Juke Joint Jelis is a new and exciting group which features Brianna Thomas on vocals and Greg Lewis on Hammond Organ. We are thrilled to feature them in our Fourth Anniversary Music Fest!
Acclaimed singer Brianna Thomas joins forces with the Organ Monk himself, Greg Lewis for a night of blues and jazz stylings sure to be nonpareil!
Brianna Thomas' singing is deeply enriched by an understanding of the masterful voices of jazz past. Beyond a healthy serving of sass, Sarah Vaughn’s influence contributes to Brianna’s style the artistic savvy needed to communicate myriad moods and feelings as well as a keen instrumental perspective. Add to that a coyness reminiscent of Nancy Wilson, an Ella-esque skill and enthusiasm for scatting, and the stylistic breadth and vocal grandeur evocative of Dianne Reeves. Perhaps Brianna’s greatest asset is the soulfulness of her sound. Captivatingly unique, her sound moves in tones ranging from sweet invitations to assured convictions, establishing a personal and classic quality that leaves listeners swooning after her performances.
Brianna has blazed a path in the world of jazz and continues a stellar ascent. Ben Ratliff of the New York Times puts it this way: ”a strong voice and a big range, descended from Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter and routed through Dianne Reeves, with clarity and confidence and a little dirt.”
Greg Lewis (Organ Monk) "is an organist of commanding aplomb and rugged counterintuition, has now released four albums dedicated to the compositions of Thelonious Monk. On his instrument, notes swell past their boundaries; it doesn’t allow for the kind of clumpy, abraded harmonies that tend to define Monk’s music (especially when you’re using a hefty charge of distortion, as Mr. Lewis does). So he has to pry these tunes apart and solder them together with simpler and bolder harmonies. On “Organ Monk Blue,” Mr. Lewis’s newest disc, he takes on Monk’s blues (and blues-adjacent) compositions with help from the outré guitar master Marc Ribot and the pliable drummer Jeremy Clemons, known as Bean. On the opening track, Mr. Lewis turns “Green Chimneys” — a Monk classic — into a reggae shuffle. Where Monk used to press up against the front of these notes, articulating them a tad before the beat, Mr. Lewis drags back against the flow, exchanging crimped jabs with Mr. Ribot and soloing in short, punchy bursts until he hits a cruising altitude around the 2:00 mark." - Gioavanni Russonello / NY Times