Bria Skonberg Quartet On SF Bay Area Stages


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Bria Skonberg Hot NYC Jazz Trumpeter on SF Bay Area Stages

OAKLAND/MILL VALLEY, CA: Chanteuse Bria Skonberg has been called the beautiful jazz singer with a golden horn and that’s certainly apropos.

“If Louis Armstrong and Doris Day could somehow be the same person, they'd be Bria Skonberg. With her outstandingly ‘Satchelmouthed’ trumpet solos, charismatic singing and sunshine personality, the 30-year-old continues to shine a light on the New Hot Jazz movement, in her own bands, in the Armstrong Eternity Band, and as a producer of the New York Hot Jazz Festival,” wrote Will Friedwald in his Wall Street Journal music column.

Bay Area jazz fans will have the opportunity to hear (and see) Skonberg at two local venues in March: the Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland and the 142 Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley. She will be joined by: Rob Reich (piano & accordion), Beth Goodfellow (drums), and Joe Kyle Jr. (bass) for both gigs.

Ticketing information

Wednesday, March 25 at 8 p.m., at the Piedmont Piano Company, 1728 San Pablo Avenue (at 18th), Oakland, Calif. 94612, reserved tickets at $20 are available by calling 510.547.8188.

Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m. at the 142 Throckmorton Theater, 142 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley, Calif. Advance ticket prices: $35 Reserved Seating; $21 General Seating ($26 day of show), call 415.383.9600.

Here’s what Adam Bernstein of The Washington Post said last year:

“Three years ago, singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli was headlining an international jazz festival in Victoria, British Columbia, and was dining in a hotel lounge on his night off. A member of the quartet playing in the background invited him onstage.

‘I normally would sit in with the group on one number,’ Pizzarelli recalled. He quickly warmed to the doe-eyed bandleader, Bria Skonberg, who sang in a style that was playful and sultry. All of a sudden, she picked up her trumpet and the room filled with an ebullient, roaring style reminiscent of Louis Armstrong’s.

Pizzarelli, mesmerized, remained glued to the stage for two sets.

‘It was a total surprise,’ said Pizzarelli, whose father is the celebrated jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. ‘My dad later heard her and goes, ‘You hear this girl play trumpet? She’s unbelievable.’

Her appeal also led jazz authority Will Friedwald to rhapsodize in his Wall Street Journal music column last year, ‘Bria Skonberg looks like a Scandinavian angel (or Thor’s girlfriend), plays trumpet like a red hot devil, and sings like a dream.”

Skonberg, who likes to reimagine older jazz songs through a modern prism, once interpreted the 1920s stomper “King of the Zulus” as collaboration between Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix. To make the effect work, she attached to her trumpet bell a wireless, clip-on microphone connected to a guitar-effects pedal and created a distorted sound reminiscent of the influential 1960s guitarist. “Some of the ideas I’ve had over the years, I just thought it would be funny,” she said. “I played in ska bands and like all kinds of music. People hear traditional jazz and think it’s stale, where there are so many ways it can be opened up. With New Orleans and old-time grooves, there’s no limit in what can be done with that. I want to break the stereotype of what traditional jazz is.” From her home in Brooklyn, she tours like a dervish — popping up at clubs, festivals and jazz clinics around North America — and has accompanied on stage and in recordings widely admired performers including Pizzarelli, composer and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and her mentor, the trumpeter Warren Vache.

It’s Vache, she said, who keeps her from plateauing musically by offering effective, if blunt criticism: “Use your ears. Does that sound good? No.”

“I overthink a lot, so it was useful,” Skonberg said cheerfully. She’s relentlessly cheery, in fact, especially for someone who as a singer worships Anita O’Day, a vocalist once dubbed the “Jezebel of Jazz” for her hard-living ways. In contrast, Skonberg’s professional life has been rather charmed so far, propelled by jazz veterans drawn in by her talent, determination and charisma.

Gordon, who plays frequently with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, calls her “the full package” and “a young person who knows the traditional music and can play with such great command.”

About Bria Skonberg

Hailing from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, and now living in New York City, award winning trumpeter/vocalist/ composer BRIA SKONBERG is “poised to be one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation."- Wall Street Journal.

In 2013, she earned a Jazz Journalists’ Association nomination for “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of The Year” and has been included in DOWNBEAT Magazine’s Rising Star Critics‘ poll the last two years. Skonberg was recently been honored with a New York Bistro Award for “Outstanding Jazz Artist” and swept the 2014 Hot House Jazz Magazine awards in all categories nominated: Best Jazz Artist, Best Trumpet, Best Female Vocalist and Best Group for the Bria Skonberg Quartet.

Her first professional gig was as a big band singer at age sixteen doubling on trumpet and she has since performed as a bandleader and guest artist at over 50 jazz festivals in North America, Europe, China and Japan. Since moving to New York in 2010, she has headlined at Symphony Space, Birdland, The Iridium, Dizzy's and Cafe Carlyle.

She has been featured on Wycliffe Gordon’s projects, recording on the Louis Armstrong tribute “Hello Pops”, performing a Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie at Dizzy’s Jazz Club in New York and as a member of his big band. Bria focuses on innovating while honoring tradition: She has studied with Warren Vache, experimented with fuzz pedals and presented a gig fusing jazz and stand up comedy.

Best known for her knowledge of classic jazz and pursuit of worldwide adventure, she is now creating a style rooted in hot jazz, world percussion, soul, and electronic effects available on her newest album INTO YOUR OWN (Random Act Records). Her debut U.S. release SO IS THE DAY, peaked at NUMBER 7 on the U.S. National Jazz Charts; it features mostly original material and an all-star ensemble including John Pizzarelli, Victor Goines and Wycliffe Gordon. Released on Random Act Records, 10-percent of all proceeds go to support the Jazz Foundation of America.

She currently tours the world, headlining major clubs and festivals as well as programming music education workshops for all ages. She is an active volunteer at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens and co-producer of the New York Hot Jazz Festival.

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