by Robert Bell
HOT 8 BRASS BAND
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $15.
Ask a music lover from New Orleans about the city's best brass bands, and in addition to Rebirth, Stooges, Dirty Dozen and probably a few others, you'll undoubtedly hear about how great The Hot 8 Brass Band is. I've not had the pleasure of watching those other bands, but in summer of 2006 I did get to see the Hot 8 absolutely smoke a roomful of people, many of whom just could not seem to figure out how to dance to that beat. That might be because it was at a convention for public radio fundraisers. But they were having a blast trying anyway.
As has been pointed out by many others, The Hot 8 have faced a great deal of adversity since the band was founded by Bennie Pete in 1995. Trombonist Demond Dorsey died of a heart attack. Trumpeter Jacob Johnson was found shot in his home in 1996. In 2004, trombone player Joseph Williams was shot by police in disputed circumstances. In 2006, trumpeter Terrell "Burger" Batiste nearly died in a car accident, which cost him the use of both legs. Snare drummer Dinerral Shavers, who was interviewed in Spike Lee's documentary "When the Levees Broke," was murdered in December 2006.
But the band has kept at it, touring the world and releasing albums on the U.K. label Tru Thoughts. In addition to the band, Joshua, of Velvet Kente, will do DJ sets. This show will probably go down as one of the most raucous nights in White Water Tavern history, so don't skip it.