Independent Lens | Brothers Hypnotic | The Principle of Simplicity | PBS
"Art is Business" by Lavon N. Pettis
To continue to move the 10 bands members around the world, plus 1 project manager, 1 intern, & produce our independent showcases we are asking you to support our endeavors by purchasing a ticket to this showcase even if you are unable to make it! YOUR SUPPORT IS CRITICAL for us to CONTINUE:
I am writing to ask for your support for a show I am co-producing with the band Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. On Monday, September 28th the band will make a stop in Evanston, Illinois the heels of their world tour and being named Ambassadors of Jazz by the US Embassy to Mexico!
Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne's comments on Hypnotic Brass's Diplomatic Mission/ Concert in Mexico
Musically and Artistically yours,
Lavon N. Pettis
Southside Music Series featuring Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Clip of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble PBS Independent Lens documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Jazz / Film / Music / Post No Bills The progeny of Phil Cohran mesmerize in Brothers Hypnotic
Posted By Peter Margasak on 04.04.14 at 02:00 PM
On Monday night at 10 PM, WTTW will screen Reuben Atlas's Brothers Hypnotic, a lively, music-soaked documentary about the Chicago-bred Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The group, which moved to New York in 2006, consists of eight sons fathered by trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and visionary Phil Cohran—an early member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, a cofounder of the AACM, and the man behind the Affro-Arts Theater. The music his Artistic Heritage Ensemble created in the late 60s exerted a huge influence on Chicago musicians, including the Pharaohs, Kahil El'Zabar, and Earth, Wind & Fire's Maurice White. In 2003 I profiled the ensemble, whose members learned to play brass instruments during rigorous group lessons conducted by their father every morning before they headed to school. There's some incredible footage of his sons performing with him when they were part of the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble.
The documentary follows the group on a couple of European tours, and films them playing both on the streets of New York and back at Cohran's Rogers Park garden apartment. There are interviews with Cohran and their mothers, Aquilla Sadallah and Maia Hubert. There is also live footage of the group performing with Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and Prince, and there's a stark contrast between those euphoric moments, stoked by the charge of playing for huge audiences, and the group exercise of playing serene long tones that occurs at the start of the documentary (which you can check out below). At the conclusion of the film it remains unclear which way the group will go.
Last year Hypnotic Brass Ensemble released Fly: The Customs Prelude (Pheelco), where its music seems to remain in something of a holding pattern, stuck between commercial funk and more experimental directions. In the middle of the documentary there's a telling remark from Cohran as he warns his sons about the fickleness of the music industry: "The mistake that everybody makes is that they think they're gonna be hot forever. It ain't going to happen like that. The main thing is that you're doing well now, you're going before the world. Everybody has that period, that cycle where you expand. A few people stay out there a long time, but most people only go out there for about three years and then they implode." He laughs, but his sons don't look very amused. He tells them it's important to have a strong home base and says Chicago is perfect for that, but they've already decided that New York is the place for them.
Still, the final part of the film features footage shot at the recording session for the 2012 record Cohran and his sons made together—arguably the finest work yet from the Hypnotics—where they both do their best to bridge the generational and stylistic gaps that exist. The version of the documentary screening next week as part of the PBS series Independent Lens is 53 minutes long, about a half hour shorter than the theatrical version of the film that's been showing at film festivals over the last year, and while the arc of the narrative and its techniques are pretty conventional, the charisma of the subjects, especially Cohran, is compelling enough to eclipse that lack of verve.