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Gig Preview: Bombay Brass Readies the Pipes for EP Launch

The group will perform at Mumbai’s antiSOCIAL on January 22nd

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David Britto Jan 09, 2020

Mumbai-based instrumental band Bombay Brass. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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When instrumental horn outfit Bombay Brass played their first gig at the now-defunct Mumbai venue The Quarter, the group ran through a bunch of covers barring one original song. Now, the band – led by saxophonist Rhys Sebastian – is readying the release of their debut self titled four-track EP on January 22nd at the city-based antiSOCIAL.

So how did Sebastian manage to put together a band comprising some of the finest horn players in the country such as trombone player Ramon Ibrahim, trumpeter Robin Fargose and tenor saxophonist/flautist I.D. Rao? He says, “Over the last few years I’ve been performing a lot of retro Bollywood gigs and we [the brass section] sort of congregate quite often and we just really enjoyed hanging out together.” He adds, “I wanted to just write melodies that could feature the horns a little more as the front and lead element of a band really.”

Completing the lineup for Bombay Brass is also drummer Jehangir Jehangir, percussionist Vibhas Titu Rahul, guitarist Zohran Miranda, bassist Saurabh Suman, keyboardist Rahul Wadhwani, Indian flute player Avadhoot Phadke and sitar player Chirag Katti. On the musicians in the band, Sebastian says, “They are just wonderful people, excellent musicians and super professional and they really embody some of the values that I like to also build on. Basic things for me that I aspire to achieve like great temperament to deal with a lot of work for starters because everyone plays with different bands.”

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Sebastian tells us that the EP coming out will pack in strains from jazz, pop and funk and will have plenty of energy which will also come across in their live shows. “I’d like to keep this music very open to interpretation which is a beautiful thing about instrumental music,” he says.

With there being not too many big brass bands around the country, ask Sebastian if something like this could inspire young artists to pick up wind instruments and he says, “Of course, it would be great if there are more horn players and there are but it’s just that they are all doing different things. A lot of them are playing Maharashtrian folk music and Bollywood music.” 

While the band readies a wide-ranging set for their show at antiSOCIAL, Sebastian assures us the group has “definitely got legs to run a few more yards beyond this gig.” He says convincingly, “I feel it’s got some potential but I think the most important thing is the next gig for now.” If you’re all into the likes of artists such as American artist Trombone Shorty, Brooklyn-based jam band Snarky Puppy and funk/soul-jazz saxophonist Maceo Parker, then Bombay Brass is an outfit you shouldn’t miss.

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Click here to buy tickets for Bombay Brass live at antiSOCIAL in Mumbai on January 22nd.

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