Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Monday, 01 November 2010 19:52 Written by  Cicely V. Teal

On the platform of the Chicago L stands a band of brothers from the South Side of Chicago—blood brothers—who share a love of music in its raw form. Echoing through the subway tunnel is a sound in its purist form captivating all who are in ears length. “This man came up to us and said he let four trains go by because we hypnotized him,” said June Body, trumpeter of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.

h Alongside Amal Baji “June Body” Graves are his brothers: Tarik “Smoov” Graves, Gabriel “Hudah” Hubert and Jafar “Yoshi” Graves on trumpet, Seba “Clef” Graves and Saiph “Cid” Graves on Trombone, Tycho “L.T.” Cohran on Sousaphone, Uttama “Rocco” Hubert on Baritone and Gabriel Wallace, no relation to the brothers, on drums. Their musical lineage runs deep. Their mothers are singers and their father, Philip Cohran, ran the musical gamete from the hothouse of the 1940s to his contributions to Sun Ra in Chicago in the 1950s. Other brothers and sisters are also professional musicians.

The burgeoning of their musicianship began during childhood. They would go to bed listening to their dad rehearse with his band, Circle of Sound. Then wake up at 6 a.m. and practice incessantly before going to school. As youngsters, they became a central part of their father’s Youth Ensemble. They took their musical roots, urban awareness and passion for hip hop and made ends meet on the bustling streets of Chicago.

“We worked hard when we were on the streets. We wanted our sound to inspire young people and we still do,” Rocco said. “Hypnotic stands for [H]elping [Y]oung [P]eople NOTIC[E].”

Fast forward four years and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble has established itself as one of the most musically talented bands, sought after by artists such as Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Maxwell and the Gorillaz.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble celebrated in their hometown, Chicago, as they hosted the Chicago Experience in partnership with Plastic Beach at the House of Blues. Hip hop legend’s De La Soul and other artists came out to celebrate HBE’s emergence onto the international landscape and their place in the jazz books as one of the most durable and untainted bands to hit the scene.

Their latest compilation, Heritage EP on Choice Cuts, is a force to be reckoned with. Their sound is untouched by any outside force and all listeners will be left with is clear cut musicianship. Compositions like “Alyo” and “Party Started” have clean up-tempo sounds that will take listeners on a brass journey. Melodies like “Jupiter” are mellow and smooth; a sound reminiscent of Isaac Hayes. It will take you back to afros, diamonds in the back and sunroof tops. The Heritage EP is well worth the buy for real music lovers.

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Communication and Depaul Univeristy with a M.A in Journalism. She contributed to and maintained a column at N’Digo Magapaper, and wrote for Urban Influence Magazine, Breaking Tweets, The DePaulia and The Independent. She also worked on documentary projects at WTTW channel 11, children’s television programming at WCIU-TV and African American programming at Central City Productions.

She is a blogger and studies web analytics, social networking strategies and integrated marketing at the University of Chicago.

She can be contacted at Cicely@glossmagazineonline.com