Armed with one of the baddest configurations of horn players and percussionist from New Orleans, Grammy-nominated Hot 8 Brass Band is back with their fifth full-length album, On The Spot. The title of their latest release speaks of that magical moment when the second line band hits the parade route and a new track is born out of the energy and the drama that goes between the audience and the members of the band alike. On The Spot also refers to the hard times that the men in the ensemble have shared together. Through the two decades the band has been together it has survived the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the separate deaths of five band members, and trumpeter Terell “Burger” Batiste’s car accident where he lost his legs. Through the trials and tribulations, the men of the Hot 8 Brass Band have kept playing and have found hope within music while sharing their powerful message to stages across the world.

We broke down each lively track of Hot 8 Brass Band’s On The Spot in our latest edition of Tracy By Track Analysis. And between the two of us, we kinda had ourselves a little dance party while doing so and we firmly suggest that you re-arrange your living room, dorm room, kitchen, workspace, or space station for that matter because it’s near impossible to go through this record without wanting to groove.

1. “Kickin’ It Live”

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The appropriately named opener welcomes listeners in to the party that is the rest of the record. With a mix of rapping, chanting, driving percussion and horn lines with just the right amount of dissonant crunch, this cut has enough vibe to turn any space into a party. Each soloist drives the energy higher as the arrangement unfolds. It’s not clear if the band is improvising the sections or if they are meticulously planned out because the celebration develops so organically, and the band’s playful attitude is infectious. As they support and push each other, we join right in with them.

2. “Get It How You Live”

According to founding member and sousaphone player Bennie Pete, this is “a really serious tune with a beat to it that makes it more festive, but it’s about how what you do to others, comes back to you.” The call and response vocal opening brings to mind a gospel choir, as do the hand claps on the back beat. This visceral element drives home the message which is simple and profound. There may be a lot of minor chords and sounds, but there’s no negativity here: the joy jumps right out of the speakers

3. “Bottom Of The Bucket”

“20 years and running, we ain’t gon’ stop” is one of the first things you hear on this track, and the seamless blend the band has is no longer a mystery. Only years of chemistry and hard work (and play) can create the kind of unified sound that the Hot 8 Brass Band has. Trombonist L. Brown wrote this song, inspired by a “story about crabs in a bucket, one gets to the top and the others will bring him back down… Whenever we tried to get up, there was no one to help pull us out. We did it all on our own.” Their dedication came through for them in more ways than one.

4. “On The Spot”

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The record’s title track has a deep story behind it, but anyone who has listened to the band even once will understand how “On The Spot” gets right to the heart of the band’s approach to making music. It’s about the feeling of live music, when the band and the crowd are vibing off each other, about the one of a kind energy that improvised music creates and feeds off of. The fact that the band can bring that magic to the recording studio says a lot.



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