12/26 8:00 PM & 10PM - $25.00
JC Hopkins Quintet featuring Camila Meza
Strolling into an East Village coffee shop, JC Hopkins looks just a little out of place. And not just because the Fort Greene, Brooklyn resident is beyond his home borough. Tall and coolly confident, immaculate in a three-piece suit topped by a tweed applejack cap, JC stands out in the neighborhood crowd of part-time punks, baggy-pants NYU undergrads, and graying bohemians.
Following in the footsteps of Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Berlin, Hopkins writes deceptively simple words and melodies that speak to something deeper, and more emotionally complex, with the potential to add a page to the great American Songbook. “It’s the best of American Song from every era which most interests me,” says Hopkins. He is a playwright, poet, filmmaker, painter, piano bar entertainer, Grammy nominated composer of wry, inventive tunes and front man for one of the hippest little big bands in the country, the JC Hopkins Biggish Band.
His original songs formed the basis for the jazz musical, Show Biz’ness, created by JC and poet Peter Simonelli, which had an extended run in San Francisco. The show gave rise to two important songs: “Show Biz’ness,” newly recorded for the Biggish Band’s debut album “Underneath A Brooklyn Moon”; and Grammy nominated “Dreams Come True,” covered by Willie Nelson andNorah Jones on Willie’s album It Always Will Be (2004, Lost Highway).
In 2001, JC formed the JC Hopkins Biggish Band. The band performed weekly at the burlesque venue, The Slipper Room, with a core group of players that included Norah Jones on vocals. JC and the band’s bassist Lee Alexander co-wrote “Painter Song” for her 2002 multi-platinum debut Come Away With Me.
JC’s Biggish Band continued to germinate, attracting a variety of top New York players, and drawing sell-out crowds on both coasts. Singers as diverse as Norah Jones, Victoria Williams, Martha Wainwright, Justin Bond, Jolie Holland, Queen Esther and Madeleine Peyroux have performed with the band. Most recently the band has enlisted the talents of vocalist Champian Fulton and tap dancer extraordinaire DeWitt Fleming Jr.
In 2006, JC was invited to produce an album of children’s music for writer/actor John Lithgow. “The Sunny Side of the Street,” was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007. A live show, ”John Lithgow: The Sunny Side of the Street,” performed on Broadway at the New Victory Theater in New York in Early 2008, for which JC was musical director.
As a playwright, JC has written a two-act romantic tragedy, “Rose Does Rico,” the post- 9/11 drama, “The Conspiracy Theorist,” a children’s musical entitled, “SHOW” and is currently at work on a burlesque-swing musical, “Underneath a Brooklyn Moon.” “It’s just been one thing leading naturally to another,” Hopkins muses, “but don’t ask me what comes next!”