.

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But the songs based on small melodic hooks were unnecessarily similar in Huvila for a long time, without layering into the subconscious enchantment promised by the name. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble didn’t exactly hypnotize.

In the end, a hard roast was just a hard, hot and sweaty roast. In contrast to, for example, the band’s album The Bad Boys of Jazzfrom which we heard, among other things, the songs go, Yo Friends, After party and In The House.

With them, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble sounds clearly more “musical” and more sustainable than this party band that both sang and moved the audience, which would have been better suited to a club-like space instead of a concert hall-like Huvila.

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