Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Book Of Sound (Honest Jon's)

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Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Book Of Sound (Honest Jon's)
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Awesome new project from the original brass crew
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“We started with the principle – the cosmic idea that we were taught by our father from a very young age – that the stars and planets make a sound, that deep in outer space there is audible harmony.”

With its cathedral-like, richly resonant acoustics, the new HBE album is a brilliant expression of this interplanetary principle. The album is by turns urgent and contemplative, funky and reflective, varied in its textures; but entirely of one piece. Underpinned by concepts of our earth’s place in the cosmos, held in place by meditation, swirling with notions of history, science, theology, ancestry, there is a rich conceptual brew here. But always, what talks loudest is the music. The album rings with what back in the 1950s the jazz critic Whitney Balliet called “the sound of surprise”. At a time when the phrase Spiritual Jazz threatens in some quarters to become a tired cliche, this is a record that makes you believe again in the genre’s validity.

Talking to Cid, one of the Ensemble’s two trombonists, one phrase recurs: “back to the beginning”. “We wanted to go back to the beginning, when we were kids, real young, and our father would wake us up at 5 AM to practice for two hours before breakfast.” One outcome – initially unplanned but subsequently embraced – is that unlike their two previous albums on Honest Jon’s, this is an album without a drummer. “When we started, as Wolf Pack, just brothers on the street with our horns, there wasn’t a kit in sight.” Book Of Sound retains plenty of rhythmic heft, but the absence of a drummer opens up space for a notably varied instrumental palette. Acoustic guitar, piccolo, synthesiser, alto sax – none of them typical HBE Instruments – all have their place on the album. Most striking perhaps are the vocal lines that thread through the album and give it a palpable warmth. “In Wolf Pack, we rapped and played, this time we took it a step further.”

Sessions were recorded in Brooklyn and Chicago, and brilliantly mixed at Abel Garibaldi’s studio in the Loop (“Abel was like a musician on this record”), and it’s the Hypnotic’s hometown that permeates. For Cid this is a deeply Chicago record: “it’s got the vibe of the lake, the vibe of the prairies opening up to the west”. It also has the vibe of those Sun Ra Arkestra albums recorded in Chicago in the 1950s, and – of course - the Phil Cohran albums from the 1960s.

It’s Phil Cohran (the father of all seven members of the Ensemble and their first teacher, and not just in music) who is the album’s guiding spirit. For Cid it’s a major regret that, in the months before their father’s death early in 2017, Phil was not well enough to play on the album. “He loved the whole idea, and we had the perfect place for his zither”. But Book Of Sound is a magnificent testament to their Cohran legacy. “You know, it’s tough trying to satisfy everybody with our music. It’s hard enough satisfying ourselves, let alone the jazz scene, the hip hop guys, what have you. With this album we just dropped all that as a consideration, and tuned into deeper principles.”

Tracklist:

1. LEAD THE WAY “this goes way back, to before Hypnotic; originally it was purely a vocal track.”

2. PURPLE AFTERNOON “the bassline is a riff that’s been around for years – each song on the album is about a different time of day – this is for mellowing out when the sun is setting.”

3. KEPRA “Kepra is the Egyptian name for the scarab beetle that was placed on the Pharoah’s crown, and represents manifestation – that’s Yoshe singing the treble line.”

4. MORNING PRAYER “this was literally our morning prayer when we were kids – a circular drone around the core note of F – it’s to give you stillness – and the core around which the album rotates.”

5. NOW “we wanted to write a Phil Cohran style song, re-creating his format as a writer – he taught us that all music is “now-music”, of the moment, never the same.”

6. SOLSTICE “ Solstice is a celebration of the earth’s most precious day – that’s our mother Aquilla on vocal – the track is inspired by the old spiritual: ‘Ezekiel saw the wheel Away in the middle of the air’.”

7. MIDNIGHT “inspired by when our father used music therapy instead of methadone to fight the heroin epidemic that hit in the 1960s - the trumpet line is our father’s, and Aquila’s vocal is inspired by Ella Pearl Jackson, the incredible singer who worked with our father.”

8. SRI NEROTI “Sri was our father’s yoga teacher with the most amazing ability to manipulate his body – the concept here is mind over matter. That’s our mother Maia on piccolo.”

9. HEAVEN AND EARTH “ a tune in the Chinese mode that goes back to when we had a gig in Chicago on New Year’s Eve at the time of the millennium and everyone was a little uptight. Clouds are moving across the sky, a storm is coming!”

10. SYNAPSIS “This is Rocco’s tune about the neurology of sound. Synapsis is how the brain communicates with the body.”

11. ROYALTY “Huda’s tune. Huda is short for Yehuda, the lion of the tribe of Judah – the king of kings. We spent a long time trying to transfer Clef’s synths part to the horns but in the end left it in – the right thing to do.”

Additional Information

Additional Information

Artist Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Label Honest Jon's
Music Format General Vinyl
Music Format Specific 2x12"
Genre Funk, Jazz, Soul
Release Date 20 Nov 2017
Track 1 Position A1
Track 1 Title Lead The Way
Track 1 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/01.HJRLP074_mastered_01_copy.mp3
Track 2 Position A2
Track 2 Title Purple Afternoon
Track 2 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/02.HJRLP074_mastered_02_copy.mp3
Track 3 Position B1
Track 3 Title Kepra
Track 3 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/03.HJRLP074_mastered_03_copy.mp3
Track 4 Position B2
Track 4 Title Morning Prayer
Track 4 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/04.HJRLP074_mastered_04_copy.mp3
Track 5 Position B3
Track 5 Title Now
Track 5 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/05.HJRLP074_mastered_05_copy.mp3
Track 6 Position C1
Track 6 Title Solstice
Track 6 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/06.HJRLP074_mastered_06_copy.mp3
Track 7 Position C2
Track 7 Title Midnight
Track 7 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/07.HJRLP074_mastered_07_copy.mp3
Track 8 Position C3
Track 8 Title Sri Neroti
Track 8 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/08.HJRLP074_mastered_08_copy.mp3
Track 9 Position D1
Track 9 Title Heaven And Earth
Track 9 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/09.HJRLP074_mastered_09_copy.mp3
Track 10 Position D2
Track 10 Title Synapsis
Track 10 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/10.HJRLP074_mastered_10_copy.mp3
Track 11 Position D3
Track 11 Title Royalty
Track 11 Preview URL https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/usolnaudiopreviews/HJRLP074/11.HJRLP074_mastered_11_copy.mp3
Track 12 Position No
Track12 Title No
Track 12 Preview URL No
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