(Posted March 27, 2017)

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble performs at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 6, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.
The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble performs at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 6, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The effect of the funky horns of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is anything but sleep-inducing. The nine-piece band will perform such hits as “What It Is” and “City Livin’” in concert at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 6, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

            Most bands refer to themselves as a “band of brothers,” but the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble really is a band of brothers. Seven siblings comprise the bulk of the band, which has been together since 1999. The related band members are the sons of Kelan Phil Cohran, a trumpeter who played with Earth Wind & Fire and Chaka Khan.

            Phil Cohran started his family off with music lessons when the boys reached age 4 or 5 and he took the brothers on the road in 1990 as the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble.

            The band decided to stop touring with their father in order to find a unique sound and approach to band music. The started playing the subways and elevated platforms of Chicago. In 2001, the band released an album “Flip Side,” and followed it up with the album “Jupiter.”

            Eventually the band was asked to perform as part of the rapper Mos Def’s big band and in 2008 the band finished a world tour that included performances at some of the most famous music festivals in the world. The group’s influential single “War” was included on the soundtrack for the film “The Hunger Games.”

"The world's funkiest marching band one minute, an unhinged New Orleans funeral procession the next."

Los Angeles Times

            Since recording that hit single, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble has recorded two albums, “Bulletproof Brass,” and “Fly.” They will soon release a new album titled “Bad Boys of Jazz.”

The band’s musical influences include jazz, funk, rock and hip hop. The group calls its sound “hypnotic.”

They have recorded or backed some of the most sought-after musicians of the time, including Erykah Badu, Ghostface Killah, Childish Gambino, Maxwell, Wu Tang Clan and the late Prince.

The band members are: trumpeters Gabriel Hubert, Amal Baji Hubert, Jafar Baji Graves and Tarik Graves; trombonists Saiph Graves, Seba Graves; and baritone horn player Uttama Hubert. Two other members are not brothers: Hasim Bunch plays bass and Kevin Hunt plays guitar.

The band has been featured in a PBS “Independent Lens” documentary, “Brothers Hypnotic.”

A critic for the Los Angeles Times said the band is, “the world’s funkiest marching band one minute, an unhinged New Orleans funeral procession the next.”

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.