Hot 8 Brass Band

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Hot 8 Brass Band
Hot 8 playing funeral for New Orleans blogger Ashley Morris, April 2008
Background information
OriginNew Orleans, Louisiana
GenresJazz, Hip hop, Funk
Years active1995–Present
LabelsTru Thoughts

The Hot 8 Brass Band is a New Orleans based brass band that blends hip-hop, jazz and funk styles with traditional New Orleans brass sounds. It was formed by Bennie Pete, Jerome Jones, and Harry Cook in 1995,[1] the merging of two earlier bands, the Looney Tunes Brass Band and the High Steppers Brass Band.[2]

Since June 2007 the band has been signed to the UK's Tru Thoughts label,[3] that label's first U.S. act.[4]


The Hot 8 Brass Band plays in second line parades hosted Sunday afternoons by Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs;[1] in the New Orleans metropolitan area they also play at traditional jazz funerals[5] and at local jazz nightclubs.

They play regularly at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and have played in the Zulu Parade, San Antonio Zulu Association Festival, the City of New Orleans New Year's Celebration and Mo' Fest, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and the Master P music video "Hootie Hoo". The Hot 8 Brass Band has also toured in Japan, Italy, France, Spain, Finland and England.[6]

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Hot 8 Brass Band was propelled to wider prominence by an appearance in Spike Lee's 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Because of this appearance, according to National Public Radio, "A new legion of fans caught onto the band's mix of traditional marching music, hip hop, and R&B."[5]

In 2009, the band added its New Orleans style to an "Iko Iko" cover song of the Swiss band Schtärneföifi, who re-recorded their Swiss German version from 1995's Heicho - Ohni Znacht is Bed together with The Dixie Cups in New Orleans. The song was released on the new album, Wältberüemt.[7][8] [9]


Four members of the band have died since its formation.[4] Past and present band members include:


In October 2007, the band released Rock with The Hot 8, their first studio album, on the Tru Thoughts label.[10] Hot 8 Brass Band was featured on Down in New Orleans, the 2008 album by the Blind Boys of Alabama. They released their second studio album, The Life and Times of the Hot 8 Brass Band in November 2012.[11] May 2013 saw the release of "Tombstone," the sister album to "The Life and Times ...," a recording mostly dedicated to former band members, living and dead.[12]

Violent deaths of group members[edit]

The band has also been mentioned in the U.S. media because three of its members, all of whom were between the ages of 17 and 25, have died over the years due to handgun violence.

In 1996, seventeen-year-old trumpet player Jacob Johnson was found shot execution-style in his home.[5]

In 2004, trombone player Joseph "Shotgun Joe" Williams was shot dead by police in controversial circumstances. According to a local news source:[13]

According to New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) accounts, officers were stopping 22-year-old trombonist Joe Williams for driving an allegedly stolen vehicle when Williams slammed the white Ford F-150 into reverse, accelerating into an NOPD squad car and officer. His actions, says Deputy Superintendent Marlin Defillo, caused officers to fear for their lives and thus open fire, killing Williams.

The same source reported that several eyewitnesses say that police shot Williams while he was unarmed and his hands were in the air.[13]

In 2006, drummer Dinerral "Dick" Shavers was shot and killed while driving with his family. According to The Times-Picayune:[14]

Dinerral Shavers, 25, died from a gunshot to the back of his head at about 5:30 p.m. while behind the wheel of his black Chevrolet Malibu in the 2200 block of Dumaine Street… His family was not injured… Although critically wounded, Shavers continued driving four blocks up Dumaine before stopping. By 6 p.m., Shavers lay motionless on his back in the middle of the street just outside the open driver's side door… Shavers was taken to a hospital, but died within an hour.

Police said the bullet was intended for Shavers's fifteen-year-old stepson.[15] The Hot 8 Brass Band played at Shavers' funeral.[5]


  1. ^ a b Brass Band Blowout Weekend: April 11, 2008 from the Tipitina's website
  2. ^ Biography from the website of the Lowell Folk Festival
  3. ^ "Hot 8 Brass Band sign to Tru Thoughts! » Tru Thoughts news". Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  4. ^ a b "Hot 8 Brass Band » Tru Thoughts artists". 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  5. ^ a b c d Drummer's Funeral Underlines New Orleans Violence, All Things Considered, 6 January 2007. NPR.
  6. ^ [1] Archived August 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Swiss television magazine Schtärneföifi in New Orleans with the Dixie Cups and The Hot 8 Brass Band
  8. ^ Audio sample of "Heicho" where the Hot 8 Brass Band add its unique New Orleans style
  9. ^ In 2014 the band's cover of "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye was featured in the movie "Chef" and appeared on the soundtrack.
  10. ^ Rock With The Hot 8, from the Tru Thoughts website
  11. ^ Campbell, Al (2012-11-06). "The Life & Times Of... - The Hot 8 Brass Band : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  12. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Tombstone - The Hot 8 Brass Band : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-11-20.
  13. ^ a b Reckdahl, Katy (17 August 2004). "Why?". Gambit Weekly. Retrieved 2007-01-06.
  14. ^ Filosa, Gwen (2006-12-29), "Two die in New Orleans shootings", The Times-Picayune, archived from the original on 2007-07-04, retrieved 2007-01-06
  15. ^ Philbin, Walt (2006-12-30), "Teen held in slaying of drummer", The Times-Picayune, archived from the original on 2007-09-30, retrieved 2007-08-24


External links[edit]