Nico Sarbanes possesses the rare combination of arresting vocal charisma, solid bebop trumpet chops, and a heaping dose of charm. At only 19 years of age, the musician is oddly anachronistic, stepping on stage with perfectly pressed suits and quaffed hair, but also stepping back in time. Sarbanes vocal and trumpet renditions immediately draw the attention of listeners, conjuring Chet Baker and Clifford Brown.
"I don't really associate myself with Chet Baker", Sarbanes jokes, "everyone lumps us together because we both play trumpet and sing. But I get more inspiration from Frank Sinatra and Clifford Brown then from Chet."
But although Sarbanes is careful to distinguish style and musical phrasing from Chet Baker, the emotional impact of his youthful delivery is on par with Baker, or for that matter a young Sinatra. When Sarbanes sings, everyone stops to listen. It is a quality that is rare, and impossible to acquire by design. Rather, the young musician is merely at the early stages of refining a gift, a gift that comes naturally to him.
Nico Sarbanes is playing on a trio of instruments that are not his usual fare, a 1951 Holton 48 trumpet, 1909 Conn Wonderphone cornet, and a striking Art Deco Conn Vocabell trumpet dating to 1932. Al McLean is also playing a pair of unusual vintage horns, a 1921 custom engraved Martin 'Super Fine' tenor sax, and a highly sought after Selmer Mark VI alto.
Filmed and recorded at Diese Onze Jazz Club in Montreal, April 16, 2013.
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