Show Review: Black Tie Brass


To keep the summer flow going, it is about time to head over to a Brooklyn lobsterfest. It seems like the best option for a Friday night. As luck would have it, there is also some pretty good music to accompany the delicious crustacean meal. Last Friday night, The Hall at MP hosted their July lobsterfest with the epic Black Tie Brass providing the tunes for that evening.

Manhattanites traveling to Brooklyn took the ‘L’ for its soon to be limited run for food, drinks and music. Despite the heat, a breeze from the East River calmed things down a bit. All people had to do was take a leisurely stroll over to The Hall at MP. Arriving at the giant space with multiple bar locations, the right corner took guests into a slowly growing side of the venue to sign in. Upon adding their names, viewers were immediately drawn to a ginormous lobster on display with a competition to guess its weight. That was some good marketing because there must have been quite a few people who felt some hunger pangs the second their eyes saw that delectable sea creature. To wait for the music to start, chill by the white marble bar and order some happy hour drinks before seven. Be sure to admire the black horse busts all set up behind.

A lobster meal is only one part of the main event. Black Tie Brass are made of musicians, Ryan McNulty, Randolph Smith, Mike Alvarez, Jason Reese,Vinny Muscarella, Charles Jourdan and Glenn Chiarrello who seem to be the epitome of soul in their music. With their quiet and kind demeanor, music fans would appreciate their obvious dedication to the musical craft. Each one had their role to play down pat and were even still practicing and mentally preparing in the greenroom backstage. Artists have to admire that determination for excellence. Black Tie Brass were all prepared to perform three sets that evening and did not fail in the least.

Luckily all seven musicians had a spacious stage to work their magic. The big band stage was all alight with an alluring red and purple glare. Black Tie Brass already had their instruments all organized and their big band style sign with their black bow tie icon made sure people would not forget their name. Much of the crowd was there for a mix of the music and the food. Although, once the music began, conversations continued with a still respectful attention to the entertainment at hand. With the long space, plenty of guests were there all night long. If there was food, drinks and music  available, few would leave the air conditioned venue. With its warehouse vibe, The Hall at MP was a unique one for a summer cool down.

A big band flourish works well for the start of the weekend. Then again, it can work for many nights to be honest. That is just what Black Tie Brass did. They entered and immediately got into it. There was no delay. A great beat was maintained all the while. Each one of the men were having fun from the start. Unfortunately, the crowd conversations did drone out the horns and guitar sometimes. Luckily, they were able to use those moments to truly unleash their power. If listeners could not hear the music, their stage instrumentation was something to watch. With quick finger plucking speeds on the guitar and bass alongside the focussed horns was something to marvel at. Of course, the keys and drums kept a solid flow for all of it to come together nicely. Everyone had unusually fast fingers with their instruments.

Mr. McNulty, the band leader, was the essence of pure joy up there. There never was a moment where he was not grinning and bouncing along to the music. He would watch each of his band mates with pure respect and would honor their respective solos as they came. He was their biggest fan. Ryan also made the trombone the centerpiece of it all. Then again, each one of the horns found an ideal niche by promoting both a singular and collective sound. When the band played around with duel musicianship battles, the music was loud and energetic. Grins in the audience were on many a face. Clapping ensued with an enthusiastic appreciation from both the band and the crowd. Listeners had to enjoy their old school style and simplified pacing in their music. Each bit of it was calm and funky. Black Tie Brass’ focus allowed them to have a little fun with one another as they played on.

As the night came to a close for their first set Black Tie Brass had some of their best moments. One was their rendition of When The Saints Go Marching In in which the bouncy and happy horn section did a walk through the crowd in typical New Orleans-style fashion. This prompted cheers and even more smiles alongside some clapping. Fun fact, during their second set, the crew performed an epic cover of the Pokemon theme song. The bartenders, staff and fans all cheered immensely as this Pokemon magic happened. This swagger of cool was just what people needed.

Black Tie Brass are men who have a distinct place in the music scene. Their music and skill as musicians is equally matched and should be enjoyed by many. To witness their magic in action, listeners can catch them live as they continue to strut their stuff. Enjoy some good music before the summer is over!


Jam On.

Photo Credit: Juliet Rose