Marcus Lewis Big Band: Brass & Boujee  CD   (no label)

Release date: August 24, 2018

Bio: Brass & Boujee is a big band/hip hop album that has been recorded as the culmination of a series of performances of the same name. Led by Marcus Lewis, the Marcus Lewis Big Band, along with Kansas City emcees Kemet the Phantom (Kemet Coleman) & Kadesh Flow (Ryan J. Davis) , honor both jazz and the cultural path that it has carved for hip hop by fusing the two together in a way that has not yet been produced. While hip hop has always sampled jazz and modern greats such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have released albums that would seem more jazz influenced than otherwise, Lewis has taken the original music of two Kansas City emcees, arranged it for a full jazz ensemble that consists of world-class, Kansas City instrumental masters, and led performances in which the emcees actually rap and sing with the band. It is a milestone for both the jazz and hip hop genres, and it was born right here in Kansas City.

The inaugural “Brass & Boujee” live show took place on October 6, 2017 at Ruins Pub. Despite rushed promotion, the show saw hundreds attend and garnered interviews via outlets such as KCUR and KKFI. Some attendees described the performances as one in which they “finally heard the modern sound of Kansas City”. Buzz surrounding the evening led to further hallmarks, such as a University of Kansas sponsored, Black History Month show at The Granada in Lawrence.

This October, the big band/ hip hop combo opened for Janelle Monae at the Starlight Theatre as part of Open Spaces KC’s “The Weekend”. The fact that “Brass & Boujee” was able to garner such a lofty endorsement from one of the region’s premier institutions of higher learning is a testament to both the current cultural impact of this collaboration and the enormous potential to extend the reach of said influence beyond the Midwest.