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Jazz Musician Brian Newman is Enjoying the Return of Live Concerts with the likes of Lady Gaga

Brian Newman.jpg
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Brian Newman is best known for his numerous performances with Lady Gaga

Venue owners & promoters have been scrambling to revive the flow of live entertainment as the summer comes to an end. Whether it’s the delta variant, government restrictions or nationwide reluctance to be amongst people, everyone’s moving with caution. I spoke with American jazz musician, singer, and trumpet player Brian Newman about how it feels to perform for a real audience again.

"The biggest part of music for me is making people feel like they’re a part of our show. So it’s a big deal to have that interaction you know. Even if it’s just eyes.In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Las Vegas, the State of Nevada mandated that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor settings."

"In Vegas it’s a Little different. Like we were just saying we were just in New York and we played we played Radio City for 6000 people with no masks on. We were with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, a 40 piece Orchestra. There was heavy testing. We were getting tested every other day."

Even with all of the covid-19 rules in place, the musician decided to give Nevada a gift by launching “Brian Newman After Dark” in Vegas before heading back to the east coast.

"It’s like we’re bringing New York to Las Vegas. It’s the band from New York. it’s my wife, she’s a wonderful, amazing burlesque dancer, she dances with us. And then we have a lot of special guests from Vegas & LA. Amazing musicians that’s passing through town. We had everybody from Ashanti to Lady Gaga to Robby Krieger from the doors to Terence Blanchard who did all the soundtracks for all those Spike Lee movies. He’s just an amazing cat, he’s done so much more than that too. He’s one of my favorites. To have those kind of cats come down and want to sit in with and want to be a part of that. It’s means alot."

Although he’s performed with jazz legends & pop stars, according to Brian, he STILL hasn’t “made it” and has a long way to go. With such accolades and the privilege to work with his wife, burlesque superstar, Angie Pontani, one might say his life is pretty good.

"Oh yes yes it is good. Even though sometimes she wants to kill me, we always have a good time.After a year of virtual performances, the world is ready for some good live entertainment. “Brian Newman After Dark” performed August 27 in Atlantic City.

"We played with with Stevie Wonder on “Songs in the Key of Life”. And he lives in Vegas he comes out and sits with us with his son and his daughters coming back this weekend to sing. You know it’s just like that kind of stuff. You never know who’s going to show up and it’s always and it’s always spontaneous it’s always good. And no matter how many times you come, you’ll always getting a different show.

For WBGO Journal, I’m James Frazier.

This feature is part of the Newark News & Story Collaborative made possible with funding support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Victoria Foundation. The Newark News and Story Collaborative trains community members in storytelling, media-making, and other creative art forms to share and amplify their experiences. It’s laying the groundwork for a collaborative network that will address longstanding information inequities in Newark, New Jersey. For more information and stories, visit newarkstories.com.