Sunday Session’s at New Park Brewery, proved once again to be good for the soul, Neo-soul to be exact. Erica T. Bryan and the New Mosaic laid down a soulful experience of authentic r&b tunes, funky vibes, and jazzy solos. Largely consisting of University of Hartford graduates, fresh on the local scene, the group plays a beautiful mix of originals and covers with classic Neo-soul roots. With the seemingly effortless blend of vocal timbre, rhythm, and soothing textures, this quartet is one to watch out for.
The rhythm section, comprised of Tom Sullivan (Bass/Bass Synth), Mike Carabello (Keys), and Dwayne Keith (Drums), mesh with impeccable timing. Delivering solid grooves without sacrificing the spontaneity so rare in today’s music, Erica T. Bryan and The New Mosaic prove that the art of groove is not only still fresh and alive, but evolving within the New England scene. With Mike Carabello’s deviously relaxed voicings, Tom Sullivan’s tasty bass licks locked subtly behind the beat, and Dwayne Keith’s grooving, modern rhythm, the stage is set for true artistry.
Speaking with Erica T. Bryan, who also heads Connecticut based funk group,West End Blend, alongside bassist Tom Sullivan, the talented vocalist explains she takes influence from strong female artists. These include such prominent artists as Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Sade, Chaka Khan, Sarah Vaughan and even Esperanza Spalding. “I tend to be more inspired by female leads,” she explains, and it shows in such original tunes as “Follow You” where one can hear the lineage of Spalding’s r&b/jazz sound from her debut album, the delicate precision of Jill Scott, and and the power of Chaka Khan. A University of Hartford graduate herself, Erica duel majored in jazz studies and composition, stating that the crossover between the more classical based composition major with jazz studies only enhanced her music education. When asked what she felt was the most important thing a musician can do to thrive in the industry, “Go to shows,” is what she replies, “It’s so invaluable, you can talk about music all you want, you can jam with your friends, but you need to see what other people are doing, rack up your influences!”
If you had to describe the Erica T. Bryan and The New Mosaic’s sound as a whole, it’s a bit like hearing the heart of J. Dilla’s jazz/hip hop sound, with Robert Glasper’s electric keyboard like textures, and with grooving bass. Erica’s voice floats on top of it all, demanding attention as the heart of the group while curiously lending a simultaneous contribution to the rhythm section as an equal member - a truly difficult feat to achieve, yet it is one in which the sound doesn’t come off as derivative or forced. On the contrary, the group’s effortless mix of talents could lead many a seasoned jazzer to assume the group had been playing together for decades.
You can catch the band at La Boca on Feb 20, and On March 6th at Art House Tavern alongside special guest Chad B. Springer (from Phat A$stronaut). Erica T. Bryan and The New Mosaic drops their new single “Out of Body” February 11th and a new EP is expected in March.
To find more information about their future performances, recordings, and gear, check out the band’s social:
Photography: Shae Fontana