Second Place: Samson Trinh and the Upper East Side Big Band
Third Place: David Esleck Trio
One of Richmond’s favorite party starters, the No BS Brass band, has the most recognizable logo of any band in the city, save maybe Gwar. Founded in 2006 by Reggie Pace (Bon Iver, Fight the Big Bull) the 11-piece group has earned raves and write-ups around the country for its “hot, irrepressible blast of brass and canyon-like grooves” (Spin Magazine). Locals know they bring it every night, no matter where they’re playing. Samson Trinh and the Upper East Side Big Band is another visible group that turned heads with a lovely Christmas album last year that grew from a Kickstarter project. Trinh is also helping spread his love of ukulele music around town as a teacher and performer. And a notable University of Richmond music instructor and pianist, David Esleck and his trio, also stand out to voters. Esleck, who was once complimented by Frank Zappa and told that he was “in the trenches … doing the real work,” has performed with Hollywood stars and musicians such as Tony Bennett and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, but you can catch his trio around town in intimate spots such as the Tin Pan listening room.