Headin’ Back to Hackensack

April 12, 2023

Three years ago, trumpeter/vocalist Bria Skonberg appeared on the cover of the March/April 2020 Jersey Jazz in connection with a scheduled appearance at the Hackensack (NJ) Performing Arts Center. The plan, at that time, was to perform some selections from her recently self-released album, Nothing Never Happens, some tunes anchored in tradition, and “whatever inspires me that week.”

Of course, the Hackensack performance was canceled by the pandemic, but on May 20, Skonberg returns to HPAC for a concert at 8 p.m.

Last month, Skonberg and vocalist/guitarist Molly Ryan co-directed their Hot Jazz Camp in Greenwich Village, providing instruction to musicians of all skill levels. The week-long curriculum included masterclasses, workshops, private lessons, lectures, and ensemble rehearsals. Last September, Skonberg’s quintet appeared at the Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival, and in August, she joined with percussionist/vocalist Elizabeth Goodfellow for a special “From Jazz to the American Songbook” performance at the White Feather Farm in Saugerties, NY. 

In the spring, Skonberg toured Europe, performing in Italy, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, and Austria. And, in April 2022, she collaborated with vocalist Catherine Russell for a WBGO Kids Jazz concert at the Montclair Art Museum.

When Nothing Never Happens was released in November 2019, I wrote that it “may not be a ‘traditional’ swing album, but it surely does swing — from her gritty blues piece, ‘Blackout’, to arousing reworking of the Sonny Bono pop song, ‘Bang Bang’ to ‘Blackbird Fantasy’ — typical of Bria’s creativity, it combines Lennon and McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’ with Duke Ellington’s ‘Black and Tan Fantasy’. AllAboutJazz’s Mike Jurkovic added: “Skonberg has been on track to break through in a big way for over a decade now and Nothing Never Happens is deservedly her moment.”SANFORD JOSEPHSON

For information and tickets to the May 20 concert, log onto hacpac.org or call (201) 820-3007.


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