A Second line on a Monday night… in San Francisco? It sounds like a far fetched idea but it is possible when you are seeing the Hot 8 Brass Band! The band played a spirited hour and a half set at Yoshi’s in San Francisco Monday night to a happy crowd ready to rock out. If you have been to Yoshi’s in San Francisco or Oakland you know that it is a type of venue for the mellow seated jazz crowd. In the Hot 8 Brass Band’s case they almost demanded that the crowd give them some energy “Whatever you give to us we’ll give back to you,” hollered trumpet player Terrell “Burger” Batiste.” The band keep the crowd involved the whole night from call and response to calling out the folks in the back who had started their own parade in the back that eventually snaked around to the front of the stage. They played a nice well-rounded set of traditional New Orleans toe-tappers like “Feet Can’t Fail Me Now,” (Made famous by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band) and “When The Saints” to the well-appointed original piece “I Got You.” A piece Batiste described as a represented of New Orleans folks that are always there for each other.”Need a Drink? Need a dollar? The New Orleans response is always “I Got You.”
The band started in humble beginnings about 16 years ago founded by tuba player Bennie Pete, Jerome Jones, and Harry Cook. Most of the band members had been playing with each other since high school but it wasn’t until 1995 that they went professional playing second lines, parades, and clubs show all over New Orleans. The band had been gaining notoriety locally but it wasn’t until Hurricane Katrina hit that they became more of a household name. The band has been featured on Featured on CNN, Nightline, in the New York Times, and most notably in Spike Lee’s Katrina documentary “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.” The band endured the loss of several band members during and after the storm. They dedicated their time by helping others displaced by the storm by playing vacuee shelters, temporary trailer parks, and to communities throughout the US that have provided a temporary home to displaced New Orleanians.
The band has recommitted themselves to bring people together through their music. If you can believe a bunch of San Franciscans second lining in a small jazz club you can believe anyone can bond over such amazing music.