Sisters Folk Festival, Inc. (SFF) is excited to present Chicago-based hip-hop, jazz, funk and rock band Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at Sisters High School Auditorium this Thursday, November 17th at 7pm. The evening will include a workshop with the band at 4pm, free to students and $5 for community members in support of Sisters’ middle and high school band programs.
The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is a family band consisting of seven brothers who began their musical training at tender ages by their father, jazz-trumpeter/bandleader Kelan Phil Cohran (Earth, Wind & Fire; Chaka Khan; and Sun Ra). The boys went on to form the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble in 1990. The family toured the United States performing complex originals written by Cohran and other greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and even the music of classical greats Bach & Beethoven.
Although the group’s early musical training encompassed primarily elements of instrumental performance, the brothers were personally being exposed to the music of their own generation (hip-hop, rock, reggae to name a few) and absorbed these components into the cosmic jazz style of their father. By 1999, the band of brothers discontinued playing with dad in order to find their own sound, growing into the band now known as Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, or HBE.
“As an organization, we are excited to expand our musical palette to include presenting a compelling, cutting-edge horn-driven jazz, hip-hop and funk band. We are supportive of all music education in the Sisters schools, and this is a way for us to partner with the band programs to support their musical efforts and to give the kids an opportunity to work with a contemporary, working band who bring fresh material to our kids that they can relate to. Our hope out of the workshop is our kids will get a chance to join HBE onstage for a performance of “War,” their song on “The Hunger Games.” The band also performs in the spirit of unity, community, family, and love – and we can always use more of that,” says Brad Tisdel, SFF’s creative director.
The group’s sound was best described by Fader Magazine’s Edwin Stats, who called the band’s music: “a huge brass bridge of hypnotic polyphony connecting the cosmic jazz of Sun Ra’s Arkestra with the urgency of hip-hop and the sweeping emotional scale of a Curtis Mayfield blaxploitation opus.” News of the ensemble’s sound spread throughout the industry, and after emcee/actor Mos Def caught a live HBE show, the brothers were asked to join him onstage as part of the Mos Def Big Band.
The group has graced many stages around the globe including Jazzstage at Lincoln Center and Shepherd’s Bush in London. Together they have toured throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America, playing with everyone from Prince, Mos Def , Mick Jones (The Clash), and Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz). They’ve performed at Coachella, WOMAD AU, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall.
The documentary film “Brothers Hypnotic” explores their music, work-ethic, life and experience being raised by their jazz-legend father. After screening in major cities and festivals, the film aired on PBS. Their song “War” was featured in the blockbuster hit movie “The Hunger Games.”
Those interested in participating in the workshop should plan to arrive by 3:45 p.m. and go straight to the auditorium. Questions regarding the workshop should be directed to Tylor Cranor, Sisters High School director of bands, at 541-549-2099.
Tickets for SFF Presents: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are $15 adults, $10 for students, and can be purchased at www.sistersfolkfestival.org/tickets, or call the festival office at 541-549-4979.
The concert starts at 7 p.m.