Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Brothers strut back to scene of their first gig

FUNK and jazz band Brother Strut are returning to the scene of their first ever gig.

FUNK and jazz band Brother Strut are returning to the scene of their first ever gig.

The octet — who were founded by Henley-based saxophonist Stevie Jones at the end of 2013 — will be performing at the Bowery District in Friar Street, Reading, on Saturday, July 11.

They say they’re hoping for a sell-out — and if the band’s recent history is anything to go by, they may well achieve it.

Since they first hit the stage in April last year they’ve played to capacity crowds at venues around the country, including London’s Camden Jazz Café.

Next spring they’re embarking on a 10-date tour of New Zealand and will also be headlining at legendary Soho haunt Ronnie Scott’s.

It’s an impressive start for a band who’ve built their name entirely through word of mouth and their own efforts on social media.

They regularly film themselves performing new songs and share them with their fans, who now number more than 90,000 on Facebook.

One such effort — a reggae-inspired rearrangement of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud — has been viewed more than a million times.

Brother Strut is made up entirely of top-flight session musicians who between them have played with the likes of Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Elton John, Sting, George Michael, Robbie Williams, Tina Turner, Christina Aguilera and Amy Winehouse.

The group started out as a six-piece instrumental group with guest vocalists but have since recruited full-time singer Sam Tanner and percussionist Karl Vanden-Bossche.

They released their debut album First Strut Is The Deepest last year and are now recording a follow-up at Stevie’s home studio and Henwood Studios in Benson.

Stevie said: “We’re working very hard at the moment on the next album as well as making more content for our Facebook page.

“I did tag Ed in the cover we recorded but unfortunately he hasn’t seen it yet — I guess he probably gets contacted by people online every few seconds.

“We’re now at the stage where we’re filling venues with a 400 or 500 capacity and we’re hoping to go even bigger next year.

“Ronnie Scott’s is a bit smaller but it’s very prestigious so we’re looking forward to that. You have to be approached by them to play, so it’s a big deal for us.

“We’ve got this far through our online stuff. That’s all we do to get our name out there — I don’t pay anyone for any other kind of marketing.

“People really enjoy the songs we put up and tell us at gigs that it’s the reason they’ve come to see us.

“We’ve started selling merchandise and see lots of people showing up in our T-shirts. It’s very encouraging as we’re still a young band — in terms of how long we’ve been together, at least!”

Brother Strut’s Reading gig starts at 7pm and tickets are £20 in advance from

James Burton

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