Powered by the strikingly soulful vocals of Xandra Corpora, San Francisco’s Con Brio (“with vigor” or “spirit”) blends old-school grit with new-school sophistication for a sound that’s wholly their own. The instrumentation is timeless: saxophone and trumpet roll over thick organ grooves while guitar, bass and drums keep heads nodding and the dance floor moving. A lesser singer could be forgiven for getting lost in the mix, but Corpora stands out. Her rich and powerful voice is the first thing to grab you, but it is the raw honesty and sincerity of the lyrics that stay with you long after the club goes dark or the record stops spinning.
Not surprisingly, there’s a loyal (and constantly growing) legion of fans who turn up to get down at every Con Brio show, and the sextet doesn’t disappoint; each performance is hot, heavy and different from the last. Combining raw talent, a dynamic stage presence and spontaneous style with a professional polish usually seen in much more veteran ensembles, the band is tight and energetic — and when it comes to spirit, they’ve got it in spades.
After forming in 2009, Con Brio immediately took to the stage and the studio, with a heavy schedule of local shows and the recording of their debut album. 2010 saw the release of From The Hip in front of a sold out crowd at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco, and a relentless gigging schedule alongside many of the Bay Area’s finest acts. In 2011, the band ramped up their regional touring, with shows from Seattle to San Diego, and higher-profile concerts in San Francisco including performances at Great American Music Hall, The Independent, The Fillmore and Regency Ballroom (as part of SFWeekly’s All Shook Down Festival). 2012 promises to be an even busier year for Con Brio, beginning with the sold-out release of their live record, The Bay is Burning, at The Independent in February, and continuing with the recording of their second full-length studio album and their first national tour.