Raz Mataz is familiar with the Heavyweights’ live shows; you can check out a recap of their CD release party at the Lula Lounge on March 6 here.
It is always well worth the time watching the band, as not only are they all polished jazz players who bring superb musicianship to the stage, but they are also straight-out fun. Members will be laughing amongst each other in between solos, showing their support when one member breaks out, and everyone is given equal time to shine. There is a strong sense of camaraderie between the brass players and Lowell on drums. That shared fun they have on stage is infectious, spreading out to the audience, bringing everyone together. It is always just a great atmosphere when the Heavyweights are performing.
Last week, the Heavyweights mixed it up with sweet covers, such as ‘Just the Two of Us’, along with songs off their recently released Brasstronomical record, most notably the energetic, self-titled single. They also performed tracks off their first album, including ‘King of Pop’, which sampled ‘Beat It.’
Helping elevate the energy of the already energetic evening was Ogguere, who took the stage midway through the Heavyweights three sets. Ogguere is from Havana, Cuba, and he began to make waves in his home country in the mid-90s with his group, 100% Original. This was at a time when hip-hop was still trying to find a voice in the country. During that time, American MCs such as Mos Def, Common, and The Roots went to Cuba to perform and to raise the profile of conscious rap in the country, and Ogguere had the privilege of performing on stage with these artists. As part of that growing hip-hop movement, Ogguere is known as one of the pioneers of rap in Cuba.
Seeing an international artist of Ogguere’s calibre on stage – the MC having brought his Latin jazz and rap to Toronto’s cultural music scene in the mid 2000s – with The Heavyweights Brass Band is simply memorable. Together the Heavyweights and Ogguere performed such hits as ‘Coma Esta El Yogurt’ and ‘Nueva Orleans’. Ogguere rapped in both Spanish and English, grooving and swaying to the rhythm of the music. It is not too often you get to see Latin rap combined with the New Orleans jazz of The Heavyweights making the evening a definite night to remember.