Brian Newman's singing voice is impeccable reaching gorgeous high notes while adding his own spin to classic jazz standards. As a trumpeter, his trumpet is an extension of his being. Somehow he finds enough air to dig in and blow improvisational bursts between lyrics.
Dressed to please the svelte dapper, Newman visually pulls out all the stops as the quintessential master of ceremonies. With his cool demeanor and awesome showmanship, he worked the room like a fast-witted vaudevillian comic adding enough spice and a little grit without losing his classy flair.
The clanking of glasses, endless chatter and lively bar action added to the atmosphere, but I would have preferred a quiet room to fully take in the marvelous music.
Earlier this month, Brian Newman made his television debut with Lady Gaga on the Today Show. His underground reputation with fellow musicians as someone to collaborate with is now out of the box. A much-deserved career boost.
It was sweet to see a few new fans at Duane Park who came to listen last Friday.
All the great musicianship centers around the deep vocals of Osei Essed. His soulful straightforwardness, blended and angst-ridden thickness from below the diaphragm creates an urgency of quick, tight upheavals of rising howls, whoops, and groans. The jubilant chorus of shouters from the brass section belts it up between blows, adding to the lively mix.
Ars Nova is a small venue that cares. This was my second visit to the small intimate venue, but a few of the groups I’ve featured on this site, like Langhorne Slim, Geo Wyeth, and Max Vernon, have played there. Ars Nova provides a hub for emerging music, comedy, and theater talent. Getting the word out about this diamond in the rough should be paramount.
With scenic views and a breezy tempo Sound Bites, Bill Pearis kicked off his curatorial gig by booking bands for the South Street Seaport's festival summer season. Every Wednesday in June, starting at noon, Pearis will put on his DJ hat for an hour of tunes, followed by the scheduled band. Its formal title is Sound Bites Lunchtime Series, and it's free!
This Sunday during Memorial Day weekend, North Highlands, a Brooklyn quintet fronted on keys and lead vocals by Brenda Malvini, graced the stage. They played accessible and contagious music that was bouncy, poppy, and dreamy. The folk instruments like the mandolin and violin were delightfully integrated into an orchestral mix of keys, drums, and electric guitar. The drumming was especially awesome.
Brenda's voice has a smooth tonality with playful breathy aspects that are immediately endearing. When the band revs up in intensity, her voice and mannerisms animate to engage the audience. North Highlands is a tight and spunky band that has lots of heart. I loved them.
The line to buy North Highlands EP "Sugarlips" were longer than I expected. It was nice to see random passersby willing to shell out the dough for an unknown band.
If you can, don't miss June 2nd, Air Waves, June 9th, The Austin McCutchen Quartet, June 16th, Ribbons, June 23rd, The Beets, and June 30th, Toys, and Tiny Instruments Band.
Flickr Set HERE