The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (HBE), a band comprised of eight brothers, all sons of Sun Ra trumpeter and songwriter Phil Cohran, have been playing since they were three years of age and have inherited a lineage deeper than most bands will ever attain. Raised on the south side of Chicago, their musical heritage is rooted in their genes. They have brothers and sisters that are professional musicians, their mothers are singers and their father, Phil Cohran, a legendary visionary and teacher has music experiences from the 1940s in St. Louis to his seminal role with Sun Ra in Chicago in the 1950s.
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As Sun Ra moved to the east coast in 1960, Cohran stayed behind in Chicago to be with his family. As his children grew, Cohran worked as a musical activist and educator, which led to the establishment of the Sun Ark in a warehouse behind their family home. At night while the children slept, they would hear their father rehearsing with his band the 'Circle of Sound.' At six in the morning, they were awoken to practice music for several hours before going to school. From an early age they were a central part of their father's Youth Ensemble. At night they listened to NWA and Public Enemy, and Ice Cube and Eazy-E were their heroes.
By the end of the nineties, with everyone out of school, they concentrated on their music full time. With a mix of their jazz roots and their hip-hop sensibility, they made a living for themselves on the streets of Chicago. While performing on a subway platform, they stumbled upon their name when a man who watched them for hours, missing train after train, proclaimed that he has been "hypnotized" by their music. With their composer skills aiding them to create a sound wholly their own, the group moved to New York City where they played with Mos Def and Erykah Badu.