Trombonist and pianist Brian Drye is an integral part of NYC’s creative music scene. His debut as a leader, Bizingas was hailed as “one of the best introductions to a new band” by The New York Times. As a founding member of the eclectic chamber ensemble “The Four Bags”, his compositions have premiered at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space and BAM Brooklyn.
Brian has been a consistent member of the lower brass sections of balkan brass juggernauts Slavic Soul Party! and Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars, Banda De Los Muertos, a Mexican Banda, The Brooklyn Qwaali Party dedicated to the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn and the Brazilian groups Maracatu NY and Nation Beat. These diverse influences from Eastern Europe to the Northeast of Brazil and beyond have had a lasting influence on Brian’s approach to improvisation and composition.
As a jazz trombonist Brian has performed with Hank Roberts Sextet, Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee, Medeski Martin and Wood, Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob), jazz legend Clark Terry, Andrew D’Angelo’s DNA Big Band, Kirk Knuffke Quartet w/ Bill Goodwin and Mark Helias, Petr Cancura’s Down Home (Mississippi Roots), Marcus Rojas’s Brass Band, Matt Darriau's Jewish Jazz Project and the Wood Brothers. Brian has performed with celebrated experimental composer Annie Gosfield, performance artist Laurie Anderson and was featured in Andy Biskin’s Goldberg Variations at BAM as well as Bang On A Can's 25th Anniversary Celebration at Lincoln Center with the Asphalt Orchestra. In 2016 Brian made his theatre debut, performing trombone in the cast of Hadestown at the New York Theatre Workshop.
Brian spent his formative years touring the nation with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, crooner Paul Anka and The Four Tops. He has performed and recorded on both piano and trombone with Tony award winner Stew (Passing Strange) from Stew and the Negro Problem.
In 2008, Brian developed a multi purpose performance and rehearsal space, Ibeam Brooklyn which has become a home for creative music in the burgeoning arts and entertainment scene in Gowanus. Through Ibeam Brooklyn, Brian has hosted a who’s who in the downtown and creative music scene, providing a home for up and coming and established artists. Since 2013, Brian has performed weekly as the jazz pianist in the Crooked Trio at Barbes Brooklyn. Each week features an eclectic array of special guests and regularly includes Oscar Noriega and Matt Pavolka.
Current projects as a leader and collaborator include
- Bizingas (Ches Smith, Jonathan Goldberger, Kirk Knuffke, Hank Roberts, guest)
- The Four Bags (Mike McGinnis, Sean Moran, Jacob Garchik)
- Trio Love Call (Hank Roberts and Ches Smith)
- Brian Drye Trio (Matt Pavolka, Jeff Davis)
- Gafieira Trio (Rob Curto, Dennis Bulhoes, Scott Kettner)
- Solo Trombone
- Knuffke & Drye (Kirk Knuffke)
- Drye & Drye (Howard Drye, Vinnie Sperrazza, Mike McGinnis, Jeff Hermanson, Dan Fabrictore)
Teaching Artist Bio:
For over a decade, Brian has been a teaching artist for Carnegie Hall where he has worked across the city in partnerships as diverse as Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Perlman American Roots Program and Arts Achieve. He is a teaching artist for The Little Orchestra Society, where he has developed resources for students to experience composition and Bridge Arts which brings high quality music and workshops to underserved areas in upstate NY. Brian has developed community workshops in homeless shelters, prisons, museums and underserved schools where he focuses on composition and improvisation as a tool for opening creativity and building community. At Carnegie Hall he developed and filmed resources for the Music Educators Toolkit (an online resource for music teachers). In 2016 Brian joined the Juilliard School as a music specialist where he facilitates music educators in implementing a Juilliard based curriculum in their schools. Brian offers professional development for teachers in composition, engagement and creative practice. For over 18 years, Brian has maintained a private studio for trombone, piano and theory to students of all ages and experience.
Brian recently joined the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music the as a the Program Director of the Community Music School where he is in charge of lessons, classes and ensembles for students ages 0-100.