Bria Skonberg’s Red Hot Jazz – Guest Post by Benjamin Hall

Bria Skonberg brings her electrifying jazz performance to Wharton Center on Wednesday, April 27. Benjamin Hall, Coordinator of the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival fills us in on who Bria Skonberg is, what makes her special and why we should all go see Bria while she’s in East Lansing!


On April 27, a very talented woman that identifies herself as a, “NYC Trumpet Player, Singer, Songwriter, Instigator,” raised on the banks of the Chilliwack River, returns to the city on the banks of the Red Cedar.

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A local Dixieland Jazz festival, in her hometown, (Chilliwack), in British Columbia, was where Bria Skonberg got her first taste of the music of New Orleans. Growing up hearing the roots of jazz year-after-year awakened the musical beast inside of her. A monster of jazz with two means of communication: fiery trumpet blasts and a sultry honey-coated singing voice. As its appetite increased, it was satiated mainly with “Hot Jazz,” (which includes Jelly Roll Morton and the early music of Louis Armstrong), but also a fair amount of time snacking on the fruit of other jazz species, and may have even binged on a bit of Psychedelic Rock.

It wasn’t long before New York City began calling Bria Skonberg’s name. As the backing groups were formed, the sidemen became increasingly more impressive, and have included jazz notables Victor Goines, Ulysses Owens, Jr. and her mentor, Wycliffe Gordon. Bria has released three albums to date. With each album her song choices have become more refined, and their arrangements more impressive. Her positive reviews, awards and accolades continue to increase. In 2013 she was nominated for “Up and Coming Artist” by The Jazz Journalists Association, and has also been identified as a “Rising Star” for 2013-2015 by DownBeat Magazine. Ms. Skonberg received the Jazz at Lincoln Center “Swing! Award” last year, and was also identified as a Millennial “Shaking Up the Jazz World” by Vanity Fair.

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What are audience members to expect from Bria’s performance next Thursday? No doubt in the spirit of “Hot Jazz,” and the city where it was born and still thrives, she will be bringing the party! As an eyewitness of her performance last year at the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, Ms. Skonberg is as charismatic of a band leader, as she is a talented trumpet player and vocalist. You will be supremely entertained, and may just have to restrain yourself to keep from dancing. As far as her role as “Instigator” listed above, I’m really not sure what that is about. Maybe she instigates parties?

-Benjamin Hall is the coordinator for the East Lansing Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, taking place this year June 17 & 18.


Tickets are still available for this incredible performance at the Wharton Center box office. Click here to purchase tickets or call 1.800.WHARTON.

Specially priced $15 student tickets are available here with an MSU PID.

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Posted in Wharton Center News

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