Classic jazz and the repertoire from the 40s is the type of music that is fun to rediscover. That was the pop music of the avant-guerre era! Youngsters used to dance to jazz, musicians were these “rockers” often Afro-Americans, in another era where all musicians weren’t equal.

Bria Skonberg names Dean Martin (she played a beautiful rendition of his famous song Sway), Ella Fitzgerald (both who would have turned 100 years old in 2017) and Peggy Lee, as major influences on her music, and it shows during her ‘tour de chant’. With her, jazz is fun and simple! It swings, it’s played with a smile, and by no means is it less serious in its approach. We have here an artist that knows her History of Jazz, respects it and treats it like a living treasure that lives on through her.

Skonberg admits she likes strong female lead personas, from Wonder Woman to Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill”. She introduced us to Valaida Snow who was an Afro-American trumpet player and jazz pioneer from the 30s through her signature song I got my high-hat, trumpet and rhythm, and praised her lifestyle of loving fur coats, fast cars and young men… All this in a very tongue-in-cheek mood, and really great swing riffs on the trumpet and clarinet!

(photo Nico Pelletier)

A few minutes later, she was having a blast singing It’s Oh so Quiet, that recently (well that was 22 years ago) resurfaced through Björk’s “Post” album and scored a hit. That is actually a Betty Hutton song dating back to 1951, which was a translation from a 1948 German song by Harry Winter, titled Und jetzt ist es still.

Skonberg, originally from Chilliwack in BC, but based in New York with her band since 2010, delivers classic jazz with a lot of respect and care, while having a blast playing this wonderful music with the quartet that accompanies her on stage.

A great night for jazz lovers who like to swing!

 

BRIA SKONBERG was playing at l’Astral, on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, as part of the Montreal International Jazz Fest.

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur-en-chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie “Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique” en 2013, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016.