Heavyweights Brass Band Brasstronomical

Heavyweights Brass Band Brasstronomical.jpg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute

On which the brashest, horniest bunch of guys who aren't in high school manage to keep that fresh feeling, despite a growing mainstream profile. This Toronto sextet seemingly came out lf nowhere three years ago with a hard punching, high energy debut album, Heavyweights Don’t Bring Me Down, which got them noticed outside the jazz world.

As befitting their hard hustlin’ vibe, the crew built on that with a slew of well-received shows to growing audiences, burnishing the crossover appeal with brassed-out versions of pop hits.

On Brasstronomical, the Heavyweights keep in touch with what got them there while stepping out on a selection of original compositions. Stylistically, they’re still leaning on the funk and the New Orleans backline traditions but as befitting a Toronto band, this is all filtered through the wash of diverse influences you can hear in any downtown T.Dot ‘hood.

So while "St. James Infirmary Blues" is delivered fairly straight up, with a classic style vocal; from Rob Teehan, the New Orleans styled “Booze Hounds.” gets the Toronto treatment courtesy of legendary R&B singer Jay Douglas and the blistering "Misterioso," features the iconic Jane Bunnett blazing away in synch with world class percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo on this AfroCuban via College St. album highlight.

That players of such exalted rank showed up to help out this bunch of young jazz cats is testimony to the respect that’s accrued to them in three short years. Overall, the material shows the band spreading the net wider and going further in the musical directions introduced on the debut album, and thereby yielding a clutch of bold and impassioned jazzified originals.
All of which were totally well served by a lush, crisp and dynamic production which pulled off that most sought-after trick of combining precision studio values with the white-hot urgency and pumped-up energy of the band’s live shows.

The Heavyweights Brass Band is trombonist Christopher Butcher, Rob Teehan on sousaphone, Paul Metcalfe on saxophones, Lowell Whitty on drums, Jon Challoner and John Pittman on trumpet.

Brasstronomical is the first album to be released on the newly formed Lulaworld Records operated by Lula Lounge, the West Side home base for Toronto's great live salsa, jazz, Brazilian, African, South Asian and other world musics.

You’ll be hearing lots from both band and label this summer.