About Brian Tomaszewski

A unique entertainer with over 25 years of experiance.

Brian Tomaszewski has been entertaining audiences for over 25 years. Brian started out his entertainment career doing juggling where for many years, he would delight audiences with a vaudeville-inspired act that included juggling, unicycling, stilt walking and physical comedy. Brian worked for several years as a busker in the northeast United States, most notably the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, Vermont.

With a constant drive to find new creative ideas for his act, in 1997 Brian started playing the 5 string banjo given its connection with the days of Vaudeville and since then, has not looked back in terms of music being his entertainment focus.

Initially as a way to add something new to his juggling act, Brian's interest in the banjo came from a variety of sources. In particular, the bluegrass stylings of Earl Scruggs and other banjo innovators such as Don Reno. Brian has also had a longtime love of the music of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia who through the band Old & in the Way, was a strong influence on Brian's interest in playing banjo. Brian’s love of the banjo has taken him all over the world with the instrument playing for audiences in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Brian has played banjo in several traditional bluegrass bands over the years bringing his mastery of 5 string banjo technique to audiences all over the northeast United States. Brian continues to play banjo in the Rochester New York-based North Star String Band.

However, there is much more to the musical experience of Brian than simply the banjo. With a Ph.D. in Geography, Brian has had the opportunity to travel all over the world and absorb the sights and sounds of cultures in multiple countries as well as across the United States.

This has shaped Brian's musical perspective and openness to musical ideas that he brings to his audiences. For example, Brian has had a long-running interest in traditional Delta blues music that you can hear in his slide guitar playing. His long-running interest in the Grateful Dead and jam band music has led him to further explore improvisational guitar playing. Growing up in the 1980s left a lasting influence on him in terms of popular music of his generation that he likes to share with his audiences today. You might also hear some Reggae, Irish, Hip Hop and African drumming recorded by Brian in Rwanda - you'll never know what to expect next in a Brian show!

Brian saw the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to refocus on his solo act music. In his shows, Brian uses the techniques of live phrase sampling or “looping” to combine acoustic guitar, banjo, steel guitar, hand drumming, sound effects and vocals in what is essentially a musical juggling act. With this approach, Brian's music comes out sonically full. If you were to close your eyes, you would think that you were listening to a complete band when it's actually just Brian creating all of the music - live. Brian’s approach creates a unique, eclectic one-person show that spans bluegrass to rock and roll to blues to Irish music and original music written by Brian that are often reflective of his own personal experiences in life.

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