The Brothers of Brass has its roots in the chance meeting and collaboration of two street performers on The 16th Street Mall in Denver, Colorado.
Khalil Simon started busking with his friends in Atlanta in 2014. They started from very humble roots, sharing horns, until they had saved enough money to get horns for everyone, and using public WiFi to look up music charts for their repertoire. They called their band the Brothers of Brass and at the time it consisted of just 2-3 horn players. Early on they learned that busking event egresses paid better than grinding for hours on a street corner, they started with baseball egresses but soon expanded to playing outside of concerts and any other events with a large crowd. When baseball season ended they decided to travel the country to search for other events and cities to busk.
Eventually these travels took them to Denver where Armando Lopez had been living and playing music for several years after moving from his hometown of Los Angeles when he was in high school. During his secondary schooling Armando received a music education rich in Jazz and brought this influence with him in his approach to street music. He started out playing solo sax on The 16th Street Mall and in 2013 he added Jake Herman on drums after which the act quickly grew into a small Jazz/Funk ensemble consisting of a rotating lineup of local musicians. This act was eventually named Nimbus and busked The 16th Street Mall, Boulder’s Pearl St. Mall, and The Denver Art’s Districts first Fridays art walk.
All of this led to the eventual meeting of the two street performers one day in April of 2015 when they both set out busk on The 16th Street mall. Armando heard Khalil’s tuba from down the street and approached them hoping to add some much needed bass to his sound. They ended up playing together and Khalil took his new friends to busk at the egress at the nearby Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Armando was astounded at how much money they made so quickly, it had never occured to Armando and his group to try to busk event let outs. The two groups collaborated whenever Khalil and the Brothers of Brass were in Denver over the next year and a half. At the end of the summer of 2016 David Williams, the original trumpet player in Brothers of Brass, left to join the U.S. Marines. At this point Khalil recruited Armando and Jake to play in Brothers of Brass, which marked a new era of the band but we opted to keep the name.
That weekend at the end of summer 2016 also happened to be the annual run of Phish concerts at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver (Commerce City). Jake suggested they try to play the egress of those shows and it was a very good busk! It was so good that they traveled the next two summers following Phish and other large jam bands from coast to coast, igniting raging impromptu dance parties everywhere they went.
Since then The Brothers of Brass have grown to be a full sized brass band: adding Matt Rossman, and Christopher “Biscuit” Henry on trumpets, Scott Flynn on Trombone, and K. R. Azad on Bass Drum with Jake Herman playing Snare Drum.
Brothers of Brass has already grown to be one of the premier street bands in the country, but now we are trying to take it to the stage. Having already played some of Denver’s finest stages, we are diligently working on our upcoming debut album, which is slated to come out in 2021. We hope to be sharing our sound on stages across the country soon! With influences ranging from R&B to southern brass and psychedelic jam rock to trap hip hop, Brothers of Brass boasts a wide musical lexicon with a little something for everyone, stay tuned!!!