Tag Archives: Borderline Jazz Band

MARK YOUR CALENDARS (MARK SHANE, THAT IS)

shane-by-opening-minds2The splendid pianist and singer Mark Shane (here captured by “Opening Minds” at a gig last April) has been making more recordings here and there, but we haven’t had the good fortune to have gigs by Mark to report.  

Good news follows!  I read in the Skylark Strutter, the newsletter of playing the Tri-State Jazz Society, that Mark will be playing a solo piano gig on February 15 at the Grace Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware.  On April 17, he’ll be part of Jim Fryer’s Borderline Jazz Band, co-led by Bria Skonberg, and a month later (that’s May 17), he’ll be an essential member of Dan Levinson’s Swing Wing, with Randy Reinhart, Molly Ryan, Matt Munisteri, and others. 

A gig that doesn’t have an appearance by Mark (but he’d fit right in) is Marty Grosz’s “The Hot Winds,” this version featuring Dan Block, Vince Giordano, and Scott Robinson, on March 29.

The moral of this posting?  Be sure your 2009 calendar is easy to annotate, and check the Tristate Jazz Society’s website (www.tristatejazz.org) and ask for an email subscription to the Strutter, which apparently lists every concert going on in the area.  Well worth perusing and supporting.

JIM FRYER AND BRIA SKONBERG: OUR KIND OF MUSIC!

I’ve mentioned the brilliant young hot trumpeter / singer Bria Skonberg and multi-instrumentalist (trombone, trumpet, euphonium, vocals) Jim Fryer in my postings about The Ear Inn — but here are a few more words about this dynamic brass team.

Bruce McNichols, of the Smith Street Society Jazz Band, invited me and the Beloved to a trad jazz party hosted by OKOM (Our Kind Of Music) in Lafayette, New Jersey, on April 22. Such invitations are rare and precious, the weather was beautiful, so with a few instructions to our GPS, we found ourselves at Bill Taggart’s beautiful, sprawling house, and were led down to the basement (the OKOM recording studio) for a jam session featuring Bria and Jim with Herb Gardner on piano, Gim Burton on banjo, and Ed Wise on bass. The set we heard featured sparkling variations on familiar jazz standards: “Margie,” “All of Me,” “Dinah,” “There’ll Be Some Changes Made,” and “Buddy Bolden’s Blues.” In it, Bria distinguished herself once again by a brilliant tone and an easy, rangy command of the horn, a wicked dexterity with the plunger mute, and charming, unforced singing. Jim showed off his talents on all his horns and singing, reminding me at points of trombonist Eddie Hubble.

For those who didn’t make it to that particular corner of New Jersey that afternoon, they need not despair: aesthetic relief is at hand, on the compact disc “Over Easy: Bria Skonberg and Jim Fryer’s Borderline Jazz Band,” on OKOM (details are available at www.okom.com., or you can call 1-800-546-6075. It’s an exceedingly uncliched mixture of classics Thirties pops, “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” and classic material from “In A Mellotone” to “At the Jazz Band Ball.” The sextet is a truly hot band, subtle and knowing, and you should get to know them as quickly as possible.

Photographs copyright 2008 by Lorna Sass