Jazz On The Wing has reached back to the early 1900s for its show Nov. 9 at the Yukon Arts Centre.
New Orleans flair and Louis Armstrong arrangements will be presented by Bria’s Hot Five.
The bandleader, Bria Skonberg, is not unusual because she is a woman – “There are a lot of good female musicians out there right now,” she says over the phone from her Vancouver home – but because she is only 24 years old.
Yet she is already a veteran performer of 20 years. Starting with dance and piano, she moved to the trumpet and was playing big band music by the age of 12.
“Older performers see me as someone who can continue the genre,” says Skonberg. “But the fact I am younger and so specialized is what may separate me from the field.
“Yet I am not the only one doing it.”
She is referring, in part, to Amanda Tosoff, who Jazz On The Wing has already presented this season. Besides being one year in age apart, the two jazz performers also have in common Evan Arntzen, who is a reed player for the Amanda Tosoff Quartet and Bria’s Hot Five.
And what Skonberg has in common with the jazz greats of this time, and of all times, is that she hasn’t stopped learning: “As soon as you have nothing more to learn, you stop getting better.”
However, she diverges from those who have gone before by arranging for her next music lessons to take place via Skype’s Internet phone service since her instructor is in Los Angeles.
“I don’t jam online,” she says. “But it is a good way to meet people.”
But the cool thing about the trumpet, she says, is you can play solo, too.
“It is easily the coolest instrument,” says Skonberg. “It has such a bright sound and it is so much fun to play.
“You can really express yourself.
“I get to play melody and then I get to solo and both of these are fun.”
During her summers, she has been devoting her time to train the next generation of jazz performers. She is a teacher/alumni at the Heebie Jeebies Youth Jazz Camp, Mammoth Lakes Youth Jazz Camp and the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Youth Jazz Camp.
Besides theory, jazz history classes and band, she talks to them about jazz and about the struggles of young people in jazz.
“I love all types of music – pop, hard rock, whatever – so it makes it easier to relate,” she says. “You don’t have to love jazz.”
Skonberg says she hopes to see lots of young people in the audience.
Unfortunately, she won’t see Grant Simpson in the audience. The two of them are in his New Orleans North band and he has told her how beautiful it is in the Yukon.
Simpson is touring China when she is here: “I’ve known Grant for years,” says Skonberg. “He’s a wonderful band leader and an incredibly positive person.”
Bria’s Hot Five performs Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Yukon Arts Centre. Tickets are available at the Yukon Arts Centre Box Office and Arts Underground.