By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | November 15, 2021
Trumpeter Bria Skonberg says, lately, her shows channel her melancholic and frustrated feelings.
“I had a baby and that’s just totally a life-changing experience on top of life changes on top of a tumultuous time,” Skonberg says.
“There’s such a huge spectrum of emotions that I have experienced and collected over the last year. All of that is coming through in the shows. It’s a mixture of joy and release and fun. That’s what makes art important. I hope the concerts give them the same sort of feelings as it does for me.”
Valley fans can find out for themselves when she plays the Gathering Place at La Casa de Christo Church in Scottsdale on Monday, November 15, as part of the Arizona Musicfest.
“This will be part of my first multidate tour that my band and I have done in a year and a half,” she says. “I’m very excited to go there. Arizona’s just gorgeous. I love the desert heat. The people are just as warm as the setting.”
Skonberg has been described by the Wall Street Journal as “one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation.” Other news outlets have said she’s “arrived.”
Hailing from the small town of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Skonberg studied jazz and performance at Capilano University in Vancouver while balancing a full road schedule with two bands.
After graduating she traveled extensively, performing in China, Japan and throughout Europe as a featured artist. When she wasn’t traveling, Skonberg was honing her chops with Dal Richards, Vancouver’s King of Swing.
Seeking new challenges, Skonberg moved to New York City in September 2010. Upon arrival she jammed with friends in Washington Square Park and an hour into playing world renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis stopped to listen. He gave her a thumbs up.
From the premier jazz festivals of New Orleans and Monterey to Newport and Montreal, Skonberg has been said to stand at the forefront of the America’s jazz revival. The British Columbia native has earned additional recognition with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Swing Award and Canada’s Juno Award for Best Vocal Jazz Album.
Skonberg recently sang the music of Aretha Franklin alongside Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, played with U2 at the Apollo, sat in with the Dave Matthews band, was a featured guest with Jon Batiste and performed the Star-Spangled Banner at Madison Square Garden for a New York Rangers game.
The show with U2 was at the Apollo Theater in front of 3,000 people. Skonberg was part of an encore set that featured U2’s hit “Angel of Harlem.”
“Those sorts of moment are really pinch-me moments,” Skonberg says. “I don’t think as an artist I ever feel ‘arrived,’ but it makes me feel extra encouraged to keep going.
“We work every day, and some magical moment happens and you just think, ‘Yay. It was worth it.’”
At her Scottsdale show, she will play music primarily from her last album, “Nothing Ever Happens,” which she says she wrote to “process and release intense emotions.”
“The show is just a real joyous, cathartic experience,” she says. “I have an incredible band of friends. Fans can expect to sing along. They’ve been warned.
“There will be some participation. We’ll have stories and a little bit of everything. I like such a variety of things. It’s hard for me to describe. There’s a little something for everyone.”
Bria Skonberg as part of Arizona Musicfest
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 15
Where: Gathering Place, La Casa de Cristo Church, 6300 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale
Cost: $39, $59