“There’s a lot of improvisation in jazz; you’re always ‘in the moment’,” Brian says. “I can play the same song five nights a week and play it differently every time… depending on how we feel and how I count off.” Those little details change everything– a leopard-print Paul Smith tie against the matte black backdrop of a bespoke Robert James suit, the distinctive “Cuban heel” on a pair of Giorgio Brutini Beatle boots, or his favorite vintage Cadillac-logo tie tack — and make every sartorial performance unique. Completely considered when it comes to just about everything, Brian still uses the 1937 trumpet he bought from a grade school teacher because of how much “rounder” the sound is compared to one more recently-made. Even when the modern does intrude on Brian’s vintage universe — when he’s not preparing his Italian grandmother’s classic recipes, he blends a decidedly 21st century smoothie of spinach, fruits, wheatgrass, and aloe vera — he does it with the confidence of a guy who knows his place in the world’s orchestra.
At twelve, Brian was hanging out in Cincinnati with giants, men that had shared a stage with legends like Count Basie, like the drummer Jon Von Ohlen and veteran pianist Ed Moss. “I was always around music– I picked up the trumpet at nine years old,” he says, “Because I thought it would be easy. It only had three buttons.” By the time he was fourteen he was making his debut in the Cleveland jazz scene, playing for packed clubs. For Brian, timelessness is everything– Cole Porter, George Gerswhin and the Great American Songbook never age. Neither does the Rat Pack swagger of Frank Sinatra. “Either you’ll see me in jeans and a t-shirt, or a suit… classic man stuff,” Brian says, behind his cool-as-ice black shades. His left arm is a sleeve full of traditional, old-school tattoos; “Sailor Jerry-like,” he says. The most prominent tattoo was also his first, modeled on a lion-head ring with diamond eyes given to him by his father which he wears on his pinky, like one of his mentors might have. In a charcoal handmade pinstripe suit from Against Nature and Swank cufflinks pulled right from the 50s, like his love of storytelling through music, the elegance of the “old guys” lives on in Brian. “On stage,” Brian reflects, “you lose sense of what time it is and what era it is.”