Oct 15, 2012 - Air Force Hot Brass Band in a Free Concert!

         Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO Jason McIntosh calls the members of Hot Brass “some of the most professional musicians we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with – some really talented players. And, he adds, “They had such a great experience last time that they’re coming back.”

            Senior Airman Carmen Emborski, a Hot Brass vocalist, says she can’t wait to play Tulsa again. In fact, she wrote McIntosh, “We enjoyed the tour last year, and I’ve been looking forward to being back ever since.”

            “I think it’s pretty close to exactly the same time we were there last year,” Emborski says, “because we played the Jazz Hall, and then we played Oktoberfest, which is what we’re doing again this year. The show at the Jazz Hall will be a little different, though, because we’ll put in more of our jazz repertoire. We always like to not only pay tribute to the state we’re playing in, but also to the history of the place where we’re playing – and the Jazz Hall has a lot of history.”

            Working out of Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill., the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America serves a six-state region that runs from Michigan to Oklahoma. The collection of musicians stationed there includes a number of different ensembles -- from the 45-piece concert band to a seven-person pop group called Starlifter and the Midwest Woodwind Quintet -- each with a different repertoire.

            According to the group’s online bio, Hot Brass “offers a unique product sure to please music lovers of all types.   During a concert, you are likely to hear rock, funk, jazz, blues, soul, swing, and country, as well as the latest pop hits. Hot Brass defies conventional wisdom by thriving on diversity and creating a musical gumbo of genres to exploit each musician’s musical background.”

            That description is seconded by Emborski.

            Hot Brass, she explains, “is a 13-person contemporary Billboard band. We play the hits on the Billboard charts from the past 50 years, the songs that have gained great popularity. You’ll hear songs from everybody from Chicago and Tower of Power to Ray Charles and Katy Perry, We choose our music to reach the diverse population of the United States, all ages and all backgrounds. We bring the people’s music to the people; we play and sing for the American population.

            “At the Jazz Hall, they will honestly hear a little bit of everything,” she adds. “At this juncture, we are more slightly patriotically charged, because we’re asking people to be patriotic and get out and vote. We’ll honor the people who are serving their country right now, and we’ll honor the veterans in the audience. We want to inspire anyone who comes to see the show to be proud of their country.”

            True to its name, Hot Brass features a five-piece horn section, with two trumpets, a trombone, a saxophone, and, interestingly enough, a French horn.

            “I’ll bet you’ve never heard a rock ‘n’ roll French horn before have you?” Emborski asks, chuckling.

            The horns are augmented by a rhythm section with two electric guitars, an electric bass, drums, and piano,” and three vocalists, including Emborski herself. 

            In addition to playing a full slate of concerts in the six-state area served by the USAF Band of Mid-America, the group ventured well beyond the middle of the country to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa a few years ago. There, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, Hot Brass brought its distinctly American music to not only the U.S. servicemen and servicewomen stationed in those areas, but also to the local population – carrying “a message of good will to people of all ages,” according to the Band of Mid-America website.

            That’s not a lot different from what the members of Hot Brass plan to do at the Jazz Depot on a Thursday evening.

            “Our musicians are very flexible,” she says. “We’ll have some country, some soul, some Kelly Clarkson. No matter what their age, everybody will get something that they like.”           

            Hot Brass is set to take the stage Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St. Admission is free, but all patrons must have a ticket to be admitted. Those interested can get tickets at the Depot, by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609, or by visiting the USAF Band of Mid-America’s website at

            The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans through preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.