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Bria Skonberg: Giving Trad-Jazz a Modern Edge

The new old school

Bria Skonberg

“I’m a trumpalist! I play vocalet!” says Bria Skonberg with glee, munching on a Greek salad. “I’m a hybrid; I’m a swamp monster. An X-man!”

What she playfully means, of course, is that she is both a trumpeter and a vocalist, and assigns equal focus to both instruments. And that focus is beginning to pay off. When we speak in early June, the bubbly 29-year-old is about to headline Bethesda Blues & Jazz near the outskirts of Washington, D.C. But Skonberg doesn’t do bebop or its descendants, at least not in her own projects. Hers is a hot jazz-the sounds of New Orleans tradition and the swing era, as expressed through her own songwriting and lyrics. (Into Your Own, Skonberg’s new, third album on the Random Act label, is her most lyric-based recording yet.) But she also infuses it with other music that she loves, including soul and classic rock.

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