MEET THE BAND: Brian Newman (trumpet, vocals), Steve Kortyka (saxophonist), Alex Smith (pianist), Paul Francis (drums), Daniel Foose (upright bass)
THE CLEVELAND CONNECTION: Newman is from the Mentor area while Kortyka is from Cleveland, Smith is from Cincinnati and Francis is from Chillicothe. "Ohio always has the best people," says Newman via phone from New York where he'd just wrapped up his weekly vocal lessons with renowned vocal coach Don Lawrence. "They're hard working and blue collar. That's how I was raised. It makes a different sound. I went to school with these guys and they're some of the best musicians I've played with in my life."
GETTING CHEEKY: Newman, who's Lady Gaga's jazz bandleader, collaborated with Gaga and Tony Bennett on their 2014 Grammy-winning album Cheek to Cheek, which featured arrangements by Newman and his band. The single, "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)," debuted at No. 1 on Billboard. "It took a couple of years to do the record," explains Newman. "It worked out great. [Gaga] wanted me to do something different. The jazz records are great and the formula works, but I knew she wanted something more downtown and New York. We did small group stuff. It adds another element and is more intimate. That was great. That was my whole band. We were lucky to get to record and tour. [Bennett] loves the music and he loves bringing other stars to the forefront with him. He's a hell of a cat."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Brian continues to hold down a longstanding weekly residency as bandleader at the Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Tuesday and Thursday nights. He also performs on select Friday nights at NYC's legendary Rainbow Room with his orchestra. Guests who have sat in with him include Jon Batiste, Mark Murphy, Dierks Bentley, Willie Nile and the Dirty Pearls. "I try to have a weekly residency somewhere so people can come out and hear us and we stay relevant," he says. On 2012's Live From New York City, he offers a peppy rendition of "Night and Day," and he delivers a woozy horn solo on "Our Love is Here to Stay." Newman will prerelease his new album, Eyes on the City, at the end of January on Pledgemusic.
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: briannewman.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Brian Newman Quintet performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at Music Box Supper Club.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.