Named for an Italian musical direction meaning with spirit, Con Brio is a San Francisco Bay Area seven-piece that plays energetic soul, psych-rock and R&B that’s as fresh and freethinking as the place they call home. With singer Ziek McCarter channeling “the pained emotion of Otis Redding, the suave edge of Sam Cooke and the solid dance moves, splits and all, of James Brown” (KQED) and a tight, veteran band that “comes across like a party punk version of Sly and the Family Stone” (Consequence of Sound), Con Brio is known to convert anyone who sees their electric live show.
Their latest recording, Explorer, builds on the success of Con Brio’s critically acclaimed debut LP Paradise while introducing a newly polished, modern sound for the band. It’s also a travelogue of sorts, a reflection on two years of nearly nonstop touring, with all its joys and sacrifices.
In recent years, the band has toured with the Revivalists, Galactic, and Grace Potter, among others, and played Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot, Austin City Limits, Japan’s Fuji Rock, the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Netherlands’ North Sea Jazz Festival, to name just a few.
Having proved themselves on an international stage, Con Brio breaks new ground on Explorer, expanding beyond raw energy and retro sounds toward a layered contemporary production style, all delivered with road-tested confidence. It’s a big record and a joyful one, taking on self-determination, sex and relationships, the complexities of being an American band traveling the world in the year 2018 — and ultimately finding the things that divide us don’t stand a chance on the dance floor.