Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bria Skonberg So Is The Day Random Act 2012

More than just a pretty face...

Bria Skonberg has blown into the Big Apple with all the right tools. Taking the role of jazz triple threat one step further finds this trumpeter-vocalist-composer and bandleader set to drop So Is The Day on April 10, 2012. New York City is crawling with trumpet players but what sets Skonberg apart from the run of the mill cat playing club dates in an effort to keep the lights on. Bria Skonberg's immense talents include a unique almost contemporary spin on the more traditional jazz and swing the scene was built on. Another feather in her cap is the ability to take at times the somewhat tired and played out New Orleans sound and infuse a sonic freshness in a sub-genre that as of late has seen better days.

Skonberg is joined by an all star lineup including woodwind titan Victor Goines and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. So Is The Day also boasts the presence of drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. along with another trombone phenom in Michael Dease and a stellar duet with John Pizzarelli on "I Wish I Hadn't Forgotten." The release kicks off with "Keep Me In The Back Of Your Mind" is an incredibly fresh riff on the classic New Orleans sound mixed with Skonberg's pristine vocals. Typically when an instrumental artist attempts to include vocals into their arsenal the success rate is minimal at best. Let's face it, they play an instrument for a reason right? Skonberg's vocals impress with subtle phrasing and a playful seductive quality that simply adds to the depth and texture this release boasts. "Hip Check" is a smoldering syncopated groove showcasing Skonberg's instrumental prowess along with a stellar solo from tenor saxophonist Victor Goines. While "Hip Check" is one of those odd metered grooves where some artists venture off course to a more self indulgent destination, the groove rules here with a musical synchronicity between Skonberg and the other participants in this hard bop gem. The previously mentioned duet with John Pizzarelli is a delightful match of two equally talented artists that will hopefully pair up again soon. The Joni Mitchell tune "Big Yellow Taxi" gets a delightfully organic and percussive make over while drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. continues to serve as my musical easy button. Skonberg's work on flugelhorn is equally impressive as her chameleon like ability to transform her sound to fit the appropriate sonic state of the union. "Penny In Your Pocket" is a Skonberg original and an infectious charmer that lingers long after the tune is over. A soulful swing with a groove you hear with your hips and feel with your feet.

Jazz has a new shooter and her name is Bria Skonberg. The smart money is on Bria!

5 Stars!

Tracks: Keep Me In The Back Of Your Mind; So Is The Day; Hip Check; I Wish I Hadn't Forgotten; Have A Little Heart; Far Away; Penny In Your Pocket; Let Yourself Go; Chilliwack Cheer; Big Yellow Taxi; Gymnopedie; My Friend.

Personnel: Bria Skonberg: trumpet, flugelhorn & vocals; Kelly Friesen: bass; Jeff Lashway: piano; Ulysses Owens Jr.: drums; Roland Guerrero: percussion; Randy Johnston: guitar; Scott Elias: organ (7); Michael Dease: trombone (11); Victor Goines: tenor saxophone, clarinet & flute; Wycliffe Gordon: trombone (1,9); Special Guest: John Pizzarelli: guitar and vocal (4).