Phantom Pluckers features Fairfield University faculty and alumni performing original blues-rock at Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, Conn.

Phantom Pluckers features Fairfield University faculty and alumni performing original blues-rock at Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, Conn.

Image: Phanton Pluckers The Phantom Pluckers, a new blues-rock power quartet which includes renowned bassist and composer Brian Torff, professor of music at Fairfield University, on bass and vocals, and Fairfield University alumni Jamie Debicella '11 on guitar, and Jon Rivers '12 on drums, with saxophonist Steve Salcedo, kick off a Blues Rock Series on Friday, September 21, 2012, at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, Conn. This is the first of a three-performance date residency, with future appearances taking place on October 26 and December 21, 2012. The band will play a mix of high-energy music spanning generations of blues and rock and will feature six new original recordings, which can be found on their new EP release. Doors open at 7 p.m.; concert starts at 8 p.m. Theater seats are $15; cabaret tables seats are $20. Student tickets are $10 for either Theater seats or cabaret table seating. The Bijou Theatre is located at 275 Fairfield Avenue, in Bridgeport, Conn. Call (203) 332-3228, or visit

Christine Brown and Kathy Reynolds, partners of the Bijou Theatre are excited to host the Pluckers. Brown said, "The Bijou Theatre is honored to be welcoming Brian Torff and the Phantom Pluckers for a series of three events this fall," said Brown. "Our community is in dire need of great quality entertainment, and we know that is what we will be providing when we present this group of talented musicians. Our venue provides the perfect atmosphere for this type of performance." The Bijou is one of the oldest theaters in Connecticut and serves as a destination for film, theatre, art, comedy, and music.

The Phantom Pluckers were formed in 2012. Their name came from a nickname given to Torff when he worked with legendary jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli and his guitarist Diz Disley. Disley would introduce Torff as "The Phantom Plucker of Greenwich Village," and Torff thought that that would be a great name for a band.

The other members of the Pluckers are Fairfield University alumni who attended Torff's music classes. Torff notes: "I wanted to work with talented young players who have new ideas and a fresh perspective. It is the same model I experienced when I was in my 20's. I worked with much older musicians who influenced me on and off the bandstand. We pass on our musical traditions and it is time for me to do the same."

Teaching in front of a classroom and performing for an audience has many positive correlations for Torff. "Performing in front of an audience is not that different from teaching a class," he explained. "I try to project a passionate intensity that I hope will be infectious. I can teach through the classroom and perhaps the songs of Phantom Pluckers will affect the listener. There are meanings in these songs and a story."

Torff, who serves as the Music Program Director at Fairfield University, said of the upcoming performances at the Bijou: "Phantom Pluckers have never played at the Bijou, and we are excited and honored to be performing at such an historic theater in downtown Bridgeport."

Like most of the faculty in the Visual and Performing Arts Department, Torff is an active professional in his field. He has performed as a featured bass soloist around the United States including Carnegie Hall for Fiddle Fest, where he appeared with Mark O'Connor, Dave Grusin, Regina Carter, Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchus Zukerman. At Fairfield University he is the founder of the popular Summer Jazz Workshop and has served as co-chair person for the music advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts.

To preview the Pluckers' LP:

For an interview with Brian Torff on Jon Liebman's "For Bass Players Only":

Photo credit: Jack Beggs

Posted On: 09-18-2012 11:09 AM

Volume: 45 Number: 39