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Take Five with Black Tie Brass

Ryan McNulty By

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About Black Tie Brass:

Black Tie Brass is a horn driven jazz funk band. Lead by Ryan McNulty, most of the band met at college in New York and have been playing together since 2008 and formed BTB is 2013. We released our first self-titled album after a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014. We combine some of our favorite funk tunes with arranging pop songs in our own way along side our own originals. We want to keep you dancing and singing a song when you walk out. Our second album was released on January 19th, 2019. "Mostly Covered" has been a long time coming and is the culmination of years of growth. Black Tie Brass has been the backing band for numerous acts from Nick Tangorra to Robbie Rosen to Sal "The Voice" Valentinetti. BTB arranged, produced, and performed on Sal Valentinetti's "The Voice" EP which hit #1 on the iTunes and Amazon Jazz chart and Billboard Jazz chart. "The hunger of youth, the talent of experienced young musicians and their ability to meld together a truly unique, 21st Century jazz sound that would make the old school jazz Jedi council proud." —Neon Jazz

Instrument(s):

Black Tie Brass is made up of trumpet, saxophone, drums, bass, keyboards, and trombone.

Teachers and/or influences?

Some of our major influences are the RH Factor and Snarky Puppy. Roy Hargrove was thinking decades ahead with his sound and it was a real loss to the musical world with his passing a few months ago. Lettuce really informed our funk and made us realize that the idea of a long solo isn't dead with modern audiences so long as you keep it FUNKY. So much has gone into creating our instrumentation such as the great Art Blakey horn section of Freddie Hubbard, Curtis Fuller, and Wayne Shorter.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I played my first ska show. I was 15, at my high school, and up on stage for the first time playing music that wasn't classical or big band jazz. My first girlfriend was at the show and all of my friends at the time thought it was so cool. I thought to myself, "Alright, this is freaking awesome, where can I do more of this!?" That caused me to delve deeper into trombone and finding music that resonated with me and what I could sink my teeth into. Soon I stumbled on Fred Wesley and funk and jazz took control. After that I knew this is what I meant to do.

Your sound and approach to music:

My sound is definitely in your face. Without a singer, instrumental music can easily slip into smooth jazz or cerebral music. Not that either of those are a problem, we just create a brand of music made for a party and made for you to sing along with. Our live show is made to be loud, aggressive, and unavoidably infectious. That being said, we also have songs that make you bop along such as our new original tune, Sunshine. I wrote it about my dog and tried to capture the joy of her running around. Humans don't operate only in one lane so why should our music?

Your teaching approach:

Our teaching approach is to give you the jazz bug. To make you realize that jazz isn't dead and that it isn't some dissectible frog that is only to be studied. Jazz was dancing music. Somewhere along the way jazz became something cerebral and seemingly unapproachable to the non-jazz cat. We try to fuse those two worlds into a danceable heady blob. SING, DANCE, TRANSCRIBE our solos, but above all make it enjoyable to all people.

Your dream band:

Oh man this is a hard one and is going to get me in trouble. My dream band would probably be James Jamerson on bass, because you can't be more perfectly funky than that. Adam Deitch of Lettuce on drums because that man has the biggest ears. He directs the band and builds it up to some amazing peaks but still keeps such a deep pocket that you need a trail of breadcrumbs if you want to get out of there. Bobby Ray Sparks on keyboard, organ, or anything else he wants to play. That guy just has the funk residing inside of him!

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

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Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Mar3Sun
Black Tie Brass
Brooklyn Bowl
Brooklyn, NY
May11Sat
Black Tie Brass
Rockwood Music Hall
New York, NY

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