Approaching his eighty fifth birthday, sharp and lean, Kelan Philip and eight of his children - who form the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - have produced an invigorating and all embracing self-titled record.
A Mexican hill town; an Illinois state prison where Cohran taught inmates in the 1960s; heavenly Cambodian dancers; a tribute to a sixteenth century Venetian musicologist. Welcome to the musical world of Kelan Philip Cohran. For the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the voyage to where they are now – whether tearing up festivals, touring with Gorillaz, or recording their first album on Honest Jon's – has involved a necessary stepping away from their father's shadow. Phil Cohran is the first to recognise this, happily allowing their sound – heavy on the funk, with the urgency of hip hop never far away – to blossom.
But likewise this album is for all of them a natural step. Recorded in Chicago in June 2011, the idea was beautifully simple – "my music and their band" as Phil puts it, "we don't have to rattle on more than that". This is music that plumbs the depths and rings with joy.
Phil Cohran was born in Mississippi and in the post-war years grew up in the jazz heartlands of St Louis, Kansas City and Chicago, where he played trumpet in various swing-groups with the likes of Clark Terry, Oliver Nelson, Jay McShann, John Gilmore before he was invited to join Sun Ra's Arkestra, with whom Cohran's voice emerged on the masterpiece LP 'Angels And Demons At Play' recorded in 1960. Cohran then performed with the Artistic Heritage Ensemble, recording the group for his own Zulu Records imprint. One of the gems of the Cohran discography is African Skies, with its lovely harp playing, commissioned by the Chicago Planetarium in 1993.
Cuernavaca / Stateville / Frankincense And Myrrh / Aspara / Ancestral / Spin / Zincali
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