The 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival (http://mkefilm.org) started with a large opening night party featuring eight-piece Chicago-based Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. This performance was particularly exciting for party-goers as the film festival had three screenings of a documentary about the band, entitled "Brothers Hypnotic." This documentary (part of Sound Vision program) has its final screening on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 5:15 p.m. at the Fox Bay Cinema-Grill.
One of the things that makes Hypnotic Brass Ensemble unique and documentary-worthy is that they are all brothers. Each of the eight members of the band (Hudah, Cid, LT, Baji, Yosh, Clef, Smoove, and Rocco) are sons of jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran, and subsequently grew up surrounded by music. They took lessons from their father and formed a children's ensemble under his tutelage. The majority of the documentary focuses on their relationship as a whole with their father, where they follow in his footsteps, and where they become their own separate unit. While one might assume that the main point of contention is a point of creative, musical differences, but there's also a vast supply of philosophical material addressed. The film does a great job of following Hypnotic Brass Ensemble's journey as a developing band as well as how these developments affect their father.
When they got away from me they didn't get the real sense of my philosophy.
One particular point of conflict in the documentary is the brothers' agreement with their father in standing by their principles and not (in their case) sign to a major record label who would control and change their image. A lot of time is spent explaining why they don't want to sign to a major record label and how they want to play for the love of music instead of money, but the film falls short when they finally do decide to sign a record label. They released some records and went on tours independently, and the film shows their decision process in turning down past record labels, but it doesn't cover their process in deciding to finally join a label.
It's your responsibility to find your eternity on this earth.
However, this shortcoming in the documentary may go unnoticed by viewers because of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble's incredible sound. The film showcases their high-energy performances from the streets of New York to a festival stage supporting Prince. Between the many cuts, closeups, and varying angles, the film impeccably captures the energy and excitement elicited from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble's music. They utilize a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and more, creating "now music" (or "hypnotic") that you can't help but bounce to, as seen both in the film and during the opening night party. "Brothers Hypnotic" is the second best thing one can get to actually seeing Hypnotic Brass Ensemble perform live.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble's latest album "Bulletproof Brass" is available now. For more information on "Brothers Hypnotic", visit http://www.hypnoticbrassfilm.com/. For more information about The Milwaukee Film Festival, visit http://mkefilm.org.