When I was twelve years old, in my final year of primary school, I took up playing the trumpet. The decision was kind of forced for me by the fact that my school had run out of saxophones for potential learners by the time I decided that I wanted to learn, so trumpet it was. However, as I became more familiar with the instrument, I developed an appreciation for it’s versatility and also for the joy of brass bands.
There is something infectiously compelling and enjoyable about listening to a brass band in full flow on stage, with the mix of positive and interesting instruments helping to create a marvellous live environment.
This post will attempt to introduce you to some of the best live jazz bands that I have had the pleasure of seeing.
Regarded as one of the best brass bands in Ireland at the moment, Booka Brass Band have developed into one of the most exciting live acts in the country at the moment. Formed in 2012 they have performed in some of the most esteemed venues across the country as well as festivals like Sea Sessions and Electric Picnic among others. It’ll be fun to watch them to continue to grow.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble were the first brass band that I ever saw in a live setting. The Chicago-based outfit are known for their energetic and ranging live shows and their innovative and experimental discography. The band are always willing to experiment with different genres and styles in their music and this leads to an unpredictable live experience that is a must see for music fans.
One of the big highlights of Indiependence 2017, Dublin group Stomptown Brass are another demonstration of why brass bands are one of the best live music experiences that you can have. Comprised of two drummers, two trumpets, a saxophone, two trombones, and a tuba, they are a riveted presence on stage and create an atmosphere at their gigs of fun and positive energy that is practically irresistible.
Since their inception, the New Orleans group have shared a stage with some of the biggest names in music, including Lauren Hill, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and numerous others. In a live setting the band have become known for their energy and willingness to integrate a variety of different musical genres into their sets as well as various covers of contemporary classics.