Prairie Pops 

Hot 8 Brass band
Two and a half stars
Conner Prairie; Aug. 15-16

An Evening with New Orleans’ Own Hot 8 Brass Band” attracted a significant portion of the audience to the dance floor adjacent to the stage. Playing their own versions of traditional and contemporary brass band music and connecting with the audience in their signature style of in-your-face patter, this group expanded this reporter’s ear and eye beyond the expected New Orleans jazz style. Their singing and playing both bypassed harmonic strutting and soul-searching licks to instead opt for vocal cacophony and somewhere-over-the-brink instrumental solos. The style seems to be “new” New Orleans for a group founded by sousaphonist Bennie “Big Peter” Pete, who “previously played with the Looney Tunes” and whose influences include Tuba Fats, Keith Anderson and Leroy Jones. Special attractions at New Orleans night included food tastings from Yats and J Gumbo, along with World Class Beverages presenting beers by New Orleans brewery Arbita and jazz great Thelonious Monk, whose full-bodied brew helps support jazz education scholarships.

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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