New York City isn’t often thought of as a center for brass bands, but that may change on Sunday, June 10, when the first annual New York Brass Festival gets underway at the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea. The 10-hour event will feature 10 bands on two stages and cover a wide range of music styles, from New Orleans-style funk to Indian wedding music to free jazz.
The festival’s headliners, Slavic Soul Party, will perform selections from their latest album, a Balkan-influenced take on Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite, while Gato Loco will play their Enchanted Messa, which reinterprets Verdi’s Requiem through a self-described “psycho-mambo” lens.
Other scheduled acts include David Ostwald and His Louis Armstrong Eternity Band, Sugartone Brass Band, La Parrandera Banda la Platera, the Hungry March Band, Drumadics Beat-N-Brass Band, and the Harlem Heavenly Notes.
Fittingly, the Festival will feature a celebration of New Orleans’ tricentennial as well. A “hot brass brunch” is slated to take place first in the McKittrick Hotel’s rooftop garden. Then, trombonist and bandleader Mariel Bildsten will lead a “NOLA-on-the-Hudson Second Line” open to all who care to participate, parading from nearby Hudson River Park to the doors of the McKittrick.
“Regardless of the genre, brass music is a music of joy that bridges cultures and brings people together,” says the festival’s director, Michael Katsobashvili, also founder of the New York Hot Jazz Festival and Pangea Jazz Fest. “New York should have had a festival like this for decades already. This June we’re going to make it happen and have a time of our lives doing it in unity and joy.”
Go to the New York Brass Festival website for more information.