Primary Instrument: Trombone
Brett Sroka is a native of Lexington, Massachusetts and began playing the trombone at age ten. He received his B.A. from the Manhattan School of Music in 1997, studying with trombonists Britt Woodman and Steve Turre, and undertaking his own compositional studies by dissecting dozens of Duke Ellington scores and transcribing his favorite recordings. Sroka was awarded a composition grant from the New York Department of Cultural Affairs in 2002 and released his debut CD, Hearsay, from the Fresh Sound-New Talent label at the end of that year. JazzTimes magazine proclaimed,Hearsay confirms that Sroka is more interested in charting new musical territory than simply revisiting the traditions of J.J. Johnson. In 2003 Sroka formed a new group called Ergo with the pianist Carl Maguire and the drummer Shawn Baltazor. Moving further and further towards an electro-acoustically organic sound the group made their debut recording in 2005 entitled, Quality Anatomechanical Music Since 2005, which the Village Voice called, rather dramatic art music... both texturally rich and compostionally engaging. In 2006 Sroka scored Sara Jordeno's film Lexicon for surround sound installation in the Muscarnok Gallery in Budapest, Hungary. In 2007 he completed the score for Space Times Square a documentary by media professor Barry Vacker exploring ideas of technology, media, cosmos and nothingness; and also contributed the theme music to a disquieting documentary about the legal issues surrounding Guantanamo Bay by Ari Kaplan called Like Snowflakes in December (still in production).
Sroka has appeared on recordings with the funk band Lettuce, the rock band Ways and Sebastion Kruger's fusion group Atiquisand song project Inlets, he has lead his quintet Hearsay and Ergo in New York City and throughout the Northeast. He is presently developing music for a second release from Ergo, composing music for film and working part time as a carpenter.
Brett Sroka has found a way to turn the trombone into the coolest instrument since the bass clarinet. —The Boston Globe
A promising debut,Hearsay confirms that Sroka is more interested in charting new musical territory than simply revisiting the traditions of J.J. Johnson. —JazzTimes
Hearsay is an auspicious debut. With his arranging and compositional skills, and his trombone chops, comparisons to the late Trombone Master, J.J. Johnson are inevitable, and deserved. —allaboutjazz.com
Inventiveness, in the true spirit of jazz, resonates loudly in his playing and arranging. —The Gazette, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
On his upcoming debut (on Fresh Sound/New Talent and featuring Jason Moran), you can hear a bandleader who knows how to balance edgy writing with the open sky of jazz improvisation. —The Boston Phoenix
This is one of the best prepared, most conceptually sound presentations that I have heard in some time. Great compositions and a solid group aesthetic. With Hearsay, Brett Sroka has captured the sound of now. —Greg Osby
The real weight of the Hearsay performances is on Sroka compositions, which can be both propulsive and oblique. They can swing hard and allow maximum improvisation within a tightly controlled compositional framework; they show a depth of influences and a striking originality. —The Merrimack River Current
Fresh Sound's New Talent marque has managed on occasion to spring real surprises, and does so here again... It's as much in the measured attitude, the often polyphonic development of and reference back behind the soloists to the material, the sense of a small band rather than simply a combo. —Jazz Review (UK)