CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. - Bourbon Street comes through the Crystal Bay Casino Friday when the Hot 8 Brass Band marches into the Crown Room for a free show starting at 10 p.m. Friday.The Hot 8, which sometimes has as many as 12 or 13 members, are a quintessential NOLA - New Orleans - band, the second line revelers with horns and drums who trail a jazz funeral parade."It's a musical representation of the city," said tuba player Bennie Pete, one of the founding members of the band that began in 1995.The band is like the Big Easy's inner city. It has suffered great tragedy but has an indefatigable spirit, celebratory in its jazz, arguably our nation's greatest cultural contribution.Several of the band's members have been murdered by way of gunfire, and they all have been hurt by Hurricane Katrina.The Hot 8 warmed up at home after it returned from a tour in Canada and before it headed out for a West Coast trip and more shows in Canada."The Super Bowl is here," Pete said. "We've got the great big palm trees in the middle of Canal Street leading people to the great Harrah's casino, and the restaurants are cooking barbecue and shrimp Etoufee and everything's wonderful on the outside, the tourist part of it. But on the inside, the community, they are not rebuilding it."While gun safety is a major topic, Pete said the No. 1 issue regarding public health is mental illness. A New York Times study revealed people with mental issues are 11 times more likely to be victims of violent crime."They cut funds," Pete said. "People need their medicine. People need someone they can talk to. Some of them will get murdered on the street because people are already dealing with crime and people are scared for their life and here comes someone needing their medicine. They don't know the difference. They're grabbing their gun for protection and shooting them."The Hot 8 have been featured on Spike Lee's documentary "When the Creek Don't Rise" and the HBO series "Trem." It has played with Mos Def, Lauryn Hill and Mary J Blige.A CD, "The Life And Times Of...' was released in November."This whole album is an international type of swing," Pete said. "We pay respect to influences on the road."The album closes with "War Time," a caveat to young bands which seek preeminence in the French Quarter: The Hot 8 is on the road a lot but remains second to none as the city's second line kings, representing 504 area code.Concert-goers will find the band members outgoing when the Hot 8 debuts at Crystal Bay, Pete said."We like to go out in the neighborhoods and get lost, find a nice pub or bar and mingle with people because that's what New Orleans is," he said. "We like meeting and greeting and hanging out. We've learned that people throughout the world are going through some of the same things we're going through. We've just had an opportunity, but it comes with a high risk."
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