Filed Under:

One Father, Eight Sons, Nine Shiny Brass Bells

Over the course of 85-year-old Kelan Phil Cohran's long career as an avant-garde jazz trumpeter, he's toured the world, performing with everyone from Sun Ra to Sarah Vaughan.

When not on the road, Cohran has worked as a music educator, teaching music in schools and prisons, and to his own children.

His passion seems to have stuck — especially in the family. Eight of his sons form the heart of a group called The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, which has toured with The B-52's, Mos Def and Gorillaz.

On their latest album, Cohran's sons collaborate with their old man. Although Kelan Philip Cohran and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is their first collaborative release, the Cohran clan has a long history of making music together.

"Well, they all came up together, and we performed here in the Chicago area as Phil Cohran and the Youth Ensemble," Cohran tells NPR's Rachel Martin.

Cohran's son, Saiph "Cid" Graves, says his father was a demanding teacher. He says he remembers having lessons for hours before — and after — going to school. But he says that all the hard work has paid off.

"I have to be honest and say, as the musician, as the student, when we were children, we didn't like or understand the need for so much practice and rehearsal," Graves says. "But now, there's no horn players in the world touching our sound and what we can create, because we spent all that time working at it."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Aug. 4, 2015

You can see two exhibits and rub elbows with the artists behind the work.
WAMU 88.5

The Surprising Roots of Barbecue

We speak with culinary historian Michael Twitty about the roots of familiar southern dishes in African and Native American food traditions.

WAMU 88.5

President Obama's Iran Speech

Veteran journalist Marvin Kalb joins us to discuss the parallels between JFK's nuclear disarmament speech fifty years ago and President Obama's speech on the nuclear deal with Iran.

NPR

Sexist Reactions To An Ad Spark #ILookLikeAnEngineer Campaign

After being surprised by online responses to her appearance in a recruiting ad, engineer Isis Wenger wanted to see if anyone else felt like they didn't fit a "cookie-cutter mold."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.