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Say "Hello" to The Lucky Chops Brass Band
"Ladies and Gentlemen...we are The Lucky Chops from New York City, and we are here to party!"
And with that declaration, The Lucky Chops begin another lively set. The six members of this high-energy brass band play as though their amplifiers are all set to eleven. However, you won't find stacks of Marshall amps on this stage. Their music is amplified by sheer lung power and positive energy. Whenever they begin to play, crowds respond enthusiastically to the sounds of a band playing extremely loud, extremely well, and having an extremely good time doing it.
Creating a contemporary sound with just the use of brass and reed instruments (and rock-solid drums), this group of dedicated and highly proficient musicians creates upbeat and joyfully infectious music. This band loves to play, and they insist on everyone in the crowd enjoying themselves as much as they enjoy making the music happen. The minute these guys begin to play, the crowd is swept up into their passion and energy and their belief that music is therapeutic and can allow you to forget your troubles, just dance and be happy.
Born in Brooklyn
Lucky Chops was formed in 2006 by a group of students from LaGuardia High School in Lincoln Center, New York (the famous 'Fame' school), occasionally getting together to perform at local weddings, parties, and the streets and parks of New York City. The band really learned to develop their skills while playing in the New York subways, finding a steady stream of faithful fans along the way. After a South American tourist's cell phone video of one of their subway performances went viral, more and more people began discovering their music. Slowly but surely, they are becoming a worldwide phenomenon, with passionate fans from around the globe begging them to bring their energetic and empowering sound to their countries.
Having just completed a successful European tour, the band has now returned to their New York roots, where they will still occasionally get together to perform at their favorite busking spots in the busy underground subways when time permits; their loud and captivating sounds reverberating through the subway, bringing a few moments of joy to those hurrying to catch the next train. They can now only play certain stations, as the crowds have become bigger and more passionate about hearing these guys play in a live setting. They now have a residency at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory, where more people are being given the opportunity to be a part of the energetic sound that pulls you in and lifts your spirits.
It's an unusual success story, as most contemporary music these days consists of overly produced and highly manipulated electronic sounds provided for carefully-selected pop stars, lip-syncing their way through slick and carefully choreographed productions.
The Lucky Chops are a throwback to the time when being a musician meant learning an instrument and being able to play it well. The six members of this band are all accomplished musicians who not only play well, but play well enough to take turns soloing and many times improvising as the music obviously brings out their own love and joy of playing. Many young people these days are unfamiliar with this type of talent and performance. However, reading the comments from the ever-growing number of YouTube videos that their fans are posting and commenting on definitely indicates that this is the kind of music that true music fans have all been craving.
The Boys in the Band
The members of this band are all unique and eclectic performers. Josh Holcomb (one of two Joshes in the band) acts as the ringleader, pumping up the crowd between each song, and occasionally shouting out cues to the other members. Josh plays the trombone like a weapon, blasting away at the jaded and indifferent listener and creating a full, rich tone that really brings out the melody in a song...
Leo Pellegrino, the baritone saxophonist, plays with an infectious passion and power that makes the instrument create sounds that screech, howl and explode in fantastic runs of musicality, with his playing usually accompanied by his wildly original and energetic dance moves. Take a look at this video featuring the band and watch Leo do his thing...
Daro Behroozi, the tenor sax player, brings a soulful and spiritual sound to the group that also suggests other cultures and musical influences. It's no wonder why so many people from all over the world love these guys and their music. Music truly is the universal language, and these guys know how to hit all the right notes.
The trumpet player is the other Josh. Having played trumpet in school, I can attest to the fact that hitting some of the notes with the strength and power that Joshua Gawel possesses is incredible. These guys all have sets of iron lungs that allow them to shine on their own, and yet compliment one another at the same time.
Providing the much-needed bass sound to the band is Raphael Buyo, the one who originally got the band together. Labored with carrying and playing the sousaphone, the largest and heaviest instrument, Raphael and drummer Kevin Congleton provide a strong foundation for the band to groove to. It's not unusual for this six-man band to smoothly transition from an original composition into instantly recognizable classic tunes like Eye of the Tiger, Funkytown, or the band's big crowd pleaser, I Feel Good.
You can't help but feel good listening to these guys. And in a time of such stress and unrest around the globe, it's no wonder that so many people are discovering them at this time, hoping that these ambassadors of good will and positive energy might come to their town and bring some of that spirit-lifting, soul-healing sound to their corner of the world.
In the meantime, we all can enjoy their fantastic music anytime we want online.
This video puts you front and center at one of their recent SXSW appearances...
2016 SXSW Performance - Austin, TX
Lucky Chops NYC: 10-Tracks Featuring:
- My Girl
- I Want You Back
- I'm Not The Only One
- Funkytown/I Feel Good