BRASSROOTS
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BRASSROOTS

London, England, United Kingdom

London, England, United Kingdom
Band Jazz Adult Contemporary

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"Brassroots"

Well. This is fascinating.

Brassroots are unsurprisingly enough an eight piece horn and percussion group with their roots firmly in the brass instrumental genre but that having been said, throw any preconceptions out immediately please.

This seven song, self-titled EP kicks off with a trombone led rendition of ‘Good Life’ which unashamedly breathes gusto into the well-played track with sweet sounding horns and a healthy dose of rhythm drums to get the foot tapping from the get-go. You won't miss Ebony Vibe Everlasting for a second.

With other covers such as Seven Nation Army and Karma Police, the East London lot sound their take on popular hits of yester-year to astonishing results. Trumpets, saxophone and tuba provide startling renditions negating the need for vocals and assuring the listener of a very enjoyable audible treat from this much maligned discipline. It’s not as if brass bands draw much of a crowd these days is it? But with the subtly crafted Liberian Girl and racier Misirlou from Pulp Fiction, this is pitched at a level which ought to change that.

I wonder whether the ensemble are limited in their approach by their very being, however it’s best not to dwell on such things and sit back and soak up a high tempoed and well finished re-introduction for those that pigeon hole brass bands as being intertwined with American High School sports games and nowhere near as enlightening, funk-riddled and toe bouncing as this. They’re clearly going to be a treat live and with a residency at East London’s Rich Mix, you can go and see for yourself.

Timelessly accessible and wonderfully crafted, it should be great entertainment for all age groups and it would be nice to see them catch on quick so they’re given the encouragement they demand. - Music News.Com/Ben Hillman


"Brassroots"

If you still harbour nightmares about your high-school marching band, snap out of it. Brassroots' self-titled debut, recorded in London, puts brass back up where it belongs. The band consists of Jerome Harper and Thom Wooley on trombones, Achilleas Anastasopoulos and Charlie Shuttler on trumpets, Charly Richardson on sax, David Aird on tuba, Graham Fox and Craig Boorman on percussion

From the classic black and white photographed cover to it’s diverse assortment of tracks, each heralding a unique story, ‘Brassroots’ delivers an exciting jazz-funk experience.

Globe-trotting Jerome Harper, born in New York, raised in Texas and now a favourite on the London music scene, executive produced and provided most of the arrangements – many which were originally executed by pop and rock vocalists.

According to Harper, "I thought the flow of the album was crucial as they are all covers. We are quite a young band but had been asked to do some pretty big festival shows – Brassroots used the CD to promote ourselves to the huge crowds. We decided to just record covers on the EP and then release our first original as a single, which is coming soon by the way."

"This CD really means a lot to me because it represents what Brassroots are capable of when we really buckle down and decide to work together as a group. I’m extremely lucky to work with a group of incredible musicians and arrangers that take so much of the hard work off of me that I’m unable to," he adds.

The tracking order was deliberately thought through – mellow, strong, melodious, funky - ‘Liberian Girl’ was the final single from Michael Jackson’s ’87 album ‘Bad,’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ was off alt.rock the White Stripe’s’ release ‘Elephant.’ And ’Karma Police’ was drawn from Radiohead’s ‘Ok, Computer’ album.

But, ‘Misirlou’ has it’s own history. This Greek word references a ‘Muslim-Egyptian woman’ of "cross-faith." It was first performed by Michalis Patrinos in 1927. But, in 1941, Greek-American composer Nick Roubanis popularized it as a jazz instrumental arrangement

Though it’s been played numerously at world-wide celebrations since then, ‘Brassroots’ puts its own twist on this standard – making the oriental-tinged ‘head’ just a little more salsa-inflected and bringing the underlying party theme upfront with a resounding chorus from the players.

‘Gemini Rising’ has an irresistible melodic line and the ‘Good Life’ immediately shows off the ensemble’s ability to work side by side. Percussion overall is tempestuous when necessary and courteously respectful when the brass steps it up.

Though the seven-track CD is purely instrumental, there’s somehow a temptation to sing along. Maybe it’s because, though the arrangements are highly-textured, rich and often comical – there’s a spaciousness that exists here – even when several lines occur simultaneously. The resulting ensemble work is concise, creatively punchy and devoid of prima dona preponderance.

I expected a sad ballad at some point, but was actually happy that none appeared. ‘Brassroots’ is a happy, spirited album and anything melancholic would have been a definite buzzkill.
- Pennyblack Music/Lisa Torem


Discography

Brassroots released a self produced 7-track EP of covers in September of 2009.
The album has since enjoyed radio plays on BBC Radio 1 with Rob da Bank, BBC Kent with Sean Rowley, and KCRW in LA with Jeremy Sole.
The band has recently begun to get regular airplay in Chicago, New York, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Brazil!

Photos

Bio

Brassroots was formed late in the Autumn of 2008 among the streets of East London. The band is an 8- piece horn and percussion ensemble comprised of an impressive groove and energy charged group of musicians from a variety of different countries and backgrounds including England, Israel, France, Greece and America.
Eager to establish a flourishing brassband scene in London, Brassroots quickly set about bringing unbelievable REAL, LIVE instrumental sound back into mainstream music by presenting pop music in a unique and challenging format. The group has also been featuring and collaborating with vocalists, MC's and DJ's recently which has proved highly successful and effective in bringing yet another exciting aspect to their shows.
The group has presented knock-out shows to sold out audiences at Scala King's Cross, Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Festibelly, and Bestival.

The group currently holds a residency at Rich Mix, East London's newest and diverse venues and had recently been seen as the house band on the final episode of Ultimate Big Brother (UK) as recently as September 10, 2010!
This catapulted them onto an international stage and presented the the opportunity to back up hip hop royalty Coolio on his mega hit Gangtas Paradise live a couple of days after the show at the Big Brother wrap party.
Going to a Brassroots show has been described as the soundtrack to a massive night out to be talked about for ages.
Brassroots realizes another level sort of flavor of the brass band genre by pulling it kicking and screaming into a more contemporary and relevant light.
In the end, all else said, there's really only one way to find out.