Five Firsts: Bryson Barnes of Bryson Barnes/Jeff Nania Group

Bryson Barnes

Bryson Barnes

NAME: Bryson Barnes
BAND AFFILIATION: Strength in Numbers; Barrelhouse Jazz Orchestra; Bryson Barnes/Jeff Nania Group
INSTRUMENT: Trumpet and vocals

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis. Eminently swinging and heartbreakingly tender moments of supreme artistry. My first and still one of my favorite records.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … To be honest, I can’t exactly remember. A few of the artists who I saw live early on that made a lasting impression on me include the Gypsy Kings, Wallace Roney, Chuck Mangione, Phish, Jean-Michel Pilc, Robert Glasper and Wycliffe Gordon. Each one could’ve been the first, because their performances all helped me to consider music in a new way. I still go to shows today that inspire me to reassess how I think about music, and I believe that this cycle of rebirth of concept has served as creative fodder for countless artists past and present.

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3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … The trumpet. I’ve had only one horn since the eighth grade, and I love it. I was attracted to the trumpet because of its simplicity and power. And as any trumpeter will tell you, the trumpet is king of the instruments.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … I can’t say for certain, but it was most likely at a gig with a band that my friends and I formed in high school called Active Transport, and it was probably a standard like “Blue Bossa” by Kenny Dorham or “Cherokee” by Ray Noble.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Active Transport. The lineup included Jeff Nania, Dominic Fallacaro, Mike Lawrence, and Jeremy Lawrence (who was succeded by Nate Coyne when he went to college). Lots of fun and the backdrop for lots of firsts: writing, booking gigs, recording, rehearsing a band — essentially, gaining a grasp of the steps that I need to go through in order to assemble cogent and
meaningful musical ideas, not to mention getting those ideas realized in the context of a group.

Trumpeter Bryson Barnes is still playing with his high school bandmate, saxman Jeff Nania, and they’ll join forces once again at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 7pm on Sunday. Tix are $14 in advance; $16 at the door.

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