Interview: Bria Skonberg on her favorite NYC spots and late nights at Dizzy's

Photo by Lawrence Sumulong for Jazz at Lincoln Center

News | May, 16th 2016

Trumpeter and vocalist Bria Skonberg is a beloved staple at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and each Thursday and Saturday in May she's hosting the Late Night Sessions at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. We sat down with her to talk about starting out in NYC, her favorite spots in the city, and her picks for upcoming can't-miss shows.

Jazz at Lincoln Center: If you could live in any era of jazz, which would it be and why?

Bria Skonberg: Most definitely here and now! There is more opportunity now than ever before for fusion, equality, and mastery of one's instrument, and the way those elements are coming together excites me.

JALC: Which upcoming acts at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola are you most excited to see?

BS: I'm excited to hear trumpeter Mark Rapp with Wessell Anderson May 21-22, as well as Marcus Printup's group May 25-26. I have Etienne Charles on June 29th marked in my calendar. Do you see a trumpet trend? 

JALC: What are your favorite places in NYC besides JALC?

BS: I live on the Lower East Side so I love running in East River Park, checking out new restaurants constantly, and going to multi-genre venues like Rockwood and the Stone.

JALC: What do you think is the future of jazz? Do you think crossover genres will continue to gain in popularity?

BS: I hope so, because it's more than just a music, it's a mind state. Jazz reflects the human spirit and as long as it's given space to breathe it'll live and thrive. I'm open to new variables; I believe the concept of jazz education is finally coming back around to starting at its roots, at the beginnings, and that will help stabilize it going forward.

JALC: What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?

BS: We can't take for granted the ability we have to say things others can't, or won't, and how that can empower and affect people. 

JALC: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

BS: I was fortunate to meet Lew Soloff within the first six months of moving to NY and he said, "There's always going to be someone who plays faster or higher. The only chance you have of survival in a place like New York is figuring out what you have that no one else has and owning it." It can be easy to lose yourself in a big place like this and this advice kept me grounded. I also took from it that turning comparison into anything other than inspiration can be toxic.

JALC: Words to live by?

BS: Work hard, stay humble.

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This month, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola favorite Camille Thurman will be hosting the Late Night Session every Thursday and Saturday night. We caught up with the talented saxophonist and vocalist and talked about time travel, nature and jazz.

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