Here come The Heavyweights...

This Thursday, March 6, we're pleased to support The Heavyweights Brass Band's CD release concert at Lula Lounge as part of our TDJ Special Projects initiative.

The Heavyweights Brass Band is, simply put, one of the most energetic, exciting bands you can see playing in Toronto. They first came onto my radar back in 2011 - I was invited to see them play at The Painted Lady, a small venue on Toronto's happening Ossington strip. It didn't take me - and the others squished into the space that night - to be bopping along to the music being made on stage: fun and creative arrangements of anything from St. James Infirmary to "Baby" by Bieber. (Yes, that Bieber.) I've since booked them a few times, in a few different settings, and they are always engaging - at last year's TD Toronto Jazz Festival, they convinced the audience to follow them on an impromptu march around Nathan Phillips Square.

Although The Heavyweights are inspired by the New Orleans brass band tradition, their repertoire is far from stuck in the 1920's and 30's. I especially like hearing their interpretations of modern tunes in a variety of genres - they list pop hits of the day, R&B, funk and the rhythms of Latin America as their various influences. Of course, it takes a talented bunch of musicians to pull off this range of styles; The Heavyweights are some of the busiest musicians on the local jazz scene, playing regularly in every style they list as an influence. As a result, the music feels particularly genuine, and particularly tight - everyone understands the feel of the style in which they play. Here's a fun version of "Why Can't We Be Friends."

With Brasstronomical, their new CD, The Heavyweights are taking what I think is an exciting step - a step which should prove they are so much more that just a funky cover band. Brasstronomical, to be released on Thursday at Lula Lounge, features primarily original compositions and (not that they need the help) a raft of outstanding guest artists: Jane Bunnett, Jay Douglas, Luis Orbegoso, Giovanni Hidalgo and Robi Botos. I haven't heard it yet, but it's sure to be a good one. Here's a video EPK for the new CD:

Thursday's show is going to be a party. Joining The Heavyweights (John Pittman and Jon Challoner, trumpets; Paul Metcalfe, tenor sax; Chris Butcher, trombone; Rob Teehan, sousaphone; Lowell Whitty, drums) will be Jay Douglas, Jane Bunnett and Luis Orbegoso; DJ General Eclectic spins between sets and community brass band Street Brass opens up.

The party starts at 8 pm at Lula Lounge. For complete details, visit their concert page. And, for details on a unique school give-away they've organized for the event, check The Heavyweights website.


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