Bombay Brass is an Indian instrumental band led by saxophonist Rhys Sebastian. They perform high energy instrumental music inspired by the sounds of Bombay which are melodic ragas, the rhythm of the common man’s spirit and incessant honking. They often spin their songs with a western arrangement, with wind instruments as its lead element.
The band comprises of a host of multi-instrumentalists that tour with prominent Bollywood artists like Shaan, Shalmali Kholgade, Amit Trivedi, The Bartender, and also spearhead their own independent projects. Most of them at times, would even work together on such projects as session musicians. This is what got Rhys to think about forming an after-hours band with members that had already had great a camaraderie and a good understanding of each other’s musical tastes, and in the interest of time, food and coffee preferences.
Bombay Brass debuted their first performance showcasing originals from their self-titled EP to a full house in January 2020, at antiSOCIAL in Mumbai. The EP features 4 songs of which Prime Sinisters is a play on words that speak about the crafty and tricky leaderships of men across the world, while Goodbye Ravi talks about the misguided pride of innocence. Quegdevelim Sunset II walks you through the eyes of a 50s something man from Goa, who ventures out in the evening to the local pub, makes his way to the local church party (tiatr), gets a bit drunk and then staggers back home, somehow in one piece. Anytime Now is a lighter song and the last one on the EP that describes the last 10 minutes of a long drive upon reaching a destination; the taste of imminent conclusion.
Bombay Brass are also featured on Mira Nair’s upcoming film, A Suitable Boy; which is due to release in late 2020. The song they’ve written there is called Quegdevelim Sunset I and is composed and arranged by Rhys Sebastian, featuring Kishore Sodha on trumpet and ID Rao on Tenor Sax as lead roles.
Their musical influences range from Shankar Jaishan, Niladri Kumar and Blackstratblues to Snarky Puppy, Trombone Shorty, Vulfpeck, Steely Dan and Broken Brass.