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Flowing freely between funky instrumentals, dreamy lullabies, and soul/blues inflected songs, Bottom Heavy is the “smoldering” band (Downbeat) fronted by cellist and singer Marika Hughes. With supple vocals, the classically trained cellist eases through jazz, funk, soul, rock, and back again. Fiercely authentic and a mesmerizing storyteller, she treats her audience like an old friend invited along for the fabulous ride.
In addition to Hughes, the band includes Charlie Burnham (violin/voice), Kyle Sanna (guitar), Fred Cash (bass), and Tony Mason (drums). Bottom Heavy is a regular at prestigious New York clubs and venues and counts among its influences artists like Gil-Scott Heron, Roberta Flack, Don Pullen, Charles Mingus, and The Staple Singers. The band’s debut album, New York Nostalgia, released in early 2016, was praised for its “brilliance” (Downbeat) and “joyful noise at the intersection of classical, jazz, and experimental avenues” (All About Jazz). Individually, each member of the band has played with an eclectic array of musicians, including Whitney Houston, John Scofield, Cassandra Wilson, James Blood Ulmer, Darlene Love, D’Angelo, Adele, Brooklyn Rider, Yo-Yo Ma, Bill Sims Jr., David Byrne, and Alicia Keyes.