Working Together / Keepin' It Funky
Hot 8 Brass Band
Released: 16th Dec, 2016
Label: Tru Thoughts
“[Hot 8] has helped galvanise its community since 2005; captures both the edginess
and transcendent beauty of life in its city” – The Wall Street Journal
In true Hot 8 style, this single pairs hard-hitting, heart-on-sleeve sentiment with party-fuelling beats, hooks and grooves. “Working Together” was brought into the repertoire by bass drummer Harry “Swamp Thang” Cook, who felt the Frankie Beverly and Maze song tapped into the essence of the band. “The lyrics say, “We got to start learning how to do our thing and give each other some respect. We got to learn to give, I’m telling you like it is. Let’s work together and make this happen””, says bandleader Bennie Pete. “So while we were going through the trials and hard times as people and as a band, dealing with all our losses... We felt we had to cover it. We all feel deeply about the meaning and the message.”
Original tune “Keepin’ It Funky” brings a buoyant tuba bassline and winningtrombone licks. “People like that funky groove”, says Pete, of the new track which blossomed into life on recent tours and also hit big with home crowds on their return. The organic evolution of this tune exemplifies the spirit of the LP – one meaning of ‘On The Spot’ refers to the glorious, rare moment in a New Orleans parade when the band stops to take a break but keeps noodling with their instruments to please the crowd; vibing and keeping the energy up, when they’re completely in the moment they sync up and the magic happens – a new tune is created. With these new recordings, Hot 8 capture what they can of this spirit.
One of the great New Orleans acts, Hot 8 have pushed on through a barely imaginable series of trials. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the separate deaths of five band members, and the horror of trumpeter Terrell “Burger” Batiste losing his legs in a car crash, have tested these men time and again. They honour their fallen friends and work towards the future of their community by putting their energies into positive projects at home as well as touring as much as possible. They march together and they play their music not merely as though, but because their lives depend on it.
Transcending genres and trends, Hot 8 have performed and collaborated with artists from Lauryn Hill to Mos Def, The Roots to the Blind Boys of Alabama. Mixing an old school street brass approach with on-point production, funkier currents and hip hop vocals, they continue to juxtapose their fresh and charismatic cover versions with magnificent original compositions that highlight their ever-quickening march towards legendary New Orleans status.