New Orleans’ own Hot 8 Brass Band performs Saturday, June 23, 8 p.m., at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.
TARPON SPRINGS – New Orleans’ own Hot 8 Brass Band performs Saturday, June 23, 8 p.m., at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.
The concert will wrap up a day’s worth of events celebrating New Orleans music and culture. Tickets for the concert are $26 for adults and $23 for members and students. Call 942-5605 or visit www.tarponarts.org.
The Big Easy will come to Tarpon Springs June 23 with plenty of hot jazz and jambalaya. Three events highlight New Orleans signature jazz sound, culture and cuisine.
The day kicks off with a light breakfast at 10 a.m., at the Citizens Alliance for Progress Inc., in the Union Academy Family Center, 401 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. In addition to breakfast, beads and other parade trinkets will be available.
At 11 a.m., a traditional “second line” flash parade forms at the Citizen’s Alliance for Progress Center, proceeding slowly to the Tarpon Springs Library, 138 E. Lemon St. Hot 8 Brass Band will lead the parade.
As is customary, parade watchers may follow the slow-moving band down the street or watch from the sides of Lemon Street. The band will finish the parade at the Tarpon Springs Library with more jazz and children’s activities.
By participating in the parade, attendees will learn about this fascinating tradition that is descended from New Orleans’ famous jazz funerals.
According to a history of the second line, provided by Hot 8 Brass Band, the parades have evolved from the city’s famous jazz funerals and, apart from a casket, mourners and a cemetery visit, they carry many of the same traditions with them as they march down the streets.
“Today, the parades are not tied to any particular event, holiday or commemoration; rather, they are generally held for their own sake and to let the good times roll,” the history explains.
Second lines developed in the19th century and were established by fraternal societies and neighborhood organizations that collectively provided insurance and burial services to members, especially among the African American community.
Originally, the “first line” of a funeral procession was made up of the people who were an integral part of the ceremony, including friends and family of the deceased and members of the club or krewe. The “second line” referred to people who joined the procession because they were attracted to the music.
During a conventional procession, the band led mourners to burial ground, playing a dirge to symbolize life’s hardships and the grief of loss. On the way back, the music became more joyful as relatives, friends, and acquaintances celebrated of the life of the deceased. The second line of traditional jazz funerals held umbrellas and handkerchiefs and danced with wild abandon.
Hot 8 Brass Band will echo these same traditions as they march down the streets of Tarpon Springs.
Following the parade, crafts, games and refreshments will be available at the library. Also in celebration of this event, Pinellas County residents who sign up for a new library card between June 12 and June 19 will be automatically entered in a prize drawing to win tickets to the Hot 8 Brass Band concert. A card issued at Tarpon Springs Public Library may be used at any member library of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative. Prize drawings and new library cards are open to Pinellas County residents who are first-time card registrants with photo identification and proof of current Pinellas County address, such as a valid Florida driver’s license, voter's registration or utility bill. Children 13 and younger must have their applications signed by a parent or legal guardian.
Concert and food tasting
Later in the day, Hot 8 Brass Band performs at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. The concert will include a tasting of traditional Cajun dishes starting at 7 p.m. Concert ticket-holders will enjoy samples of authentic Cajun jambalaya, courtesy of Zante’s café. Hot 8 Brass Band will take the stage at 8 p.m.
Hot 8 Brass Band
According to the band’s official biography, New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band has epitomized New Orleans street music for more than a decade.
The band performs weekly traditional second line parades, hosted by Social Aid and
Pleasure Clubs, infusing their performances with the funk and energy that makes New Orleans music loved around the world. The band mixes hip-hop, jazz and funk styles.
According to the band’s record label, Tru Thoughts, Hot 8 Brass Band was founded in 1995 by tuba player Bennie Pete, trombonist Jerome “Bay Bay” Jones and drummer Harry “Swamp Thang” Cook. While many of the band’s current members began playing together in high school, over time the lineup has changed, and continues to evolve. Practically any incarnation of Hot 8 Brass Band boasts up to eight or nine players, playing brass band music through a bevy of trombones, saxophones, trumpets, snare and bass drums.
“What makes the Hot 8 so special are the sounds they coax from their well-loved, well-worn instruments,” the biography says. “An evening with the Hot 8 is like no other.”
Members of the Hot 8 Brass Band have toured in Japan, Italy, France, Spain, Finland, England and Sardinia. The band performs each spring at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and at jazz festivals across the United States and Europe. Members of the band have been featured in the Spike Lee documentaries “When the Levees Broke” and “If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise.”
The band also was featured in the second season of the HBO series, “Tremé.” They recently appeared at The Apollo with Dr. John, Lou Reed, Nicolas Payton and others for the annual Great Day in Harlem. The Hot 8 has released three critically acclaimed recordings and is featured on the latest Blind Boys of Alabama recording on Time-Life Records.
The Hot 8 Brass Band has been part of an important relief project following Hurricane Katrina. SAVE OUR BRASS! is a local grass-roots project that has brought music and instruments to shelters, temporary trailer parks, and communities across the Gulf Coast.