New York, NY – January 12, 2017 – Philadelphia’s noted neo-swing master Drew Nugent will be playing a rare solo gig to preview his upcoming album I’ll Never Be the Same at Rockwood Music Hall’s Stage 1 on February 1 at the cocktail friendly time of 6pm. The show is free and open to the public, but press RSVPs to email@example.com are encouraged.
For Nugent, playing a gig isn’t just about music. It’s about taking a step back in time. Stride pianist, trumpeter and vocalist, he recreates the music of a bygone era—playing what has been coined HOT Jazz—which was popular from 1897 to 1935. “In essence, it’s jazz in its original form,” says Nugent, “the original American pop music.”
But he does it in its own eclectic way. The tunes, the clothes and even the instruments are all authentic. Nugent dons vintage classic suits and tuxedos. The 29-year-old Blue Bell, PA native says he came up with the concept from watching old movies with his dad. “I was blown away by the style of these old jazz icons, like Louis Armstrong,” said Nugent. “I’ve always loved dressing up, and wondered, why aren’t we all wearing suits anymore?”
So where does he find the vintage instruments? Nugent combs thrift stores, antique marts and the internet to find these gems, like the goofus, a toy saxophone with push buttons, a novelty instrument from the 1920’s. Or, you might find him playing a hot tea kettle that’s outfitted with a cornet mouthpiece in the spout!
Nugent (no relation to rocker Ted Nugent) says he loves all music, but this young musician with an old soul says “There’s something about THIS style of music that still “makes me tingle, makes me cry and laugh. It literally puts me under a spell.”
I’ll Never Be the Same, Drew’s first solo record in a decade, is comprised of fifteen original compositions and unique takes on classic jazz numbers from early twentieth century. The record was encouraged and produced by Peter Evans, a Philadelphia musician whose passion both for Drew’s talent and his take on a bygone era is evidenced in the pair’s friendship. When asked what attracted him to Drew, he said: “When you listen to Drew play, you know how important it all is to him – you’ll get that lightning rod connection into a 1930s speakeasy. That’s a rare thing and Drew is a unique professor of history in that way.”
Nugent’s mission is to introduce a new generation to a forgotten time in jazz. “No one is doing what I’m doing,” said Nugent. “I want to keep the true spirit of Hot Jazz alive, from my approach to playing and improvising, right down the line to dressing in vintage suits. It’s not a costume or uniform as much as it’s a way of life.”