Eddie Brewer & The Manic Episodes are promoting their latest album with some swing, jazz and gin.
The quartet will be playing songs from the album “Muses and Memories,” as well as other music from its catalog during Tractor Brewing Co.’s Gin & Jazz on Aug. 16.
“They’re opening up the whole floor area and putting all the tables aside to do swing dancing,” pianist and singer Eddie Brewer said. “It should be a lot of fun. We’ve been doing the Gin & Jazz thing for a while, but this one we wanted to make fun for the swing dancers because there’s such a good community of swing dancers in town and they really like to dance, so we wanted to gear it toward them this time.”
Eddie Brewer & The Manic Episodes are made up of Brewer, Josh Coleman on saxophone, Steve Wild on stand-up bass and Casey Frew on drums. The quartet, which has been playing together for about three years, has been described as having a style similar to Harry Connick Jr.’s. But the jazz quartet enjoys doing a variety of musical styles for its original music and covers, including its rendition of the song “Love Potion #9” that is set to a bossa nova groove.
“We have a friend of ours, Jimmy Deveney, play guitar on an original song called ‘She Only Wants Me for My Money,’ ” Brewer said. “And it’s kind of like a slow, blues song, and it’s very blues-oriented and kind of jazzy at the same time. We have another original song called ‘Skeleton Jive’ on it, which is almost like a zoot suit style, and then we do some classics too. We do ‘I Get a Kick out of You.’ The original is really with big band, so we kind of do it as a quartet. We just tried to have some fun with it. It’s very up and very fast-paced. I think it definitely has a different feel than some of the other versions.”
Brewer pulls from his memory when writing music.
“When we were writing these new songs like ‘Skeleton Jive,’ me and Casey were sitting down and I love grabbing from little places that are locked in my memory. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the old Disney cartoons where it’s kind of jazzy and there’s an old ghost that’s moving to kind of swing music, but we would just grab something like that and be like, ‘You know what? How can we make that unique and our own?’ and play off of that.”
Brewer has been playing piano since he was 4 years old. He eventually tired of playing classical music. At age 17, he asked his piano teacher about Frank Sinatra, and his musical direction immediately changed.
“I always thought of it as timeless music,” Brewer said. “There’s just certain songs that I hear that I can listen to 1,000 times and they just never get old and that other people have put new spins on and just giving them life. I really love jazz because it just keeps reinventing itself and stands the test of time.”