Black Tie Brass
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Black Tie Brass

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Jazz Funk




"Musicians of Queens: Black Tie Brass"

From the moment you put on one of Black Tie Brass’ songs, you are transported to a world of jazz and funk. This is not your typical genre band though. The seven-piece incorporates rock and hip-hop into its sound as well, creating a fresh chemistry that will keep you coming back for more.

Although the band itself only started in May 2013, its musicians have been playing together since September 2008. Trombonist Ryan McNulty, trumpeter Randolph Smith, saxophonist Mike Alvarez, guitarist Al Marino, keyboardist Jason Reese, bassist Charles Jourdan and drummer Glenn Chiarello all met at Long Island University C.W. Post through a jazz band.

The band’s unique blend of genres allows it to spread its wings and create a tight energy that any music lover can enjoy. It also gives them flexibility when putting together their live set, a mix of covers and originals.

“Our group sound has evolved from very straight forward jazz to an amalgamation of so many different styles,” McNulty said. “In one set, we can jump from Miles Davis to Stevie Wonder to Bruno Mars. In our own compositions, those changes happen in one song.”

Those compositions slowly evolve from the bare bones version that McNulty puts together. Each member of the band brings his personal style to the song, adding layer after layer until the track is complete.

Songs are also recorded as one take, rather than using the multi-track recording method. Black Tie Brass does this to capture the spontaneity of their sound.

“We actually want to capture the organic nature of the music we create,” Jourdan said. “Funk is not created in the studio. Funk is created on the spot as we go.”

That level of improvisation also comes through when the band plays live, with extended jams pushing the songs beyond their natural run time.

“Our favorite covers are definitely Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ and Average White Band’s ‘Pick Up the Pieces.’ They really show off our horn section and style,” McNulty said. “Each song sometimes takes 10 minutes live. I guess you can say that we really like to play!”

Black Tie Brass set up a Kickstarter to support the creation of their first full-length album. The record will have five tracks, with four originals and a cover of “Red Clay” by Freddy Hubbard. The money they raise will go towards studio time, mastering and packaging. Any leftover cash will be dedicated to promotion.

As of press time, the Kickstarter, which ends on Aug. 1, has raised $2,041, closing in on its goal of $2,300.

The members of the band grew up in Queens and were influenced by the Borough’s diversity, particularly in terms of music.

“It has affected our careers by being around so many different styles of music,” McNulty said. “For example, sitting in traffic on the LIE, you will hear different music from every car you are near.”

For more information on the band and news about its Kickstarter and tour dates, visit - Queens Tribune

"NPR Tiny Desk Contest"

Tiny Desk Contest Entrant: Black Tie Brass (Ryan McNulty, Randolph Smith, Mike Alvarez, Jason Reese, Charles Jourdan and Rafe Tangorra)
City: New Hyde Park, N.Y.
Original Song: “Oscar The Grouch”
Everyone loves a well-dressed gent in a suit and tie. But six of them, laying into a funk tune named after one of our favorite public-media stars? That’s something special. - NPR

"Black Tie Brass on Neon Jazz"

Neon Jazz Says:
"Black Tie Brass is an example of how jazz is alive and thriving in New York City .. and across America. The hunger of youth, the talent of experienced young musicians and their ability to meld together a truly unique, 21st Century jazz sound that would make the giants of the old school jazz jedi council proud .. These cats are here to stay and will thankfully evolve into a much deep, aged cuppa jazz drink. Cheers to Black Tie Brass .. " - Neon Jazz

"Steppin' Out with Black Tie Brass"

Stevie Wonder, Lettuce, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard and Bruno Mars are just some of the musicians covered by Long Island-based jazz-funk group Black Tie Brass. Founded in 2013 by trombonist Ryan McNulty, Black Tie Brass is capable of morphing from a jazz duo, trio or quartet to a 7-piece funk band depending on the style of the gig. The horn-driven collaborative includes elements of jazz, funk, R&B, soul, hip-hop and pop.

BTB—trombonist Ryan McNulty, MIke Alvarez on tenor saxophone, Jason Reese on keys, Al Marino on guitar, Charles Jourdan on bass, Randolph Smith on trumpet and Glenn Chiarrello on drums—is currently working on albums with a number of artists including (pop artist) Nick Tangorra, a’Mericana and Sal Valentinetti. The Brass invite you to celebrate their second anniversary when they perform their last show of the year at Club Groove in NYC on Saturday, November 28th. Expect to hear everything from powerful horns to soulful R&B and funk “all wrapped up in a jazz improvisation.”

Long Island Pulse: What music were you exposed to growing up? Who are your biggest influences?
Ryan McNulty: My parents played a lot of Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and musicals. I remember seeing a lot of Broadway shows as a kid and that combination of imagery with music, how the music enhances the acting, really left a big imprint on me. My biggest musical influences would be Snarky Puppy, Charles Mingus, Fred Wesley, Robert Glasper, Miles Davis and many others. So many great musicians have influenced us and helped to create our signature style.

Pulse: How did you get the name Black Tie Brass?
RM: We were brainstorming names for this group and trying to find something classy and new. We used to constantly dress in suits and some of us wore bow ties. So we combined our horn-led sound with our dressing style.

Pulse: Does the group’s improvisation make each performance unique?
RM: It is a constant dialogue on stage whether it’s verbal, or through our instruments, or even with hand signals. We might play the same tune each night but, depending on the emotions of the room or the band, it’s never the same. Everyone leaves it all out there on the stage. We play the same way for ten people as we do for ten thousand.

Pulse: What artists have you worked with in the studio? Are there both covers and originals on your debut record?
RM: We have worked with Dylan Hartigan, a’Mericana, Sal Valentinetti, Christina Kay, and Nick Tangorra. We’re in the middle of releasing three Disney covers with Christina Kay on vocals. I wrote four originals for our debut record and there were two covers: ‘Butterfly’ by Herbie Hancock and ‘The Chicken’ by Pee Wee Ellis.

Pulse: What are the demographics of your audience like—mainly jazz enthusiasts?
RM: Our demographic is actually shocking. We have such a wide range of people that it is astonishing to say the least. It goes from teenagers who like all the artists we play with to couples that have been married 60+ years and have heard all the jazz greats. It’s truly incredible and a testament to playing good music with great musicianship. If you have that, it doesn’t matter what you play, people will like it. - LI Pulse


Black Tie Brass - "Black Tie Brass"

Sal Valentinetti - The Voice EP

Nick Tangorra Band - "Dear Santa EP"
Nick Tamgorra Band - "One Step Closer"



Black Tie Brass is a horn driven jazz funk band. Most of the band has been playing together in one way or another since 2008 and formed BTB is 2013. We released our first self-titled album after a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014. We combine some of our favorite funk tunes with arranging pop songs in our own way along side our own originals. We want to keep you dancing and singing a song when you walk out. Black Tie Brass has been the backing band for numerous acts from Nick Tangorra to Robbie Rosen to Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti. BTB arranged, produced, and performed on Sal Valentinetti’s “The Voice” EP which hit #1 on the iTunes and Amazon Jazz chart and hit #2 on the Billboard Jazz chart. Our next album is in the works and will be hitting digital stores in the coming months! Thanks for checking us out and hope you dig the music.

Band Members