The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is a family band consisting of 7 blood brothers trained in musical instrumentation since the tender ages of 4 & 5 by their father, jazz trumpeter/band leader Kelan Phil Cohran (EARTH, WIND, & FIRE. CHAKA KHAN. SUN RA) who subsequently formed the PHIL COHRAN YOUTH ENSEMBLE (1990) composed of his children that had now become proficient in their musical presentation. The family toured the United States performing the complex original written jazz compositions of Cohran and other greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, even classical Bach & Beethoven. Although the group’s early musical training encompassed primarily elements of instrumental performance, the brothers were personally being exposed to the music of their own generation (hip-hop, rock, reggae to name a few) and absorbed these components into the cosmic jazz style of their father. By 1999, the band of brothers discontinued playing with dad in order to find their own sound and started going by the name of HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE.
In 2001 HBE independently cut and released their first LP “ Satin “ (for which they received an American Author’s Award). Using street performing as way to broaden their audience and hone their famed & distinctive sound, they enjoyed grass roots success garnering over 50,000 sales nationwide. Around this time, Island DEF JAM offered Hypnotic Brass a feature collaboration with renowned producer NO ID (mentor to Kanye West) & GHOSTFACE KILLAH (Metal Lungees:Pretty Toney album 2003) as well as an accompanying artist /in-house band recording contract. Deciding to hold out for something better, HBE turned down the Def Jam agreement and moved to New York City following the release of their second LP “Jupiter” which caught the ear of BLUR lead DAMON ALBARN resulting in UK distribution by his imprint Honest Jons. By now “the brothers’ musical style had blossomed and come into its own” as mentioned in the Lily Koppel NEW YORK TIMES article covering the band’s indie success, but the group’s sound was best put by FADER magazine’s Edwin Stats “a huge brass bridge of hypnotic polyphony connecting the cosmic jazz of Sun Ra’s Arkestra with the urgency of hip-hop and the sweeping emotional scale of a Curtis Mayfield blaxploitation opus.” Shortly after, HBE’s live show was caught by hip-hop emcee/actor Mos Def and the brothers joined with him onstage and began touring as the MOS DEF BIG BAND (including Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, Casey Benjamin) gracing stages from JAZZ STAGE at LINCOLN CENTER to SHEAPHERD”S BUSH in London. At the same time Hypnotic Brass Ensemble itself inked an outfitting deal with Dutch denim giant GSTAR RAW, and began their foray into international touring with a Europe trip featuring headlining performances at NORTH SEA JAZZ fest, BREAD & BUTTER BARCELONA, and the GOOD THE BAD THE QUEEN Victoria Park. Scheduling conflicts led to the eventual disintegration of the MOS DEF BIG BAND but the band performed several shows since with Mos Def (YASIIN BEY) on vocals front-stage.
By 2008 Hypnotic Brass had performed their original tunes in every corner of the world to audiences as big as 110,000 (GLASTONBURY. ROSKILDE) and premiere music venues around the world (RONNIE SCOTTS LONDON. SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE. CARNEGIE HALL NYC), all accomplished by their self-manned staff and clever partnerships. HBE took a trip to Africa (LAGOS) with Damon Albarn & Africa Express and the result was a full LP recorded upon return to London and released under UK Honest Jons in 2009 (which later featured a song “WAR” on blockbuster movie HUNGER GAMES), HBE signed on with THE AGENCY GROUP and set out to blow away audiences at WOMAD AU: BIG CHILL: NOVARRA JAZZ: BERMUDA JAZZ FEST: PERCPAN in Brazil: POHODA in Czech Republic: COACHELLA: & many others.
The brothers were living in London when they recorded the GORILLAZ record with D.Albarn “WELCOME TO PLASTIC BEACH” and joined the “Plastic Beach 2010” world tour upon its release performing alongside BOBBY WOMACK: MICK JONES from the CLASH: DE LA SOUL: & SNOOP DOGG. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble gave their signature dose of hard brass to every audience on the 4 month international tour and earned a spot backing up PRINCE at the NEW POWER GENERATION FEST in Denmark the next year, coming personally requested by THE ARTIST himself. Since then HBE has grown into an even newer sound with their latest efforts “BulletProof Brass” & “FLY” released by their very own imprint PHEELCO ENTERTAINMENT. They are now gearing up to release a new installment entitled “Bad Boys Of Jazz” …