When asked to describe his music to someone who has never heard it before, the saxophonist Brian Girley responds, “It’s a reflection of me—sometimes it’s fun, it’s beautiful and you can dance to it, or it’s aggressive. I want you to feel something emotionally or physically. The one common element to my music is that it’s moving and very passionate. That’s one of the main things I hear [in] my music. All of the people I enjoy listening to play from their soul, and that’s something I do too.”
Brian was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, and exposed to music through his parents, who frequently sang in church and at weddings. Music remained an interest until his college years at The University of North Texas, where it evolved into a love, and a career choice. After earning both his bachelors and masters degrees, Brian began splitting his time between the Dallas area and his hometown, performing with artists such as B.B King, Gladys Knight, Sam Rivers, and Ambrose Akinmusire, among many others.
When some of his friends migrated to New York and subsequently returned to perform in Dallas, Brian noticed a change. “They were just so much better,” he recalls. “I was seeing the difference in their life, perspective and how they played.” The experience inspired Brian to make the move himself.
Brian’s debut album, Faith, is an expression of Brian’s feelings following his move to New York:
My wife and I moved here with a one-way ticket, three bags, no jobs, and no apartment. But, I believed that this is where God wanted me to be. Everything I did, I felt like I was moving in faith. Every time I started something, didn’t have the money or people to make things happen, it just came. And, Faith is more than just a religious concept; you can have faith in yourself. That was something I was dealing with as well. When you come to New York, you’re dealing with a lot of amazing musicians and it’s easy to start doubting yourself asking, “why should I put out an album or even continue playing?” Every song has a little bit of a side story about faith.
Writing in the April 2012 issue of Hot House Magazine, Brian’s fellow saxophonist Adam Larson praises the effort as, “uplifting…[yet] decidedly modern. Intricate, yet singable melodies are often found paired between saxophone and guitar, supported by myriad contrasting grooves from the rhythm section.” “The richness of heart and soul is definitely refreshing to hear when I listen to his music,” remarks Quamon Fowler, another reedist contemporary.
Stream Faith in it’s entirety on MySpace.