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The resurrection of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is still very much a work in progress, but one of its successes has been the rediscovery of its musical legacy. The city’s brass band tradition, in particular, has seen an explosion: the Rebirth, Dirty Dozen, Olympia, and Stooges Brass Bands have forged busy new career paths in recent years, built partly on their strong assimilations of jazz, funk, and hip-hop into their syncopated New Orleans stylistics.
The Hot 8 Brass Band has been one of the bands that’s received real elevation, in part thanks to a prominent appearance in Spike Lee‘s documentary When the Levees Broke. The Hot 8, which despite its name includes nine musicians, has not only incorporated hip-hop beats but rap-style vocals and party chants into its work, as well as some of the booty-shakin’est funk grooves this side of George Clinton. Their new album, Tombstone, is a tribute to three members of the band that have, since their 1995 founding, been victims of gun violence. That gives a deeply poignant edge to the music at times, but doesn’t diminish the radiant, sometimes cunning joy that bursts through the seams of the brass horns. The Hot 8 Brass Band performs at 8 p.m. at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. $27.25.
Photo: Flickr user Mark GStohl