Ernest Stuart | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
The Key Studio Sessions: Ernest Stuart
It’s always a treat when we get to dip our toes into Philly’s vibrant jazz scene, and thankfully Ernest Stuart makes it really easy for us. The Philly trombonist’s highest-pofile gig is in the bhangra beat dance ensemble Red Baraat, with whom he tours heavily (they’re about to go out on a late summer / early fall US run), but without a doubt his most significant one is the Center City Jazz Festival, which he founded in 2012. At this year’s event, you could spot Stuart bouncing from venue to venue throughout the day, culminating in a grand finale of a set where he and his quartet tore down the stage at Time and had onlookers watching from the sidewalks of Sansom Street. Because, oh yeah, Stuart is a composer and solo artist in addition to everything else he’s got on his plate.
This week, Stuart and his band – Josh Nussbaum on guitar, Lionel Forrester Jr. on drums, Jon Smith on bass – played a set for the Key Studio Sessions showcasing both of his EP releases. The driving and funky “BMJ” as well as the spacey and contemplative “Okay, One More For Razzy” come from 2014’s LOVE / LOSS, while the cool and cosmopolitan flavor of “British Girl” can also be heard on this year’s Same Walking Animals. In addition, Stuart and the band worked in something that’s become a staple of their live show: a funked-up, fantastic interpretation of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that opens the set.
Listen to his Key Studio Sessions performance below, and grab a free download here, via the WXPN Soundcloud page. Stuart and his band are scheduled to play a free set at the Key’s Waterfront Sessions at Spruce Street Harbor Park tomorrow night, but with the forecast calling for highly likely thunderstorms, that might not happen. (UPDATE: it’s not happening, the show has been canceled due to rain. Sad face.)
If it doesn’t – fear not, Stuart tells us he and the band will be back in Philly for a gig in October, and you can keep tabs on his webpage for details.