The Crusader Newspaper Group

Two historic Chicago groups hold court at City Winery Chicago

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (HBE) is a family band consisting of seven blood brothers who began their musical training at the tender ages of four and five under their father, jazz trumpeter/band leader Kelan Phil Cohran of Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan and Sun Ra.

The brothers went on to form the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble in 1990. The family toured the United States performing the complex original written jazz compositions of Cohran and other greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and even the music of classical greats Bach and Beethoven. While the group’s musical training was primarily instrumental, the brothers were exposed to the music of their own generation such as hip-hop, rock and reggae and combined these elements with the cosmic jazz style of their father.

By 1999, the band of brothers discontinued playing with their dad to find their own sound, growing into the band now known as Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Together they have toured throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America playing with everyone from Prince, Mos Def, Mick Jones (The Clash) and Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz). They’ve performed at Coachella, WOMAD AU, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall.

The ensemble will perform at the City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., on Sunday, April 23, at 7 p.m. For information, visit

Soul Spectacular presented by The Chicago Soul Collective, Monday, April 24, at 8 p.m.

Years ago, I remember this song by Renaldo Domino called “Not Too Cool to Cry,” and this notice about a mix of Chicago Soul Stars appearing at the City Winery Chicago caught my eye.

If you love Aretha, Motown and Otis Redding, then The Soul Spectacular is the one show you can’t miss. A lineup of some of the best musicians in the Windy City, original 60’s soul stirrers, and some of the strongest new voices in Chicago come together to keep the Soul era alive.

Unknown 1
SAM TRUMP WILL perform as part of the Chicago Soul Collective.

This is no dashed-off tribute. It’s just people who love Soul music and are doing it right, with a 10-piece band guaranteed to make you groove again. Curated by Chicago director JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound founder Billy Bungeroth, this show features lost legend Renaldo Domino, Second City Mainstage powerhouse Rashawn Nadine Scott, SideWalk Chalk’s rising star Sam Trump, and more. Also unveiled will be original songs from Brown Girls’ web series director Sam Bailey’s new film, “A Voice In The Dark.”

Collectively this band boasts members who have performed all over the world backing up the likes of The Temptations, Otis Clay, Lee Fields, Barbara Lynn, The O’Jays, Naomi Shelton, Syl Johnson, and the cast of Empire, to name a few.

The Soul Spectacular will be hosted by and feature the comedy and music of Nightly Show comedian Felonious Munk.

The ensemble will perform at the City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., on Monday, April 24, at 8 p.m. For information, visit


Recent News

Scroll to Top