Emily Asher's Garden Party
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Emily Asher's Garden Party

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter




""A Good Time Was Had By All": Emily Asher's Garden Party at Radegast"

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MAY YOUR HAPPINESS INCREASE. Jazz: where "lives" is both noun and verb
PARTY at RADEGAST (Sept. 27, 2011)
Posted on October 13, 2011 | 2 Comments
Emily Asher certainly knows how to throw a party. And her brilliance isn’t a matter of laying in huge quantities
of blue corn chips and IPA, nor is it because of those cookies she bakes. In fact, Emily comes to the party with
little except her trombone, some sheet music, and her insistence that everyone have a good time and swing.
She accomplishes this nicely — and she’s also one of those musicians who seems to be growing and developing
before our eyes . . . not that she was a novice when I first encountered her!
For her midweek session at the Radegast Bierhalle in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Emily assembled her “Garden
Party,” a hot band despite its refined UK title. This version had our Ms. Asher on trombone / vocals; Bria
Skonberg on trumpet / vocals; Dan Levinson on clarinet / tenor; Kelly Friesen on string bass; Nick Russo on
banjo / guitar; Kevin Dorn on drums. And since it was a Wednesday during the two­week Dan Barrett
Celebratory East Coast Tour, Dan came uptown from his earlier gig with David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong
Centennial Band and brought the fiery clarinetist Pete Martinez with him.
Here are a goodly handful of video performances from that night at Radegast. Expert dancing provided by Sam
Huang and Michelle DeCastro — other dancers unidentified.
The Garden Party began with something fierce and New Orleanian — Jelly Roll Morton’s MILENBERG JOYS:1/16/13 “A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL”: EMILY ASHER’S GARDEN PARTY at RADEGAST (Sept. 27, 20…
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Then, the hot yet admonitory SOME OF THESE DAYS, with a Charleston beat:
Emily very sweetly offered a slow waltz­time HEY, LOOK ME OVER! — commenting that her father had taught
her the song when she was three, and she retains some of the choreography from her childhood. I find it
absolutely charming. (Thanks, Dad!):1/16/13 “A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL”: EMILY ASHER’S GARDEN PARTY at RADEGAST (Sept. 27, 20…
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And a perennial: ROYAL GARDEN BLUES:
I was embarrassed by my ignorance, having no idea of what this song was — but Emily told me in a kind way
that it was EMPEROR NORTON’S HUNCH. I think I have to take Remedial Turk Murphy over the summer:1/16/13 “A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL”: EMILY ASHER’S GARDEN PARTY at RADEGAST (Sept. 27, 20…
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NOBODY’S SWEETHEART NOW featured a harmonized vocal chorus from Emily and Bria, who remain our
For the last few numbers of the third set, Dan Barrett and Pete Martinez joined in (up until this point, they had
been enjoying the sounds) on an energetic but not­too­fast MUSKRAT RAMBLE (beginnig a compact Louis­
tribute, but all jazz is a Louis­tribute, isn’t it?):1/16/13 “A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL”: EMILY ASHER’S GARDEN PARTY at RADEGAST (Sept. 27, 20…
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Dan borrowed Bria’s trumpet for a nifty BIG BUTTER AND EGG MAN, and I thought, “Where else on the planet
could I hear Louis’ 1926 chorus played with such accuracy and fervor?”:
And we close this visit to Emily’s wonderful party with a sweet ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET, with
Bria back on trumpet and Dan on trombone, trading phrases:1/16/13 “A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL”: EMILY ASHER’S GARDEN PARTY at RADEGAST (Sept. 27, 20…
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"Emily Asher's Dreams Take Us Aloft"

Something good. And about time! It’s
trombonist / singer / composer / arranger /
bandleader Emily Asher’s debut CD, sweetly titled
Along with Emily, you will hear Wycliffe Gordon,
on sousaphone and trombone; Bria Skonberg,
trumpet, vocal; Philip Dizack, trumpet; Dan
Levinson, tenor sax, clarinet; William Anderson,
alto sax; Nick Russo, guitar, banjo; Gordon
Webster, piano; Kelly Friesen, bass; Rob Adkins,
bass; Kevin Dorn, drums; Rob Garcia, drums.
For those of you familiar with the hot New York
scene, those names are a guarantee of fine
swinging inventive jazz.
Much of the repertoire would appear to be “good
old good ones,” including SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET and SOMEDAY YOU’LL BE SORRY, but the CD is
anything but by­the­numbers. Emily is more than a fine trombonist and a sweetly winning singer: she is an
imaginative musician, so the CD doesn’t bog down in the same thing; every track is its own vignette.
It begins with a romping version of ORY’S CREOLE TROMBONE, which Emily delivers with a fine gutty fervor
(and her own version of a trombone cadenza). The soloists share Emily’s high­flying enthusiasm, and the
rhythm sections couldn’t be better. So the chestnuts have a delightful 2012 Condonite bounce and looseness.
The CD’s title comes from an Asher original — by Emily’s father — called LULLABY FOR A LITTLE ONE, on
which Miss Asher sings with winsome charm. (And she knows when to leave an audience wanting more: the
LULLABY is a delicious cameo, slightly over two minutes.) It’s followed by a New Orleans “second line” version
of CHANGES MADE, which would cause the sedentary to start dancing. The original SWEET PEA is part
cowboy­ballad, part rocking barcarolle, with touches of Fifties West Coast cool arranging. HEY, LOOK ME
OVER is Emily’s childhood party piece — which begins in an easy waltz­time before morphing into sleek swing
— that won me over when I saw her do it (with apt choreography) at Radegast. A streamlined EMPEROR
NORTON’S HUNCH has shed all its two­beat trappings, and bursts forth gracefully. SUNNY SIDE OF THE
STREET features the duet stylings of Asher and Skonberg — neatly warbling the hip variations I associate with1/16/13 EMILY ASHER’S DREAMS TAKE US ALOFT | JAZZ LIVES
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John Birks Gillespie — before the ensemble gives way to a piano / trombone duet. Emily’s original GREAT BIG
WALL will be the only song you know (I would guess) that mixes Latin rhythms and Middle Eastern tonalities.
Successfully, I must add. YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE begins with a slide guitar / trombone duet and then
blossoms, lyrically. MUSKRAT RAMBLE begins with the Hot Five introduction and rocks from the first note
(not too slow, not too fast, either) — with a splendidly tapping drum solo by Kevin Dorn in the middle.
SOMEDAY YOU’LL BE SORRY, taken at a brisk clip, is another trombone­piano outing, very delicate in its
earnestness, with a straight­from­the­shoulder vocal by Emily, taking the lyrics with a gentle seriousness that
would have pleased its creator. And the disc ends with LIMEHOUSE BLUES, a version that had the energy of
the World’s Greatest Jazz Band of fabled memory.
Nothing’s dull or forced on this CD: it’s one of those rare creations where you want to play it over again when it
I couldn’t attend Emily’s May 29 CD release party at Radegast — a true Garden Party, I hear — but the CD is its
own jubilant party. You can purchase one here – either as a digital download or a physical CD.
And the GP will be strolling around the New Jersey Jazz Society’s JAZZFEST on Saturday, June 16, which
begins at noon and ends at 9 PM. And when Emily and company need a rest, you can hear Jon Burr, Lynn
Stein, Andy Farber’s Swing Mavens featuring Champian Fulton, the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, the Tony
DeSare trio, Eddie Monteiro, Swingadelic, and more. Tickets can be ordered at 908.273.7827 or online at
Look out, world: here she comes! - JAZZ LIVES Blog by Michael Steinman

"The Jazz Scene June 14, 2012"

Jazzfest 2012
College of St. Elizabeth
2 Convent Rd., Morris Township, N.J., (908) 273-7827

Pretend you're watching David Letterman. Here are the Top Ten reasons to go to New Jersey this Saturday: (10) trombonist Emily Asher's Garden Party including (9) trumpeter Michael Davis, (8) banjo player Jared Engel and (7) headliner Wycliffe Gordon on sousaphone; (6) the sublimely entertaining, charismatic pianist and singer Tony DeSare; (5) a celebration of legendary jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli by his longtime bassist, Jon Burr, with guitarist (4) Howard Alden and (3) hot fiddle prodigy Jonathan Russell; (2) the combination of saxophonist Andy Farber and swinging singer Champian Fulton. And No. 1: a tie between Swingadelic (honoring three guys named Louis— Prima, Jordan and Armstrong) and feisty jazz accordionist Eddie Monteiro with his Shades of Brazil. These Jersey guys, they know how to make you an offer you can't refuse. - The Wall Street Journal

"The Jazz Scene May 24, 2012"

Emily Asher's Garden Party
Radegast Hall & Biergarten
113 N. Third St., Brooklyn, (718) 963-3973

Here's an authentic beer garden that's actually worth the shlep to Williamsburg, an out-of-the-way joint where hundreds of 20-somethings congregate nightly to guzzle hops, pig out on wienerschnitzel, and gyrate to a rotating roster of New Orleans-style and swing bands likewise comprising very young players. My favorite regular bands are the reed-playing Anderson Twins and trombonist Emily Asher's Garden Party, which is a deliberately prosaic name deviously calculated to describe a very exciting combo. In traditional jazz, the trombone comes closest to the human voice, although up to now it's rarely been cast as a distinctly female voice. On her new album, "Dreams May Take You," Ms. Asher plays with both grit and grace, cooing lovingly but firmly on Louis Armstrong's cautionary tale, "Someday You'll Be Sorry," then growling and barking like an obstinate chihuahua on the Latinate "Great Big Wall." - The Wall Street Journal

"Former Ballou music teacher performs regional jazz tour"

Published: 12/13/12 5:20 pm | Updated: 12/13/12 5:20 pm
Eight years ago, Emily Asher was just starting her music education career as a choir and band instructor at Ballou Junior High School in Puyallup.

It wasn’t long before she got the bug to travel to New York City and hit the big time with jazz greats like trumpeter Nicholas Payton and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon.

Asher, who plays jazz trombone, released her debut album this year titled “Dreams May Take You, with her New Orleans-flavored swing jazz band called Emily Asher’s Garden Party. The album also features Gordon.

She will begin a tour in the Seattle area Sunday, starting at The Century Ballroom, 915 E. Pine St., and rounding up Dec. 22 at The Conway Muse, 18444 Spruce St., in Conway.

“The musicians who are in this group are so versatile,” Asher said. “There isn’t any direction that I can’t take the band in.”

Asher is originally from Shoreline, north of Seattle, and she graduated from Shorewood High School in 1998. She discovered her love for music at the Burton Music Camp on Vashon Island, where she started out when she was 12 and became a camp counselor and teacher when she was 17.

Asher went to the University of Washington and completed a triple major with bachelor of arts and bachelor of music degrees in music education, and a bachelor of music degree in jazz studies.

“In high school, I thought I would move east to study music,” she said. “I knew that was my natural calling. I think I sort of put that in the back of my mind while I was studying music and pursuing my undergrad at UW.”

Asher’s father is a music educator, and he also played trombone when he was in high school and college.

“Since I was 6 or 7, I knew I wanted to play trombone,” Asher said. “We had one at the house. When I was little, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I started forming that identity.”

Asher said the trombone is the one instrument that is “closest to the human voice.”

“It is really expressive,” she said. “There are no keys or valves. You can do virtually anything in a song-like style. It’s a real communicative instrument.”

After she worked as a paraprofessional and taught jazz band at Newport High School in Bellevue, Asher was at Ballou from 2004-07.

“I taught the concert band and jazz band, and, in my first year, co-taught choir with Dan Davison,” Asher said.

Davison still teaches choir at Ballou and is in his 34th year in the Puyallup School District.

“From Day 1, Emily was a real go-getter,” Davison said. “She was full of energy and confidence. She had very good trombone skills and very good jazz skills. Her jazz skills were good enough where we she actually recorded some vocal parts for some recordings I had done.”

Although Davison said it was sad to see Asher leave to pursue her dreams in New York, he added he’s happy she’s accomplishing her goals to perform.

“I knew that Emily wanted to pursue a career in New York,” Davison said. “And it sounds like she has been successful.”

Asher said one of her long-term goals with her band is to visit schools across the country and to bring her New Orleans-style jazz to perform clinics for aspiring students.

“This style of music is simply fun to play,” she said. “It is appealing to an enormous audience. It is joyful, and it has a really broad appeal.”

Concert Tour

• 9 p.m. to midnight Sunday, The Century Ballroom, 915 E. Pine St., $15 for all ages

• 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Monday, Tula’s Jazz Club, 2214 2nd Ave., $15 general, $8 students. All ages until 10 p.m.

• 7 p.m. Tuesday, Boxley’s, 101 W. North Bend Way, North Bend, all ages.

• 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, The Royal Room, 5000 Rainier Ave. S. All ages until 10 p.m.

• 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 22, The Conway Muse, 18444 Spruce St., Conway, $15 for all ages.

Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at andrew.fickes@puyallupherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/12/12/2399357/former-ballou-music-teacher-performs.html#storylink=cpy - Puyallup Herald- The News Tribune

"Annual New Jersey Jazz Society Jazzfest returns with emphasis on young performers"

Young musicians will bring fresh energy to this year’s Jazzfest at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station. Violin wunderkind Jonathan Russell, who is barely 17, takes the prize for youngest performer at Saturday’s daylong event, though trumpeter Michael Davis, 21, and vocalists Vanessa Perea, 24, and Champian Fulton, 26, aren’t far behind.

“There’s an undeniable movement of incredibly passionate, young musicians who want to play this music,” says trombonist Emily Asher, 31. “That sense of community and joy — there’s something magical about it.”

Asher’s Garden Party, a quartet of Brooklynites who play 1920s hot jazz, performs at Jazzfest for the second year in a row, by popular demand. Frank Mulvaney, president of the New Jersey Jazz Society, recruited Asher for the festival after hearing her play at Sophie’s Bistro in Somerset.

“Our intent is to move people, both emotionally and physically,” says Asher. “I try to keep this music joyful, accessible and danceable, yet also expand it.” - NJ.com Independent Press

"Emily’s Asher’s Garden Party plays Morristown's Bickford Theatre on Oct. 3"

Emily Asher is a recent arrival from the West Coast, but the young trombonist is clearly going places. Her recent appearances at the New Jersey Jazz Society’s JazzFest (where she led the intermission band literally stopping people in their tracks!) and Morristown’s Jazz and Blues Festival (playing with Baby Soda) have won raves from fans, who understandably want more.
The decade old Bickford Jazz Showcase will feature Emily Asher’s Garden Party an expanded version of her JazzFest band of the same name for the first time on Monday evening, Oct. 3. The 8 p.m. concert at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown, runs as one extended set, without interruption, until about 9:30 p.m., allowing people to prepare for work the next morning.

Seats are still only $15 in advance, going to $18 at the door. Tickets are sold on site, but are best purchased by phone in advance, avoiding a queue that night. Calling the box office at 973-971-3706 facilitates credit card purchases. Those unfamiliar with the hall’s location may request that a “jazz map” be sent.

This is the third concert installment in the Bickford Jazz Showcase’s Fall Offensive, an intensive schedule of concerts fitted into the holiday laden season. Six more concerts follow in close order, featuring established stars and rapidly emerging talents in the field of classic jazz.
Emily Asher is awash with musical credentials. Originally from Seattle and after only a short time in the New York area, she has worked with such notables as Nicholas Payton, Branford Marsalis, Ed Polcer, Cynthia Sayer and Dan Levinson. She is heard on a new Louis Armstrong tribute CD with headliner Wycliffe Gordon, another trombonist with an international following.
She appears regularly in regional appearances and on tour with groups such as Baby Soda, the Grand Street Stompers and Tuba Skinny, the last based in New Orleans. For this initial Bickford date, she has filled out the band with excellent choices. Trumpet sensation Bria Skonberg and reed maestro Dan Levinson join her in the front line, while the superb rhythm section consists of pianist Gordon Webster, bassist Kelly Friesen and drummer Kevin Dorn. Oddly enough, all are familiar to Bickford audiences except Emily Asher herself. - NJ.com Independent Press


Full length Album "Dreams May Take You" (2012)




The Wall Street Journal describes Emily Asher's Garden Party as "a deliberately prosaic name deviously calculated to describe a very exciting combo."

Traditional New Orleans three-horn front line of trumpet, trombone and reeds, a hard swinging rhythm section and solo and group vocals create a rich musical sound and vibrant show for all audiences. Packed with virtuosity and personality, Garden Party delights all ages from small children to WWII veterans and everything in between. Led by Emily Asher's tenacious trombone and sweet vocals, this band of all-stars from New York City's vibrant early jazz scene draws on a diverse repertoire from Louis Armstrong's enchanting Hot Fives and Duke Ellington's sophisticated melodies to the funky and soulful music of New Orleans brass bands.

Louis Armstrong biographer Ricky Riccardi writes "This is not repertory music filled with recreations of the past but ...illustrate that these musicians are comfortable building on what the master’s left them."

"As a trombonist, her tone is warm and smooth... but she’s not afraid to mix it up in the ensembles, showing a natural gift for the joys of polyphonic improvisation. As a singer, Asher’s voice is unfailingly sweet and earnest, one created for music such as this."

Before forming Garden Party, Emily Asher performed extensively in the US and Israel with Brooklyn based Baby Soda Jazz band, toured North America with the ground-breaking Mighty Aphrodite Jazz Band and Europe with New Orleans’ Tuba Skinny. Emily has performed at small private events for Kofi Anan, Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw and distinguished foreign diplomats. Emily recorded and performed with Wycliffe Gordon on his “Hello Pops!” tribute to Louis Armstrong, and is a member of Nicholas Payton’s Television Studio Orchestra. Her bold, expressive style has led to sharing the stage with Branford Marsalis, Frank Wess, Anat Cohen and many others. Emily’s debut album, Dreams May Take You featuring Wycliffe Gordon, Philip Dizack, Bria Skonberg and seven other outstanding musicians, was officially released April 15, 2012.  June 6, 2013 marked the release of Garden Party’s six song EP: Carnival of Joy! a celebration of Hoagy Carmichael which the Wall Street Journal called a “superior album.” Emily Asher’s Garden Party performed overseas for the first time at the Super Jazz Ashdod International Jazz Festival in Israel in early October 2013.  Garden Party's new full length CD MEET ME IN THE MORNING will be released in the Spring of 2015.

Band Members