Critcal Acclaim & Press Coverage

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Accolades for JC Hopkins Biggish Band

“The combination of pianist-bandleader JC Hopkins and vocalist Queen Esther expertly recapture the vitality and energy of Harlem jazz and blues of 70 years ago without slavishly imitating anyone and are thus a perfect fit.”— Wall Street Journal

queen-esther-jc-hopkins-mintons

“At Minton’s, you’re part of the choir. There’s this part in “Moanin'” where—not in the original version but in this one, arranged by JC Hopkins and which his band, JC Hopkins’ Biggish Band, plays—the horn section shouts out, call-and-response style. This night, we get in on it, too. Bum be de BOMP. HEY! Be dop bop be da BOMP. HEY! Bum be de BOMP. HEY! And it’s not anger any longer, but joy.” – ESQUIRE MAGAZINE

The birthplace of bebop, Minton’s on 118th Street, has been reborn as a venue that is as classy as it is historic. The combination of pianist-bandleader JC Hopkins and vocalist Queen Esther expertly recapture the vitality and energy of Harlem jazz and blues of 70 years ago without slavishly imitating anyone and are thus a perfect fit.” – THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“It turned out that the band was also doing a tribute to Billie Holiday, 2015 being the centenary of her birth and, as Hopkins explained, because she had a special connection to Minton’s: “She was a felon in New York, so they took away her performer’s license, but she could play here because she was jamming and didn’t get paid for it.” So with Hopkins at the piano, the band swung and bopped behind three wonderful vocalists through the Billie Holiday songbook, including superb readings of “God Bless the Child” and “What a Little Moonlight Can Do”. Music created in another age that remains as affecting today must be regarded as serious art, and that was what I heard from JC Hopkins at Minton’s.” – FINANCIAL TIMES

“JC Hopkins Biggish Band fills Minton’s long narrow room with brassy bebop evoking the spirits of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus who all played at Minton’s original incarnation. –HUFFINGTON POST

 “Hopkins writes swinging material tailor made for a vacuum tube radio, and is delivered with timeless flair by the lead singer, Queen Esther. – THE NEW YORKER

Sylvia Plachy's beautiful photo of Queen Esther and JC from the Sept 12, 2005 New Yorker Magazine.
“The JC Hopkins Biggish Band feature some of New York’s finest musicians.”
— NEW YORK TIMES

“The band has evident internal rapport, and sports some fine soloists…a gem of American Jazz.” — INDIANAPOLIS STAR

“Smokin’.” — NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

“…check them out, so you can say you saw them when they were merely biggish, as opposed to huge!” — TIME OUT NEW YORK

 

“Top-level talent.” — ALL ABOUT JAZZ

 

“There’s just too much good feeling about these performances not to be caught up in them.” — JAZZITUDE

And about Underneath A Brooklyn Moon:

“The tunes here are all originals and the lyrical matter is timeless.” — JazzWeek

“Queen Esther evokes the charmingly off-kilter cadences of Betty Carter or the clean sophistication of Carmen McRae…”​

“Whereas most of the neo-swing bands preferred the easy giddiness of jump blues, this multiracial, coed group displays a greater versatility and musicality that’s no less exhilarating. Inviting and invigorating, this is a winning album that gets better with every listen.” – Boston Globe

“One of the highlights is ‘One Never Knows,’ co-written with Norah Jones; also pay attention to ‘Show Biz’ness’.” — NY Press

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