After watching the box set of Treme
over Christmas, I was looking for more of the real music that is featured in that show - the kind of earthy, funky Jazz that only comes from that time and place. This is certainly the real deal - rough and ready, but sincere and genuinely joyful expressions of the spirit of New Orleans.
I don't know why they are called the Hot 8 as there are 11 or 12 musicians shown as being part of the band, as well as many guests mentioned! But anyone who has watched Treme, will know that this kind of band is fluid and is basically about whoever turns up on the gig. All the band member are both musicians and singers - the singing is enthusiastic but often out of tune - but this somehow adds authenticity to the sound, which is in no way about perfection, but more about everybody having a good time and dancing.
The music is always funky and dance-oriented, but there are also some nice arrangements and while "Sexual Healing" is no doubt the stand-out track, it's just part of a whole culture of "call and response" , borrowing melodies from anywhere and putting it all together like a musical collage. The sound is determined by the practicality of marching and moving about - all brass and drums, with tuba to the fore and a lot of snare drum. So, this group can play anywhere and march in outdoor parades - the basis of this music in New Orleans - whether for a carnival or a funeral, it's always on the move.
This album is a great introduction to the band, which has a distinctive sound that may be best heard live outdoors - but if you can't get to see them live, this will do nicely.