Phil Cohran was born eighty-five years ago in Mississippi. In the mid-50s he moved to Chicago and was invited to join Sun Ra’s Arkestra. "With Sunny," Cohran simply says, "I found my own voice." You can hear its emergence on Angels And Demons At Play, recorded in 1960, where Cohran’s zither is the magic ingredient of tracks like "Music From The World Tomorrow." When Sun Ra moved east in 1961, Cohran stayed in Chicago, founding the Affro-Arts Theater, and recording with the Artistic Heritage Ensemble for his own Zulu Records. He also raised a large family: eight of them are the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. For each of them, their first teacher was their father, who famously insisted on giving them music lessons not just for several hours after school, but for several hours before school as well. Their father’s music was all around them as children; they all vividly remember lying in bed at night not being able to sleep because their father was rehearsing with the Jazz Workshop downstairs. For the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the voyage to where they are now has been fuelled by their father's teaching, by the example of his life, and above all by his music. "Frankincense And Myrrh" has long been a regular part of their set. "Alyo" — the opener on their first HJ's album — is a Cohran composition celebrating the lead dancer in his band. So this album is for all of them a natural step. Recorded in Chicago in June 2011 (by R. Kelly's engineer), the idea was beautifully simple — "my music and their band," as Phil puts it, "we don’t have to rattle on more than that."
- Music Label: Honest Jon's 2012
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 06/2012