Material: What you are getting from the Brenna Bavis Band is not a purely blues act. Almost their entire set consists of original tunes written by Bavis and DeNigris, the latter of whom has a jazz background, which helps explain why songs like “Sittin’ Pretty” and “Always The New Gal” fall somewhere between Steely Dan and Dave Matthews Band. “King of Love” is a new song in the band’s repertoire and proves to be the highlight of the show. The song features an interesting lyric refrain and strong guitar hook.
Musicianship: The finales are tight, with subtle fade outs, and the group brings down their dynamics appropriately to spotlight Estes and Bavis as needed, which gives the music space to breathe. Estes is a little low in the mix at first, but recovers as the show progresses. Conversely, the tones from DeNigris and Carrico aren’t too hot as they consistently take turns trading instrumental solos. The distortion peaks a little bit on “I'm Already Perfect,” but Carrico offers nice counterpoint work to DeNigris on “Hold Me.” Brooks incorporates interesting time changes that work well with DeNigris’ style.
Performance: There is no question that Bavis definitely poured more than a hundred percent of effort into her performance. She received a standing ovation and deservedly so! Bavis worked the stage with DeNigris and took the time to introduce her band as each member gave their succinct solos. She expertly adjusted her microphone as needed to accommodate her powerhouse vocals throughout the evening. Brenna Bavis was truly a sight to behold and she playfully curtsied at the conclusion.
Summary: The Brenna Bavis Band admits to only playing together for a year, but you couldn’t guess it. The performance is top notch, and just a little fine-tuning will take it even further. The key here seems to be allowing Bavis’ vocals be the showcase. A few compositional adjustments could be made to bring those out more on certain songs. Specifically, songs like “I’m Already Perfect” don’t seem to fit with the rest of the set, due to both style and tempo. There is certainly potential evidenced by a strong chorus and hook that could be developed further. By contrast, “Hold Me” works nicely by spotlighting her vocals within the composition of the song.
The Players: Brenna Bavis, vocals; Cecil Brooks III, drums; Eric Estes, bass; Cary DeNigris, guitar; Matt Carrico, guitar.
Photo by Rachel Jaeger