CD Reviews of "Brasstronomical"
"The Heavyweights Brass Band have come up with an incredible new album that is both classic and contemporary sounding. A big departure from their first release. One of the most exciting music projects on the Canadian music scene today."
Alex Cuba, Juno and Grammy award winner. (March 2014)
"Not since the Shuffle Demons bopped into the limelight has a young Toronto jazz band had as much impact on the local scene as the Heavyweights Brass Band."
"The album closes out with two tunes recorded live at Toronto's Koerner Hall, and they confirm this band especially shines in a live setting."
Exclaim (28 February 2014)
"If anything the singular voices of trumpeter Jon Challoner, trumpeter John Pittman, trombonist Chris Butcher, sousaphone player Rob Teehan and drummer Lowell Whitty are uniquely Canadian...with musical intellects that are ingenious and sometimes even brilliant."
"Brasstronomical is a sophisticated album, featuring the kind of intellectualism emerging from the former hi-jinks of a young band that has found its voice for good"
Latin Jazz Network (17 July 2014)
"Brass band music is gaining street cred with six raucous musicians "
Earshot (May 2014)
"The well-trained young cats in The Heavyweights Brass Band have made a splash locally with high-energy performances and strong debut CD Don't Bring Me Down. Sophomore outing Brasstronomical ups the ante, as it's an exuberant and musically eclectic collection from the horn-heavy sextet"
Kerry Doole, New Canadian Music (6 March 2014)
"That players of such exalted rank showed up to help out this bunch of young jazz cats is testimony to the respect that’s accrued to them in three short years. Overall, the material shows the band spreading the net wider and going further in the musical directions introduced on the debut album, and thereby yielding a clutch of bold and impassioned jazzified originals. All of which were totally well served by a lush, crisp and dynamic production which pulled off that most sought-after trick of combining precision studio values with the white-hot urgency and pumped-up energy of the band’s live shows"
Cashbox Canada (13 March 2014)
CD Reviews of "Don't Bring Me Down"
"... punchy, swinging music that conjures the street sounds of the French Quarter or Tremé...The quintet of young players works well, playing loose enough to do justice to the brass band sound and tight enough to showcase their musicianship. Butcher's trombone and Rob Teehan's sousaphone, staples of the genre, stand out." ***1/2 (out of four)
Chris Smith, The Winnipeg Free Press (3 September 2011)
"This debut disc deserves the extensive air time it’s garnered this summer. After all, who can resist a contemporary group showcasing a sousaphone, courtesy of Rob Teehan, especially if it’s not just occupying rhythmic roles? ...Trombonist Chris Butcher, trumpeter Jon Challenor and saxman Paul Metcalfe wail to great effect over tough, battering drums from Lowell Whitty."
Geoff Chapman, WholeNote (September 2011)
"The Heavyweights Brass Band are reinvigorating jazz music... Ambitious, exuberant performances crammed with heavy grooves and noteworthy solos are fresh and mature, even when interpreting classic pop and R&B songs in ways wholly original and no longer ubiquitous. "
Chris Burek, Exclaim! (22 August 2011)
"This spirited debut release by the Heavyweights Brass Band deftly mixes the diverse flavors of jazz, pop, funk, world beat, and more into an irresistible, multicultural musical feast. This accomplished Toronto-based quintet injects every track with an infectious sense of fun, excitement, and impeccable musicianship."
Bob Bernotas, host of “Just Jazz” (www.wnti.org)
"The Heavyweights Brass Band are poised to take it to the next level."
(Featured Release of the Week).
Jazz.FM (4 August 2011)
"...These guys sound like they just came of Chartes or Royal Street in NOLA.... If you are a fan of Rebirth you will love this. If you want to get off your butt and do some "second line"-ing around the room, this album will surely get you on to the dance floor. Just four more words to this review: I LOVE THIS ALBUM! " (5 stars out of 5)
Steve Ramm, "Anything Phonographic" (30 July 2011)
"Wish the average jazz gig felt a bit more like a dance party? Turns out that in the right hands, the sousaphone is actually funkier than slap bass."
Great Gigs for $5 or less
Now Magazine (17 November 2011)
"Heavyweights band puts the fun in funky to connect with fans"
Jazz gets kick in brass
Errol Nazareth, The Toronto Sun (1 September 2011) *feature article*
"No meat-strip dresses from the Hogtown hornists, just a tuba-humping cover of the Lady Gaga hit with a nice opening blast of polka."
Four songs you should be listening to
Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail (18 July 2011)
"The band’s (ironically) light approach to entertaining a crowd is winning them fans of all ages (“the reaction from young children has been explosive!”) and in the tradition of old-school swing bands, their infectious rhythms inspire even the stiffest audience members to dance"
Heavyweights hit David Pecaut Square
Ori Dagan, The Whole Note (June 2011) *feature article*
"...fresh, fun funk. The Heavyweights don't discriminate"
DB's Best Bets: May 19 - 25
Denise Benson, The Grid (19 May 2011)
"The Heavyweights made quite an impression at last year’s “Jazz Lives” show. I’m guessing that was a factor in their inclusion on this bill. Their take-no-prisoners bravado and energy grabs an audience & turns it into a seething waving sing-along crew in minutes."
[The Heavyweights Brass Band had] "people standing, clapping and screaming for an encore after the first set"
Jazzer's Journal (15 April 2013)
"Trombone Shorty’s set was preceded by hometown opening act The Heavyweight Brass Band. The innovative quintet got the evening off to a great start with their fresh take on the New Orleans style... Their music is a combination of classic and modern standards, originals penned by various members of the group and stylish arrangements of pop tunes and it’s lit up by their obvious enthusiasm for the genre along with impeccable chops."
Anya Wassenberg, Sway Magazine (17 Nov 2011)
"...it was the five-piece’s tight and pulsating grooves (courtesy of Teehan and Whitty) and precise brass leads and rhythms that kept the audience riveted."
Jacob Goguen, Cadence Canada (4 July 2011)
Online / Blog Articles
"The Heavyweights Brass Band has a musical and personable appeal that transcends generations and genres. I've seen them wow crowds that ranged from university kids to retirees with their fresh and energetic approach to the genre. There's an equal attention to musicianship and entertainment that results in their winning formula."
Art and Culture Maven (19 December 2011)
"These guys killed at their two Toronto Jazz Festival appearances...If you want to have a good time this weekend, they will not disappoint"
Best Chance to Dance
Tracey Nolan - Torontoist.com (15 July 2011)
"Apparently Canada has it's own Dixieland and it must be somewhere in Toronto... Just when you thought you couldn’t listen to another round of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”, the Heavyweights turn it on its ear and make it new again - by making it old.... We expect great things out of our northern neighbours."
The Heavyweights Brass Band Re-Imagines Beyonce
Tonall.com (5 May 2011)
"A stellar group of musicians... you will be knocked out by their infectious rhythms."
Moreen Murray, Jazz FM 91.1 (31 August 2010)
Testimonials and shout-outs
"@HeavyweightsBB Dope performance tonight fellas!!!"- James Poyser The Roots, D'Angelo, Erykah Badu
"The idea for this group is exactly what the creative music scene needs right now - an original, modern concept utilizing a classic instrumental line-up. The band performs a mash-up of originals, classic NOLA brass band repertoire and contemporary pop hits that share a consistent thread of quality, humour, virtuosity and fantastic collective improvisation. This is one of the coolest ideas for a band that I have heard in a long time." -Scott Morin, Manager - Nikki Yanosky, Molly Johnson, David Clayton Thomas; Former head of Verve Music Group / Universal Jazz Canada
"Blown away by this thoroughly fresh piece of cultural collaboration. Never heard anything like this before!" (re: "Nueva Orleans feat. Oggeure"). -Gilles Peterson, DJ, Record Collector/Producer, BBC Radio 1 Personality
"The Heavyweights Brass Band" is a breath of fresh air on the Toronto music scene and are destined for big things any minute now!" - Jaymz Bee, JAZZ.FM91
“Very exciting and inspiring. Not at all predictable, and great musicianship happening here!” ~ Alex Cuba
“The writing is top notch... this is take no prisoners funky groove music at its best with plenty to keep the ears happy while the butt shakes!” ~ Richard Underhill