Canadian Singer, Trumpeter, Songwriter, Arranger and Bandleader BRIA SKONBERG is described by The Wall Street Journal as one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation. Recognized as a Rising Star by Downbeat Magazine, and the recipient of numerous honors and awards worldwide, Bria is indeed a musical force. Wielding a unique blend of modern millennial sensibilities and sizzling old-school musicianship, her American debut, SO IS THE DAY, surrounds the neo-New Yorker with an all-star cast.
Perennial award-winning trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and saxophonist/clarinetist/flutist Victor Goines, both alums of Wynton Marsalis bands, complete the horn section, while Random Act Records artists Jeff Lashway (piano) and Randy Johnston (guitar) round out the rhythm section. Star drummer Ulysses Owens (Kurt Elling, Joey Alexander) keeps everything swinging and percussionist Roland Guerrero (Wynton, Arturo OFarrill, Roy Hargrove) adds Latin fire to the proceedings.
Bria offers several of her own beguiling songs, including: The swampy title track, a clarinet feature; a swinging feminist anthem (Keep Me In The Back Of Your Mind); the odd-metered, Jazz Messengers-like instrumental Hip Check; the drop-dead gorgeous bossa Have A Little Heart; a funkified Penny In Your Pocket, allowing Lashway to stretch his chops on piano; the Dixieland homage to her Canadian hometown, Chilliwack Cheer; and the unforgettable closer, My Friend, featuring only Brias voice and Lashways gospel-tinged piano accompaniment. The cover tunes are just as inventive: Joni Mitchells hit Big Yellow Taxi is given a Caribbean flavor, with a fine Flugelhorn solo; classical composer Erik Saties instrumental piece Gymnopedie is an Afro/Cuban stomp, with a superb trombone solo by Michael Dease; and Irving Berlins Let Yourself Go is transformed into a slinky/funky/swampy/sexy slide. The incredible John Pizzarelli does a guest star turn on Brias own I Wish I Hadnt Forgotten. Their voices are extremely complimentary on the swinger, and John offers a great guitar solo.
So Is The Day backs up the claims by ''The Wall Street Journal'', where esteemed critic Will Friedwald also wrote that Bria Skonberg looks, and sings, like a Scandinavian angel, but plays like a red-hot devil!
It's a rare talent that can straddle - and dare request membership in - the trumpet artist continuum emanating from Louis Armstrong and progressing down through his ''Neo Orleans'' progeny: Byron Stripling, Wynton Marsalis and Nicholas Payton (whose big band trumpet section Skonberg graces). However, with her bravura performance on So is the Day, Bria Skonberg confirms that she is not only indeed a triple threat musician - player, vocalist and composer - but also that that esteemed lineage, consummate entertainers all, would heartily approve her membership. She exhibits stylistic shades of Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, and Diana Krall. She has a beautiful voice - both soul sultry and innocent sweet - and an instrumentalist's feel for melodic line and rhythm. Her vocal and horn chops intertwine seamlessly. An insight-fully versatile composer, Skonberg delivers nine engaging originals, all stylistically unique. So is the Day, while tipping a hat to tradition, appropriately pushes Bria Skonberg to the forefront of today's musical talents. She has it all - so does this superb recording.
Nicholas F. Mondello --All About Jazz
On her debut (U.S.) recording, trumpeter and vocalist Bria Skonberg makes a diverse musical statement...it's clear she's up to more than nostalgia. On trumpet, she's been nurtured in the pre-bop traditions but stretches beyond to more modern approaches. Her singing chops may remind of Norah Jones...and she's excellent in the duo with veteran John Pizzarelli.
Greg Thomas --New York Daily News