reviews & news


Since 1995, bn9 has accumulated quite a bit of press. Feel free to scroll down, or use the drop down menu to read complete articles. The following are selected quotes... full articles are below.


"some R&B here, some rock ‘n’ roll there and a dash of everything else in the middle....16 tracks of garage-born style jams expertly crafted into songs..... Let’s Find a Way will appeal to listeners who like their music with lots of groove and minimal flash... you’ve got 61 minutes of music just for chilling and smiling."
- Matthew Allen, Elmore Magazine

"Keeping a nonet tight is always an exercise in organization. When its members have backgrounds ranging from Motown to Latin jazz, it seems that chaos is inevitable. But blue number nine never lose the thread, tying jammy combo interplay to smooth, soul-based lead vocals."
-EDITOR'S PICK "blue eyed soul", ABC News/C|Net/Download.com

"ear candy with chops.... a pleasant, captivating, fun listen"..... "a remarkable performance, as blue number nine delivered a lively, entertaining show with stunning musical chops, choreographed movement onstage, enthusiasm and smiles." - Pennsylvania Musician

"['Living it Up In the New World'] features beguiling bass lines flowing under a diverse range of instruments including an animated horn section. The music melds funky-soul with jazz, pop, R&B and rock. The songs are fresh and contemporary yet have a cool retro vibe. All twelve-tracks are innovative and insightful with multi-layered parts. Stefanie is a strong singer and her leads harmonize well with the other vocalists."
- Kweevak.com

"If you’re looking for great funk and perfect groove, look no farther [stet]".
- Smother.net

"an enthusiastic celebration of R&B as listeners knew it in the pre-urban contemporary era" - Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

"[Living it Up In the New World is]...another BN9 treat of ultra cool funky rock blended with Stefanie Seskin's soothing vocals & her 'calmer Ian Anderson-esque' flute work, (check out track 4 - 'Dig My Hands'!!)....professional, slick sound and addictive funk rock tunes· "
- Mark Edwards, Skidmark Independent Music Promotion, UK

"the arrangements are tight, the horns provide rabbit punctuation in all the right places, and the range of styles is more eclectic than on their prior recordings. Quite simply, sonically, 'Living It Up' is the best record blue number nine has delivered."
- Aural Fix Communique, Long Island, NY

"this band was amazing! ...[the vocalists] sang like birds, harmonizing smoothly and tastefully on each number, and keeping the vibe friendly and upbeat....in-the-pocket rhythms that supported and carried each number along... stunning guitar...The crowd was clearly digging the sounds, and the applause steadily grew after each song. At show’s end, a number of new fans stepped up to the stage to purchase copies of the group’s CD’s; obviously blue number nine had expanded their Altoona fan base this night!" - Rockpage.net

"Blue Number Nine, fronted by Stefanie Seskin, plays incredible Seventies funk and soul, with a jazz touch that you just will not find locally." - M.P. El-ahrairah, The Scene, Fox Cities, Wisconsin

"Blue Number Nine dazzled with a tasty blend of light rock, funk, pop and R&B, including a number of original songs and select cover material from Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood, Carole King and more....excellent vocals and harmonies... tight, in-the-pocket rhythms, [and] some stunning fretboard fireworks. Blue Number Nine's mixture of top-notch musicianship, catchy songs, choreography and a warm, fun vibe convincingly won over the mixed-ages crowd this night" - Jim Price, Pennsylvania Musician, August 2005

"Blue Number Nine's music is simultaneously fresh and retro; it's a brilliant blend that's fun and funky. Great horns, killer grooves, and lots of style. I love this album!"- Michael K. Hill, TONIGHT ON THE RADIO

"blue number nine absolutely sets a room on fire when [the vocalists sing] in three part harmonies that rival any (and I mean any) major label act. The crowd was completely swept away from the very first note..."
- Dan Brown, Good Times Magazine, NY

"The funk-soul music provided by blue number nine kept our dancing time at CAF opening gala alive! A good number of the attendees grabbed a partner, put on their happy feet, danced and spun in an atmosphere that was freewheeling, youthful, and sometimes nostalgic. It would be good to have them back again next year...."
- Garth Kobal, Grace Van Vorst Newsletter, NJ

"...a group of funk hipster musicians from Jersey City, N.J. that defy the meaning of the word 'band' ... better defined as a musical experience.... the band's sound is a smoothe blend of amazing vocals ... and equally impressive musical abilities... They can't be placed in any one genre - their influences range from The Beatles and The Jackson Five to Bob Marley, Genesis and the Sex Pistols"
- Record Courier, Ravenna-Kent, OH

"A gorgeous funky bunch with an extraordinary rich warm overtone. Take a bit of funk, jazz, pop and 70’s soul and you have the beginnings of these guys sound"…”
- Music Industry Connections, UK full article

"Anyone out there with big bucks and any sense, listen up! Sign the band blue number nine. That's it…. the tune Cog in a Wheel .. is catchy, current and really tight and it should be radio’s latest add-in in its ‘as-is’ state. I’d be willing to bet the farm on this band."”
- Inside Connection, New York, NY

"Ladies and gentlemen, step right up! She sings, she raps, she plays the flute like a virtuoso! ‘She’ is Stefanie Seskin and her band, blue number nine, has been making some waves throughout the Northeastern U.S…. The self-titled debut “blue number nine” is this band’s first full length CD. If offers up a hefty dose of funk, rock and R&B in the same vein as bands such as Deep Banana Blackout and Mother Freedom."”
- Good Times Magazine, Long Island, NY '

"This band was reviewed once before by Score!Music. After seeing them live [in Cleveland, Ohio]… we told them to send us their latest CD… a strong Basia vibe where the vocals are concerned, with a bit more jazz and a touch of En Vogue… some serious vocal harmonizing going on"”
- Score Music, scorerocks.com

"Marked with consistently great background vocal harmonies, excellent musicianship and Seskin’s incredibly sexy vocals, blue number nine is an immensely enjoyable sound… Great stuff.... blue number nine rolls through West New York once or twice a year"…”
- Bob Silvestri, The Best of West New York.com

"Anyone who thinks R&B is dead hasn’t heard blue number nine… This CD simply displays the many strengths of bn9, including a smooth and pleasing female lead vocalist (Stefanie Seskin), very tight instrumentation (including a flute and a horn section), some well-written songs and a sassy pair of female backup vocalists."”
- Good Times Magazine, Long Island, NY

"High energy music… a civic minded group with a history of playing benefits for non profits."”
- The Jersey Journal, Northern NJ

"Seldom have we seen so enjoyable and diverse a combination of music, dance and fine arts… The concert of blue number nine electrified the audience with the joy and clarity of its sound. The musicians combined funk and groove with jazz; when they began to dance on stage to the rhythm of the music, the audience joined in, dancing and cheering in front of the stage."”
- Magazine.Art, published by New York Dance and Arts Innovations, Brooklyn, NY

"Led by the charismatic and sultry Seskin, blue number nine heats up an amalgam of 70s style funk, groovy R&B, Latin jazz, Motown and even some hip hop. The band is also reminiscent of 60s girl groups with its three female vocalists and fun use of choreography to amplify Seskin’s strong and often funny lyrics."”
- Home News Tribune, Central NJ, centerfold piece

"blue number nine's self titled effort is a lush, stylish collection of tracks and comfortably addresses their pop, R&B, Philly soul influences"”
- The Aquarian, Southern, Central and Northern NJ

"kind of like what would happen if George Clinton, Miles Davis and Jethro decided to play together on stage with a female vocalist"”
- The Signal, The College of New Jersey, Trenton, NJ

"Prepare to party with this seven-member jam & groove band. Funky blues and sexy good-time rock-and-roll is the number these guys play. Original, aggressive music with a sound that threatens to 'funkify' Princeton and the entire region."”
- Borders Bookstore brochure, Princeton, NJ

News

September 2009 - Stefanie Seskin, for the 9th year in a row, receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

September 2008 - Stefanie Seskin, for the 8th year in a row, receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

June 2008 - blue number nine releases a 5th CD, "let's find a way".

September 2007 - Stefanie Seskin, for the 7th year in a row, receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

September 2006 - Stefanie Seskin, for the 6th year in a row, receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

May 2006 - blue number nine chosen to open for the legendary Average White Band on July 6, 2006 in Stamford, CT.

October 2005 - Stefanie Seskin, for the 5th year in a row, receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

September 2005 - Band of the week at High Times Magazine's website: HighTimes.com

August 2005 - Stefanie Seskin releases a debut solo CD "The Edge of Reason"

June 2005 - blue number nine releases 4th CD "Living It Up In The New World".

July 2004 - Stefanie Seskin, for the 4th year in a row, receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

July 2003
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Stefanie Seskin, for the 3rd year in a row, receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

June 2003 - blue number nine releases 3rd CD "on a shoestring"

December 2002 - Drummer Jack Gourdine is chosen by Silver Fox percussion for an endorsement

July 2002 - Stefanie Seskin, for the 2nd year in a row, receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

March, 2002 - featured artist of the Month at Skidmark Multimedia

January, 2002 - "Hook In" in the top 40 charts at Mp3songs.org.uk

August, 2001 - blue number nine featured in "House Blends" at javamusic.com.

July, 2001 - Stefanie Seskin receives monetary award from ASCAP through their ASCAPLU$ program in the "Popular" category as a songwriter.

April, 2001 - bn9 receives endorsement from Ultimate Support, creators of speaker stands, mic stands, guitar stands, etc.

April 23, 2001 - bn9 featured showcase artist at JavaMusic.com

February, 2001 -
bn9's CD chosen as one of (10) Kweevak.com "Viewer's Choice" CD of the Year Award winners for 2000

week of February 19th, 2001 -
33rd most downloaded artist out of over 2000 artists on AudioSurge.com

week of February 12th, 2001 -
34th most downloaded artist out of over 2000 artists on AudioSurge.com

December, 2000 -
blue number nine's debut CD #2 Indie CD of the Year at Planete Indie

September, 2000 -
"HOOK IN" chosen for AudioVenus CD Compilation, Vol. 1

August, 2000 -
"HOOK IN" chosen for The OasisSamplerTM CD sent to over 300national radio stations

 

Blue Number Nine
Let’s Find a Way
(Check Other Records)

BUY CD

Who are Blue Number 9 and what does their music sound like? Well, try to think of all the local bands you’ve seen in your life, take one member from each band and there you have it: some R&B here, some rock ‘n’ roll there and a dash of everything else in the middle. Their album, Let’s Find a Way, is 16 tracks of garage-born style jams expertly crafted into songs. Tracks like opener “It’s All Good” and “Spite Spite” make one think of that funky high school band that had you cutting a rug and biting your lip all night at the senior prom. Songs like “The Dog Days” give you that loose, shoulder-swaying feeling you get from the rock group at happy hour after a long Friday of work.

Let’s Find a Way will appeal to listeners who like their music with lots of groove and minimal flash. This ideal can be summed up, both in title and technique, by Blue Number 9’s cover of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song.” The septet managed to make an originally ultra-funky composition accessible to AC music lovers without compromising the grit at its core.

This CD is truly a product of its principal songwriters, bassist Marco Accattatis, with his brilliant musicianship, and lead singer Stefanie Seskin, who mixes her airy, enthusiastic vocals with her carefree yet introspective lyrics. Add the exciting horn play of Chuck MacKinnon, Lily White and Rob Susman to the pot, and you’ve got 61 minutes of music just for chilling and smiling.

—Matthew Allen, Elmore Magazine

 

CD REVIEW - "Living It Up In The New World"

All Music Guide
Review by Alex Henderson
"Soul music didn't totally evaporate after the '70s, but you have to know where to find it. One option is the neo-soul of '90s and 2000s artists such as Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys, D'Angelo, India Arie, and Mary J. Blige; those singers have combined their appreciation of classic '60s and '70s soul with urban contemporary and hip-hop elements ÷ an approach that critic Nelson George terms "retro-nuevo." But there are others who offer a faithful re-creation of classic pre-'80s R&B, and Living It Up in the New World ÷ like albums by the Brand New Heavies and the Boston-based SuperHoney ÷ is unapologetic in its devotion to '70s-style soul and funk. This 2005 release isn't neo-soul; under the direction of lead singer/founder Stefanie Seskin, Blue Number Nine offer an enthusiastic celebration of R&B as listeners knew it in the pre-urban contemporary era (with a few detours into pop/r/r/ock territory). And the influences that have served Seskin well on previous BNN albums ÷ Rufus & Chaka Khan, the Average White Band, LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, among others ÷ continue to serve her well on infectious tracks like "Dig My Hands" and "Castles." Seskin takes a very hands-on approach; on top of singing lead and playing the flute, she co-produced Living It Up in the New World (with BNN bassist Marco Accattatis) and wrote or co-wrote all of the songs. Seskin is no innovator, but if this album is derivative, it is pleasingly derivative ÷ for those who are seriously into the soul and funk of the '70s, it isn't hard to enjoy Seskin's celebration of that era. Anyone who has spent a lot of time savoring the retro-soul pleasures of the Brand New Heavies or SuperHoney is advised to give Living It Up in the New World a close listen. "

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LIVE REVIEW

from Pennsylvania Musician, "The Professor", September 2006

The Blair County Arts Foundation again presented the Summer Sounds of Jazz concert series on select Fridays at downtown Altoona‚s Curtin Mall. On July 28, New Jersey's blue number nine returned to dazzle a large audience with their bright blend of funk, jazz, R&B and pop sounds. Lead singer/flute player Stefanie Seskin and backing singers Camari Frame and Chris Vaindirlis blended for some bright and crisp harmonies; backed by tight grooves and sparkling musicianship from guitarist Luca Tozzi, bassist Marco Accattatis and drummer Jack Gourdine II. Highlights were numerous, as blue number nine performed original songs from their various albums. The group staged a limbo contest with audience members during their Latin-flavored "Dance Dance Dance;" Stefanie and Luca engaged in a flute/guitar duel during "Dig My Hands;" and Stefanie played the "Pied Piper" and led kids and audience members around the plaza during the group's closing number, "Love the Beat." Again, it was a remarkable performance, as blue number nine delivered a lively, entertaining show with stunning musical chops, choreographed movement onstage, enthusiasm and smiles. Look for this band to be back next year!

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CD REVIEW - "Living It Up In The New World"

from Pennsylvania Musician, September 2006

(Check Other Records) Jersey City, New Jersey’s Blue Number Nine has been around for a full decade, forging their eclectic brand of jazzy, funky, upbeat, groove-infused music. Their latest album, “Living It Up In The New World”, offers a tasty cross-sectional representation of what all this band encompasses over its dozen tracks. Front and center throughout the album is lead singer, flute player and songwriter Stefanie Seskin, whose bright, expressive performance convincingly sells her thoughtful, observational and easy-to-digest lyrics. Complementing Stefanie is a stellar cast of musical talent; guitarist Luca Tozzi, bassist Marco Accattatis, and Jack M. Gourdine II on drums; also a corps of backing singers including Morgan Rose Fite and Amy Leeds, plus a horn section on several tracks. The tunes here offer a variety of flavors and moods, with something for nearly everyone. Listeners with the jones to cut the rug should enjoy the driving “Love the Beat” and the Latin-tinged “Dance Dance Dance” with its Miami Sound Machine flavor. Fans of instrumental fireworks and fusion will likely savor “Dig My Hands” (about gardening), “Castles” and the closing agitated 8-minute jam session workout “I’m In Debt.” For lighter and jazzier tones, there is “When I Wake Up,” and “Gimme More Time” offers a driving R&B flavor. Also present is Stefanie’s 9/11-inspired commentary “Never Felt That Way,” and her lighthearted account of a road-rage incident, “Turnpikes & Parkways.” All twelve tunes offer tasty and catchy melodies, smoothly executed with Stefanie’s spirited vocals and the group’s continually dazzling instrumental performances. Produced and engineered by Stefanie with Marco at Concussion Studios in Jersey City, “Living It Up in The New World” displays nice balance between the various components of Blue Number Nine’s sound; and the arrangements are varied and diverse enough to keep things interesting throughout. The bottom line – “Living It Up In The New World” offers ear candy with chops, and is a pleasant, captivating, fun listen. Blue Number Nine is clearly living it up here, and the listener is welcomed inside to enjoy the party. (The CD can be obtained through Blue Number Nine’s website, www.bluenumbernine.com.) —reviewed by Jim Price

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06/19/06 - from the "Daily Record" newsroom

Eclectic blue number nine has Morris dates this week



 

BY ROBERT HICKS
SPECIAL TO THE DAILY RECORD

Stefanie Seskin has always imagined herself following a path leading to a music career.

Her band blue number nine will perform on the Morristown Green Thursday in the Arts Council of the Morris Area's "Midday Music on the Green" series, and at CaféArabica in Morristown Friday.

"We'll do very different sets for each show," she said from her home in Jersey City. "The Morristown Green will be outside, so we'll probably play our more happy, friendly stuff. For Café Arabica, we'll play our favorites, but it will be more rock-oriented. We'll play a mix of stuff from our three CDs."

The current lineup for the two Morristown shows includes Seskin on lead vocals, flute and keyboards; Marco Accattatis on bass; Luca Tozzi on lead guitar; Jack M. Gourdine II on drums; and Morgan Rose Fite and Evie Nagy on background vocals.

The band is touring in support of its new CD, "Living It Up in the New World." The 12 tracks display a wide variety of musical styles with a lyrical emphasis on humor and politics.

"I'd say this CD focuses on heavy, sarcastic or funny songs," Seskin said. "Our previous CDs were a lot more positive in terms of lyrical content. We were more about self-empowerment, being happy and doing love songs."

Seskin grew up in Willingboro, near Philadelphia. Encouraged by her parents and maternal grandfather, she played flute from age 9. Her parents were first-generation immigrants. Her dad came from the Ukraine and her mother from the West Indies. School kids often taunted her about her mixed heritage.

Her grandfather Fred Skeritt played saxophone with Machito's Afro-Cuban Orchestra in the 1940s. She remembers visiting him, hearing him play clarinet in his room and listening to Latin jazz with him at his house in Jamaica, Queens, in New York City.

"It was the suburbs. Every third house looked the same, but we had a great public school system with a great music program," she said of her hometown. "My parents broke up when I was 11. I was considered a kind of weirdo at school, but very, very smart. I excelled quickly in music."

She attended the University of California at San Diego with the idea of becoming an oceanographer, but her interests soon turned back to music. She dropped out of college, though, to pursue a modeling career in Italy. After returning to the States, she pursued a solo music career without success.

She returned to college to take a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and a master's degree in media studies at the New School in New York City.

Frustrated by her lack of success as a solo artist, she decided to form blue number nine in 1995 in Jersey City. She has spent the last decade dealing with personnel changes in the band, touring, recording and with writing and co-writing songs.

"I just try to be aware of what's going on in the world without being preachy," she said of her songwriting. "I like to write about things that people can relate to in a funny way. I like to write lyrics that make sense, are clear and have meaning."

The band has always devoted itself to benefits for the North Jersey Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It will do two Light the Night Walk benefit concerts for the organization in October. The first will be at Brookdale Park in Montclair Oct. 7 and the second at Horseshoe Lake in Succasunna Oct. 15.

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Kweevak.com
BLUE NUMBER NINE – LIVING IT UP IN THE NEW WORLD: Stefanie Seskin and Marco Accattatis are the driving forces behind the inventive Blue Number Nine. The two produced Living It Up In The New World, guiding an impressive troupe of musicians. The CD features beguiling bass lines flowing under a diverse range of instruments including an animated horn section. The music melds funky-soul with jazz, pop, R&B and rock. The songs are fresh and contemporary yet have a cool retro vibe. All twelve-tracks are innovative and insightful with multi-layered parts. Stefanie is a strong singer and her leads harmonize well with the other vocalists. The CD opens with 'Don't Let Them' with its funky bass lines, vibrant instrumentation and catchy hooks, followed by the up-tempo, jazzy 'Love The Beat'. The album also finishes strong with 'I'm In Debt' an astute song about financial obligations enhanced with animated horns and an extended jam clocking in at over eight minutes. These two songs book end a solid collection of colorful songs. Live it up and pick yourself up a copy of Blue Number Nine's latest release!
• Recommended Tracks: (1,2,12) [USA/NJ 2005 - web] (2006 Review by Laura Turner Lynch for Kweevak.com)

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Skidmark.org - see skidmark.org
Review by Mark Edwards
The first bars of track 1 "Don't Let Them" kick in and I close my eyes and smile - reassured I'm in for another BN9 treat of ultra cool funky rock blended with Stefanie Seskin's soothing vocals & her "calmer Ian Anderson-esque" flute work, (check out track 4 - "Dig My Hands"!!). BN9 CD's always take me back to 2001 when I first heard their debut album on Bumpskey.com's webcast show - It was the likes of Blue Number Nine et al that switched me on to the independent music scene with their professional, slick sound and additive funk rock tunes… don't take my word for it - go and take a listen yourselves and see why I've spent the last four and a half years supporting independent music!!

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Smother.net
Review by J-Sin
"Blue Number Nine, a funky band that carefully blends a slew of influences ranging from ‘70s funk, Motown, Latin jazz, and R&B, is here to live it up. The vocalist Stephanie Seskin is truly great with a dynamic weaving of melody. Indeed you might remember our review of her solo venture “The Edge of Reason” and thankfully this album features much tighter songwriting and allows her to really show her great range. If you’re looking for great funk and perfect groove, look no farther [stet]."

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DISCovery - Aural Fix Communique - AuralFix.com

BLUE NUMBER NINE
living it up in the new world
INDEPENDENT

Trying to describe blue number nine to someone who has never experienced them as a live act is a tall order. So much of what happens on stage -- the callisthenic choreography of three women vocalists, the tambourine acrobatics, the turn-on-a-dime flute solos -- are so engaging that the music; an eclectic stew of sounds squarely rooted in 70s funk/soul finds itself unintentionally pushed into a secondary role. Which is a shame because the tunes, mainly written by front woman Stefanie Seskin, have been over the course of 3 albums and 5 years, very well-crafted. I have long been a fan of Seskin’s writing style which brings equal measures of social consciousness and a sense of humor into the groove.

On Living It Up In The New World, the third studio offering by the North Jersey-based blue number nine, the arrangements are tight, the horns provide rabbit punch punctuation in all the right places, and the range of styles is more eclectic than on their prior recordings. Quite simply, sonically, Living It Up is the best record blue number nine has delivered.

It is also indicates something of a departure from their earlier efforts in that this is not quite the “party record” their first and second discs were. The first two tracks aside which are more of a piece with their earlier records, this record took more time to fully appreciate. Attribute this to the more contemplative nature of the songwriting. But, like so much in else life, patience has its rewards.

Songs that didn’t immediately grab me have in fact become the standouts. In particular, “When I Wake Up” is one of Stefanie’s most engaging songs yet. Without trying too hard to be lyrically clever, she delivers straight from the heart. “When I Wake Up” settles into a classic midtempo groove, driven by the bass line provided by Marco Accattatis (truly one of the greatest bassists you’ve never heard of), and moves through the kind of sophisticated chord changes and modulations that lock you in. And the payoff is a lovely flute solo by Seskin in the place one would expect either a guitar break or horn improvmoment. This is the kind of soul music that, had it been released 30 years ago, would have found major chart success. Oh radio, where is the love? (Actually, bn9 would have sounded great in a song cluster featuring the likes of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway.)

“The Lucky Ones” is another beauty where Stef’s everywoman character literally to misses the bus but keeps on pushing on faith that her ship will come in. “Dance, Dance, Dance” is just pure fun and moves the band toward a sound that recalls Gloria Estefan in her best period, the Miami Sound Machine days from the 70s. And then there’s the CD’s closer, “I’m In Debt” where the band rocks out while Stefanie ponders how, no matter how deep she goes, there is always some institution eager to pitch her an even bigger credit lifeline. True to life when you’re living it up in the real world.

– Roger Silverberg

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Pennsylvania Musician Magazine August 2005
By Jim Price
"Ribs and music also came together in Altoona during the Summer Sounds of Jazz free concert series, happening on select Fridays through August.  On July 15, New Jersey's Blue Number Nine performed while audience members feasted on Clem's Ribs.  Blue Number Nine dazzled with a tasty blend of light rock, funk, pop and R&B, including a number of original songs and select cover material from Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood, Carole King and more.  Blue Number Nine featured excellent vocals and harmonies, fronted by singer/flutist/band leader Stefanie Seskin and backing singers Morgan Rose Fite and Christine Vaindirlis.  Drummer Jack Gourdine II and bassist Marco Accattatis provided tight, in-the-pocket rhythms, while guitarist Luca Tozzi amazed with some stunning fretboard fireworks along the way; even playfully dueling with Stefanie's flute on several songs.  Blue Number Nine's mixture of top-notch musicianship, catchy songs, choreography and a warm, fun vibe convincingly won over the mixed-ages crowd this night.  Watch for Blue Number Nine's return visits to the Altoona area, as well as shows in Harrisburg, the Poconos and Philadelphia soon."

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ROCKPAGE.net
BLUE NUMBER NINE @ CURTIN MALL, ALTOONA 7/15/05 - see original article w/photos

When Blue Number Nine performed at the Blair County Arts Festival back in May, I only was able to witness ten minutes of their performance before having to depart for work. When the group had mentioned that they were returning to the area in July, I made a point of adjusting my schedule in order to catch a full show.

The setting was Altoona’s Curtin Mall, for the “Summer Sounds Of Jazz” Friday evening concert series, with proceeds helping out the Blair County Arts Foundation and Altoona Community Theater. The performance itself was free, with mixed drinks and beer available and Clem’s Ribs and other food items for sale. And the musical entertainment, of course, was New Jersey’s Blue Number Nine.

These gals and guys were excellent! I arrived just as they were ending their first set, but did get to see guitarist Luca Tozzi fire off an incredible lead solo in the waning moments of the set’s last song. Intermission enabled me to order up some Clem’s ribs and procure a strategic seating spot to witness the second and third sets from.

A good crowd was on hand to take in the show. This was encouraging, and bode well for the future of this particular outdoor live music event to continue in downtown Altoona. I touched base with the production contingent of Tom and Casey from Freelance Audio, who indicated their amazement with what Blue Number Nine had shown the Altoona audience thus far.

Soon Blue Number Nine returned to the stage to commence their second set, doing so with a tasty rendition of Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move.” Singer/flutist Stefanie Seskin, backing singers Morgan Rose Fite and Christine Vaindirlis, the aforementioned Luca Tozzi on guitar, drummer Jack Gourdine II and bassist Marco Accattatis performed a blend of pop, funk, jazz and blues-flavored sounds, incorporating luscious vocal harmonies, tight musicianship, choreography and a warm, fun vibe. The group continued with the lightly funky “Take It All the Way,” and Stefanie showcased her flute abilities on “When You Are Down.” Stefanie then introduced a song from Blue Number Nine’s just released new album, Living It Up in the New World, called “Dig My Hands.” After a funky, hard-driving number, the group launched into Stevie Wonder’s “Living In The City,” with Morgan singing lead. The other backing singer, Christine, got to showcase her lead singing abilities on the following tune, “Call to Freedom.” The jazz/funk-leaning song “Make Believe” featured the ladies demonstrating some cool choreographed dance moves, and Luca Tozzi blazing yet another stunning guitar solo as the tune built to a crescendo. Blue Number Nine then did a version of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love,” followed by more original numbers, including “You’ll Know What to Do,” and “Love the Beat” from the new album to conclude the show.

As I said, this band was amazing! Stefanie, Morgan and Christine sang like birds, harmonizing smoothly and tastefully on each number, and keeping the vibe friendly and upbeat. On the instrumental end, Jack and Marco combined for soulful, in-the-pocket rhythms that supported and carried each number along; while Luca frequently dazzled with his stunning guitar abilities – this cat could work those frets! The crowd was clearly digging the sounds, and the applause steadily grew after each song. At show’s end, a number of new fans stepped up to the stage to purchase copies of the group’s CD’s; obviously Blue Number Nine had expanded their Altoona fan base this night!

Count me in as one of the new fans; I thoroughly enjoyed my first full look at Blue Number Nine and what they brought to the stage. According to Morgan, more local dates are likely within the year, including a possible State College show soon. And based on the response they received this night, I think it is a good bet that the Altoona area hasn’t seen the last of Blue Number Nine – watch for them, and check them out when they return to the neighborhood!

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Posted June 09, 2005

WHAT: Blue Number Nine
WHERE:
Tom’s Garage, 222 W. Franklin St.
WHEN:
9:30 p.m. Saturday
COST:
$5
INFO:
920-882-2183 or www.bluenumbernine.com

 

Jersey-based Blue Number Nine brings hard-to-define sound to Appleton

By Jim Lundstrom
Post-Crescent staff writer

Every trepidation Stefanie Seskin had about starting a band has come to fruition.

“I didn’t want the headache of running a band, dealing with that human resources management side of things,” she said.

But after playing bass in other people’s bands, the songwriting/flute-playing Seskin needed an outlet for her music.

“I was going out and performing myself to background tracks. I would sing along and play the flute, which wasn’t very satisfying,” she said.

A band was the inevitable next step.

“I eventually went against my better judgment and put ads out. People responded to the ads,” she said.

The result is the Jersey City, N.J.-based Blue Number Nine, the groove-happy R&B band Seskin has fronted as songwriter/vocalist/flute/sax player and human resource manager since 1995.

The band comes to the area for two shows in its first Midwest tour, beginning with Tom’s Garage Saturday night and at Bayfest in Green Bay on Sunday afternoon.

Those two shows are part of 11-day Midwest tour, which will be the band’s first real road test after nearly a decade of performing in the greater New York metro area.

“We’ve done three or four days, but this is the first time we’ve ever gone for 11 days straight,” Seskin said. “We’re very much looking forward to it.”

The band is touring behind the release of its latest CD, “Living It Up In the New World.”

“It’s a very cynical title. I was feeling very cynical about the whole process of recording a new CD,” Seskin said. “But I feel better about it now. The band sounds great.”

And it does sound great, with Seskin’s seductive vocals bouncing on top of funky, soulful grooves.

“We definitely have an impossible-to-pin-down sound,” she said. “I think that’s good. The record business doesn’t like it. If they can’t put you in a category, they don’t know who to market it to, which is silly.”

Seskin’s original concept was a female band that concentrated on vocal harmonies.

“I wanted to put together a band with a keyboard and guitar player who sang, but I could never find females who sang, which is what I wanted, so I went with two backup vocalists,” she said. “There’s been a lot of turnover there.”

But things are good for the band now, she said.

“The rhythm section and I get along really great,” she said. “We’re all on the same page musically as well as personality-wise and politically and spiritually. That is the first time ever the band has had that.”

The rhythm section includes drummer Jack M. Gourdine II, who joined in 1996; bassist Marco Accattatis, who has been a member since 1999; and Luca Tozzi, who just recently signed on as guitarist, the third lead guitarist in the band’s 10-year history.

Tozzi stepped in when the previous guitarist quit just as the band was readying “Living It Up In the New World” for release.

“We can do stuff without a manager and label and publicist,” Seskin said. “But we can’t do stuff without band members. That part has been making me crazy of late.”

Seskin hopes the band’s first real road trip will solidify things even more.

“Almost everyone in the band, this is what they want to be doing for real in their lives,” she said. “We’re all hoping to develop a following so we can return and play bigger and better venues.”

Jim Lundstrom can be reached at 920-993-1000, ext. 374, or by e-mail at jlundstrom@postcrescent.com

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Blue Number Nine ready to tour with new lineup

Revamped group breaks in new members at the Whiskey Bar

Dave Hoffman
Current editor 03/16/2005

Fans finally got to see an overhauled Blue Number Nine at Whiskey Bar in Hoboken on Wednesday, March 9, and it was worth the wait.

After last year's pinnacle of tour gigs, the band has seen half of its members replaced with new blood. This year, they hope to top their previous success with a full line of shows that stretches from New York City to Chicago as well as tentative dates in Europe and beyond.

Playing in front of a large audience at the Whiskey Bar, lead singer Stefanie Seskin kept the band on a karma-like journey of friendship and happiness.

Indeed, the repertoire of Blue Number Nine can do just that - mellow you out, hang a smile across your face and, no matter how hard you resist, urge every limb of your body to get up and slide across the dance floor.

Bassist Accattatis drops rock-solid grooves that's keep the music moving and are reminiscent of such greats as John Entwistle (The Who) and Les Claypool (Primus).

Meanwhile, new members Morgan Rose Fite and Nedge Guercin compliment the rhythm of the band with harmonizing vocals that accentuate Seskin's luring lyrics. Fite recently joined the band after a solo tour in Mexico where she performed in night clubs singing with a jazz trio.

New guitarist Luca Tozzi has an eccentric style that crosses that of Jimi Hendrix and Joe Pass. Jack Gourdine steadies the band on the drum kit.

Seskin and Accattatis have a house in Jersey City complete with a practice room and recording studio - home to the band's very own record label, Check Other Music.

"We just recorded our sixth album less than a month ago," said Seskin, who will produce the entire record in their basement studio along with Accattatis. "We've got some new band members who have some serious talent, and the new CD is going to kick ass."

Playing an original mixture of soulful funk with a '70s-type rock bend, Seskin believes that the band has a new look and the energy needed to get where they want to be - playing music full time.

Ready to hit the road

Blue Number Nine had been touring regionally since 2001. Before that they played locally while honing their sound and stage show. The band just finished recording their third album, as yet unnamed, which is due out sometime in May.

"It has been a long road to get to this point," said Seskin, who wanted to quit the whole thing after two of the band's core vocalists moved away. "Besides gigging and endless practices to ensure those gigs are flawless, we put tons of time into our recording and production of albums. Sometimes it takes its toll."

With a revitalized attitude and a fresh group of young and talented musicians, Seskin has put her previous sentiments on hold and back to the forefront of aggressive and ambitious bands on the local circuit. In fact, in recent months the band has secured numerous agents who feel it is time to move band beyond its previous successes.

"Marco has really stepped up and has been fiercely pursuing further bookings at music venues and luring in agents," said Seskin.

Accattitis and Tozzi are both natives of Italy, and the band is planning a tour of their homeland later this year with help from one of their new, European-based agents. Tour dates for the UK as well as Japan are also being considered. Gourdine was born in Okinawa and figures to be an asset when the group finally hits Asia.

"It's really unfathomable. The transformation that can take place from one year to the next," said Seskin. "When you're first get into music, you think nothing can deter you from your goals, and then as time goes by you begin to wonder. But in the end it all goes back to never giving up and pursuing your love - I think that is something every musician understands and ultimately relies on."

In the end, just like everything else, timing is everything, and Blue Number Nine hopes their time rapidly approaching.

For more information on Blue Number Nine visit www.bluenumbernine.com.

©The Hudson Reporter 2005 TOP


Good Times Magazine, August 2004 TOP


  Some soul, funk and a growing following
THE JERSEY JOURNAL, Friday, March 12, 2004

Their act is hot, hot, hot in Cleveland.

And they bring down the house in Buffalo, packing night clubs with relative ease.

So you'd think that Blue Number Nine, a quirky band that records an eclectic mix of funk and soul music from a basement it calls "concussion studios," could boast of having a solid and faithful fan base at its hometown shows in Hudson County.

Well, as they often proclaim on "The Sopranos": Fugghedaboutit!

And that drives Stefanie Seskin, the band's founder and leader, simply bananas.

"It's really hit or miss around here," Seskin complained during my recent visit to her home/studios, a wood-frame structure adorned with bright red aluminum siding in Jersey City's Heights section.

"I believe live music venues aren't doing well around here," she said. "It seems there's more interest in how much (money) the band brings in rather than the quality of the music."

But, take heart, my public. Here's a chance to redeem yourself.

The band, which has called Jersey City home since its beginnings in 1995, will perform tomorrow night during a champagne gala at the 15th annual Cathedral Arts Festival at Grace Church Van Vorst in Jersey City. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door.

Seskin said it's going to be a three-set gig - which means the band will perform more than 55 songs over the course of four hours.

Seems like it would be far too draining for the average person, but for Seskin, who possesses a frenetic energy that bounces off walls, it should be a breeze.

During my visit, she ushered me in with lightning speed and led me down a precarious flight of stairs to Blue Number Nine's musical dungeon. A rubber duck hanging above the entrance offers advance warning to "duck" your head because of the low ceiling.

"Can you believe a 6-foot, 4-inch teenager used to live in a room down here?" Seskin asked, her eyes dancing around the dimly lit room.

Since the start of Blue Number Nine - a name Seskin conceived after discovering one of her old blue soccer jerseys (with the number 9 attached) - this basement has been the band's nerve center. Where the band has cut three albums, their latest, "On a Shoestring," in 2003. Where Seskin has done the work she loves the most: arranging and producing songs.

Seskin's affinity for musical styles is all over the map: funk, rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, and even Motown tunes have found a place in Seskin's extensive repertoire.

"Why pick one thing?" the flutist and lead vocalist reasons.

The band's range of music appears fitting since the band itself is a study in diversity.

Seskin, a Willingboro native, said she's the product of a "mixed" background. Her husband, Marco Accattatis, who plays bass, is from Pisa, Italy. Jack Gourdine II, the drummer, was raised in Okinawa, Japan. Two background singers, Camari Frame and Sheila Connors, are from Detroit and Buffalo, respectively. The sole Jersey City native is Sal Carubba, who was tapped to be the band's guitarist about three months ago.

"Diversity is what I believe in," Seskin said. "I like to be around different types of people. It's neat to kind of put everybody in a pot and look at what you stir up."

Sometimes, Seskin said, the diversity mix is a bad thing. Attitudes among members rear their ugly heads and boil over into fiery confrontations.

"We had a fight the other night," Seskin recalled. "Marco was pulling out of a song that I thought we were going to do. And I just screamed out, 'I quit!'"

And once Gourdine, the drummer, got his walking papers after a fallout.

"He was being inconsistent and pretty moody," Seskin deadpanned.

He soon returned.

Nonetheless, Carubba, the guitarist, said Blue Number Nine is easily the most professional band he's ever belonged to.

"It's just good to be involved with people who actually give a crap," he said. "Being in it has made me raise my bar a bit."

Each band member holds down other jobs to keep afloat financially. Seskin works three days a week in the photography department of a television network she'd rather not disclose, designs Web sites and tutors kids to prepare for the language portion of the SAT. Carubba is employed as a local independent contractor, while Accattatis gives private music lessons.

"I've always tried to stay in the music realm. I don't care if I had to scrub floors at Tower Records," Accattatis joked.

Gourdine, who lives in Bayonne, has been unemployed since being laid off by a New York-based distribution center shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Making things worse, he recently broke his foot after slipping on a patch of ice.

Gourdine's streak of bad luck hasn't been detrimental to the band, which Seskin says is in a good space at the moment. It's backlogged with bookings for months, including gigs at a casino in Niagara Falls and at Hogs and Heifers, a New York City pub.

Carubba said he's anxious to get people moving to their hip current tracks as well as retro, 1970s-style grooves.

"I'm always excited when I see bodies doing this," he said, bobbing his head back and forth like a snake.

Jeff Theodore writes a column about entertainment and culture. He can be contacted at jtheodor@jjournal.com and (201) 217-2419.

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Good Times Magazine, 2003


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from RadioMike:
BLUE NUMBER NINE is Difficult to describe Without Leaving Something Out. They were buried On the Bottom of an Old pile of CDs someone handed RadioMike a Very Long time ago and after Getting through our Database we Finally got to hear their Old stuff. They Still Blow Our Minds (difficult, Very difficult to do these Days). Well This is their New One and itâs Better! You just gotta Hear this Stuff. And Theyâve Made it Easy for you to Do just That: RadioMike was sent 3 Sample CDs (Enhanced with Lyrics and Everything) with 4 tracks of Great Music that Runs the Gamut of Funk, Blues Jazz and Lots of other things We canât Think of Right Now. You just Have to Listen to RadioMike and be one of the first three people to write Us an email and tell us what Blue Number Nine song was Played this time. Now go Listen.
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Blue Number Nine - On A Shoestring (Published at SCORE!ROCKS website)
Initial Impression: I first heard them live on my last trip to Ohio hanging with Cristy. We were both digging what they were doing.

Notable Lyric: "He's the one I should but you're the one I want." - "He's The One I Should But You're The One I Want"

Factoid: This band was reviewed once before by Score! Music. After seeing them live, Cristy and I felt they got a raw deal by the previous reviewer, so we told them to send us their latest CD.

Serve With: A martini.

Comments: There is a strong Basia vibe where the vocals are concerned, with a bit more jazz and a touch of En Vogue. Yeah that's what I said. There's some serious vocal harmonizing going on here. Meanwhile, lead vocalist, Stefanie Seskin plays a mean flute and alto sax. Vocalists Shelia Connors and Camari Frame lend drummer, Jack Gourdine a hand with percussion along with some help in that department by Joel Hirsch. Minoru Kikuchi (guitar) and Marco Accattatis (bass) bring in the rhythm, while Ada Rovatti (tenor sax) and Rob Susman (trombone) round out the carefully cultivated Blue Number Nine sound. Unfortuantely, what you're not afforded by experiencing the band through the CD is the energy they display on-stage with their choreographed moves and well placed hip shakin'. Definitely a band you'll want to check out live - so pick this CD up at their next live show if you can swing it!
by Kimmie at Score! Music - www.scorerocks.com 11/2003
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blue number nine
“On A Shoestring”
By Bob Silvestri, Best of West NY, 10/2003                                        bobsilvestri@bestofwny.com
About a year ago a friend of mine told me about this group he had seen from Jersey City, NJ called Blue Number 9 featuring a Buffalo girl, Sheila Connors, on background vocals. He raved on and on about how great he thought they were. Since I trust his musical instincts and tastes, I decided to find out what the buzz was all about.

When I listened to their new CD titled On A Shoestring, a reference to the budget of the recording session, I was floored to say the least. An eclectic slice of danceable, funky rythum & blues with horns and a sultry lead singer proved my friend’s recommandation.
Stefanie Seskin who has one of the sexiest and seductive voices I’ve ever heard fronts the band. Seskin also handles flute and alto sax in addition to all the mixing, engineering and production duties. Rounding out Blue Number 9 are Sheila Connors and Camari Frame (vocals/percussion), Minoru Kikuchi (guitar), Marco Accattatis (bass/vocals), Jack Gourdine (drums), Joel Hirsch (percussion), Ada Rovati (tenor sax) and Rob Susman (trombone). The disc starts with “What Is Real” a funky horn driven dance groove. “It’s All About” features nice guitar work from Kikuchi and sexy bedroom purr vocals from Seskin. “It’s All About” has got to be my favorite track on the disc. “You’ll Know What To Do”, another CD highlight, features a pop funk groove with horns and Seskin’s lovely vocals again leading the way. The very funky “He’s The One I Should But You’re The One I Want” features more hot guitar playing from Kikuchi. The playful “Telephone Game” bounces along on horns, bongos and a sublime organ riff. Other highlights include “You Are Right There” and a funked up version of the Carole King classic “I Feel The Earth Move”.

Marked with consistently great background vocal harmonies, excellent musicianship from all band members and Stefanie Seskin’s incredibly sexy vocals, Blue Number 9 is an immensely enjoyable sound. For more information check out www.bluenumbernine.com

Blue Number 9 has another studio release available featuring the same infectious sound and Stefanie Seskin’s delicious vocals. The self titled CD features “Hook In”, “Jerking My Chain”, “Cog In My Wheel”, “Safe To Fight” and seven others. Keep listening for the hidden bonus track “It’s All About”. Great stuff, you have my personal guarantee. Blue Number 9 rolls through WNY once or twice a year; check out their link above for upcoming tour dates and info.
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blue number nine       on a shoestring        Rating - A

blue number nine's third release 'on a shoestring' is a collection of twelve tracks that take you on a groovy ride through songs that will make you want to dance, rock out, and just have some fun. The band has energy to spare and the feeling really comes through on tracks like 'It's All About.' Stefanie's voice is lovely, the backing vocals are strong, and the band is tight. This is obviously a professional outfit.

I love the subdued jazz feel of 'You Are Right There.' 'You'll Know What To Do' again shows off Stefanie's strong vocal presence, and the addition of well placed backing vocals and nice horn parts make the song a keeper.

Their songs are fun, and bring a smile to your face, like 'He's The One I Should But You're The One I Want' a place where we've all been, wanting one person, but knowing someone else is the right person. The guitar parts on this track are strong and really make it a rocker.

'Who Are The Free' brings back that jazz bar feel. Every song is marked by a very strong rhythm line, and this is no exception. 'Telephone Game' is another song that's just plain old fun to listen to. 'I Feel The Earth Move,' made famous by Carole King, is a great addition to the disc. The arrangement is great and would make Carole proud.

To summarize blue number nine have put together a disc that is fun to listen to, musically and lyrically intelligent, and a real keeper.

Dennis Halsey, 2003
The Best Female MusiciansTOP



Published in Magazine.Art Winter/Spring 2003
by Marcin Szczepanski (A longer version of this article appeared in the Polish language daily Nowy Dziennik)

"Seldom have we seen so enjoyable and diverse a combination of music, dance and fine arts as NYDAI achieved at the Europa Club on October 27 (2002) during the Chopin festival. The concert of blue number nine electrified the audience with the joy and clarity of its sound. The musicians combined funk and groove with jazz; when they began dancing on stage to the rhythm of the music the audience joined in, dancing and cheering in front of the stage..."

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No soccer mom: Stefanie Seskin
and blue number nine have the ball

Published in the Home News Tribune 4/26/02
By TAMMY PAOLINO
Staff Writer

New Jersey has no shortage of spitfire female vocalists whose energy, sex appeal, stage presence and pipes combine to produce unforgettable performances.

Barbara Walker (of Cairo), Scarlett Moore and Laurie Cagno all immediately spring to mind.

Well, ladies, better move over and free up a microphone for Stefanie Seskin of blue number nine.

I stumbled upon blue number nine while shopping for a birthday present at Borders Books and Music in Bridgewater, and found myself plopping down to listen to the band's next two sets.

Led by the charismatic and sultry Seskin, blue number nine heats up an amalgam of '70s-style funk, groovy R&B, Latin jazz, Motown and even some hip-hop. The band also is reminiscent of '60s girl groups, with its three female vocalists and fun use of choreography to amplify Seskin's strong and often funny lyrics.

But it doesn't end there. Seskin's grandfather, Fred Skerritt, was a sax player with Machito's Afro Cuban Orchestra in the 1940s, and his love of rhythm is kept alive by his granddaughter. In addition to fronting the band, singing and writing most of the band's original setlist, Seskin also plays the flute.

In addition to Seskin, the core members of the ever-evolving Jersey City-based group include Camari Frame and Sheila Connors on backup vocals, Marco Accattatis on bass, Minoru Kikuchi on guitar, Jack Gourdine on drums and Joel Hirsch on percussion. A horn section (Ada Rovatti on sax and Rob Susman on trombone) joins the bands for select gigs, as does a third female vocalist, Dayna Span.

Members travel to standing gigs (every other Thursday at O'Donnell's Pub in Harrison), other shows and rehearsals in Seskin's basement studio from their homes throughout New York and New Jersey. Tonight, blue number nine plays Conduit in Trenton.

Like most bands, the band has a cute story to explain its name.

"I should say it has some deep meaning," says Seskin, chatting prior to a rehearsal in her cluttered dining room. Sheet music, four cats, stereo equipment, instruments and cases, and a statue of Buddha provide the backdrop.

"We had to change our name, and I was on the phone with our (then) keyboard player. It was the change of seasons, and I was going through my drawers. I saw one of my old soccer jerseys -- I played soccer as a kid -- and I always wore blue and I was always number nine. So I just said 'blue number nine,' and he thought that was cool."

If the name came easy, the band did not.

While Seskin has been performing both as a solo artist and in bands for much of her life, it took her a long time to fulfill her dream of a "band that resembles the United Nations."

Having the soul of an artist and a way with words, she wrote songs, attended workshops and did the open-mic thing, but it was not until she read Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way," a workbook on breaking through creative blocks, that she founded blue number nine.


And, indeed, with members from Italy, Okinawa, Japan, Tennessee and Brooklyn, blue number nine does resemble the United Nations.

The motley crew of members amplifies the band's mix of sounds.

Seskin is comfortable with the long list of styles attributed to her band by casual listeners, fans and critics alike.

"I've never really been a fan of (any one) band. I like songs. I have a sister who's 12 years older than I am. My parents were old when I was born. I grew up listening to a lot of different kinds of music. I don't think about keeping a consistent style when I write a song. When I bring a new song into the band, the guys put their own flavor into it. I don't ever come in and say, 'Play it like this.'"

"Whatever comes out, has to come out. If I start to manipulate -- if I say, 'OK, we're a funk band, I have to write funk, well I don't want to do that.' "

Instead, there's a pop-music rant against road rage ("Turnpikes and Parkways"), grrrrl power-driven pop ("Jerkin' My Chain") and the jazz-infused crooner "sweet sugar honey."

With her head of long, red curly hair, towering frame and command of an audience, Seskin is hard to ignore. And the rest of the band keeps up with her at every turn.

The group claims it doesn't play gigs, it hosts parties it goes.

It's a party worth crashing.

Tammy Paolino: (732) 565-7330; e-mail tpaolino@thnt.com

from the Home News Tribune

Published on April 26, 2002TOP



REVIEW OF blue number nine's debut CD:
Initial Impression: Poplicious jazz-speckled numbers that highlight vocalist/flutist Stefanie Seskin.
Notable Lyric: "When we first started, you were so sincere, My knight in armor, I had nothing to fear . . . I should have known that you were not for real."
Factoid: The song quoted above, "Jerkin My Chains", contains a portion of the classic, "Chain of Fools".
Serve With: Strappy heels, a slinky black dress, and major sex appeal. - Scorerocks.com

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blue number nine concert rocks Robeson
by Doris Saint-Jean
From The Observer, Rutger's Newark paper, 3/11/02

On Tuesday, Mar. 5 between 12:00 and 2:00, blue number nine performed music from their CD at the cafeteria of the Paul Robeson Student Center... Deborah Vidmar, assistant director of Student Activities, booked the band after one of her custodians gave her the band's CD and she had liked the band's sound. "We booked them in the fall of 2000 and then again this spring..."

The sound of blue number nine consisted of a mixture of jazz and rock. [Lead singer Stefanie] Seskin described the music as "pop rock and soul"....

For advice to music students, Seskin suggested, "Have patience, perseverance and no time limits in pursuing your goals." [Sheila] Connors added, "Pursue a degree that you love."

As the group was performing, some students were eating, studying, carrying on conversations, or just sitting to inhale the music...

"At first, I was like ill," remarked Claudia Rapalo, a student in the cafeteria. "Then, their enthusiasm made me like it. They are very energetic and the songs are catchy."

"I think it's nice," commented Stanley Egejuru. "The music sounds like alternative and R&B. It has a nice beat, something [we're] into. The ryhthyms [stet] and sounds are good to my ear..."

...The group was very respectable and seemed to be like a family that got along and cooperated well with each other. The majority of the lyrics were written by Seskin. The steps and moves were created by [Camari] Frame and Connors.

The band performs the second Friday of each month at O'Donnell's Pub, 233 Harrison Ave, Harrison, NJ. Feel free to check out ... www.bluenumbernine.com where you will be able to find more information...

"It's good music," said Sophia Dalia at the end of the group's performance.

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Long Island Music Coalition The Compilation CD - Volume 2

There is so much unbelievable music generated out of Long Island that the record companies should open their ears and minds a bit more. The theories run that the close proximity to the music mecca of New York City casts a shadow over Long Island's musical prowess, but hey, give me a break!

This compilation CD is put out by the Long Island Music Coalition, a company that has been in existence since 1999 with the agenda of uniting musicians, music fans and supporters of the music scene in the area. What they have compiled is a virtual potpourri of music that will hit a nerve for fans of every genre.

Anyone out there with big bucks and any sense, listen up. Sign the band blue number nine. That's it. With the tune, "Log in a Wheel," [stet] their band's vocalist not only sounds like today's number one singer, Pink, but the tune meets and exceeds her with a similar style. It is catchy, current, and really tight, and should be radio's latest add in its "as-is" state. I'd be willing to bet the farm on this band.

The other standout band is the basals. Fronted by vocalist Holli, whose range and smooth sound are unbeatable, they should have been on a major label long ago. Their musicianship is tight, and the sound is smooth with an edge to it. Enough said.

Other notables are Neil Cavanagh's "Forgiveness" and Frogg Cafe's "Old Souls," with its Dave Matthews-style vocals and the band Extreme's tight vocal harmonies.

Get it. Both the CD and the fact that some of the most amazing music comes from the shores of Long Island! -- Carol Anne Szel, January 2002

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Band plays on for leukemia benefit
09/20/01
By Katia Raina, Journal correspondent

Lead singer Stefanie Seskin's half-brother died of leukemia. The grandmother of Jack Gourdine II, the group's drummer, died of cancer. So did guitar player Minoru Kikuchi's mother. And singer Sheila Connors' mother has just endured a mouth cancer surgery.

For many members of Blue Number Nine, an upbeat, funk band based in Jersey City, cancer is personal, just as it is for millions of others around the world, including approximately 41,200 New Jerseyans who have been diagnosed or died from the disease this year, according to the American Cancer Society.

So committing to play some uplifting tunes at this weekend's "Light The Night Walk," a 1- to 3-mile evening hike at Secaucus High School and other locations organized by the northern New Jersey chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, was a no-brainer.

"I found their pamphlet in my neighborhood and then I said, 'OK, band, we are playing at this leukemia benefit,' " said Seskin, who started Blue Number Nine in 1995. "Normally, I am very democratic in terms of letting the band decide where we play. But this time I just told them, 'We are doing it.' And everyone was like, great!"

Walks will be held in northern and central New Jersey this weekend, as well as across the country, with the only Hudson walk taking place at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Secaucus High, Mill Ridge Road. Registration will be from 5 to 7 p.m., with Blue Number Nine providing the music at Secaucus and other locations.

Some band members, who range in age from their 20s to 40s, hail originally from New Jersey, but others come from as far away as California, Italy and Japan. So far, they have independently produced two CDs, playing eclectic music that they describe as a mixture of rock, pop, jazz and funk.

They are, indeed, a civic-minded group with a history of playing benefits for nonprofits. They have performed for the New York Mini-Marathon against breast cancer, a benefit for cerebral palsy in Hoboken and a private party for the Association of Neurologically Injured Children in Bayside, N.Y.

Singer Camari Frame said she was touched by how excited kids were during their past benefit performances. And Connors loved watching 60- and 70-year-olds "sitting there, bopping."

Their high-energy music will fit perfectly with the mood the organization wants to create for "Light The Night Walk," said Kisha Achoe, campaign manager for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The event will be like a big party, she said, with clowns, magicians, face painters and speakers such as Tiki Barber of the New York Giants. The Society hopes to draw thousands of participants to all its walks to help raise money for research and patient support, she said....

Copyright 2001 New Jersey Online. All Rights Reserved.

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from Good Times Magazine
Blue Number Nine
Blue Number Nine - Independent

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up! She sings, she raps, she plays the flute like a virtuoso! 'She' is Stefanie Seskin, and her band, Blue Number Nine, has been making some waves throughout the Northeastern U.S. The self-titled Blue Number Nine is this band's first full-length CD. It offers up a hefty dose of funk, rock and R&B, in the same vein as bands such as Deep Banana Blackout and Mother Freedom. Those who have seen them will agree that this is a great live band. Here, they've done a very capable job of capturing the energy and fun of their live shows on disc, not an easy task. The musicianship of the band is tight, without being overly showy about it. They can rock when rocking is required, but they can also take it down a notch, and set a mellow groove, when that's what the music really needs. Vocally, the band is outstanding. Seskin's voice is eminently pleasant to listen to, and it's nicely supported by both male and female backup vocals from Kim Preston, Jennifer Kelly and Diane Chiorello. The best songs include 'Cog In A Wheel,' about following the dreams that let you escape that 9 to 5 rut (with vocals that suggest a Motown influence); the blazing 'Sweet Sugar Honey,' the beautiful and touching 'You Tell Me I Know,' a song about regaining trust in love, even after suffering through previous hurts ('It used to be 'Don't say it if it's not so!'/But now when I say ' I love you,' you tell me 'I know!'); and 'Safe To Fight,' which has an almost Sly and the Family Stone feel to it. To check the band out, and learn more about the CD, visit their website at www.bluenumbernine.com.
- Richard Hughes
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from Rimmshot Records

blue number nine is fresh, funky, and full of feel good vibes, man. The instrumentation and vocals are ultra sunny and full-bodied. The guitars are pure funk, the flute adds a light-hearted ray of sunshine, and the rhythm section is fierce. I dare you to listen to Blue Number Nine without letting a smile spread on your face or your feet to start tapping. Everything about Blue Number Nine is enjoyable. Blue Number Nine will ensure that the jam goes on and on. TOP




from Music Industry Connections
"The UK's essential contacts magazine for record labels, music industry professionals, unsigned artists, bands, musicians, singers and songwriters.", Sept. 2000

blue number nine are a gorgeous funky bunch with an extraordinary rich warm overtone. Take a bit of funk, jazz, pop and 70's soul and you have the beginnings of these guys' sound. Another good comparison is if you cross the Brand New Heavies with Rickie Lee Jones. I could listen to this all day and still not tire of it. This is a professionally recorded, produced and released 11 track album. Based in Jersey City, NJ, this band has it all, great tunes, great vocals and a great look.
MMMM
rating system: M - Bin it!, MM - it's lacking something!, MMM - it's good, we like it!, MMMM - it's amazing, we love it!, MMMMM - It's a phenomenon!

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Blue Number Nine

Artist: Blue Number Nine
CD: Self-titled
By Jennifer Layton
Indie-Music.com

 
Blue Number Nine has released a debut CD with plenty of breezy funk, jazzy ballads and grooves, and a lead vocalist who sounds like a mix of Rickie Lee Jones and Edie Brickell. The vocal harmonies and lovely use of the flute, piano, and horns add a touch of elegance to these tracks.

The songs are ones you can relate to while you’re caught up in the sound. I like the message of “Hook In,” a refusal to be assimilated into the way things are. “I am too a sinner, I don’t claim to be no saint,” sings Stefanie Seskin, “But I can’t take advantage of someone else in any way, while what I find and what I see in this wealthy country are people using people, justified as just business.” As someone who spends her days working in the corporate world, all I can say is “Amen.”

“Sweet Sugar Honey” takes the sensual path towards the good things in life, cutting through the bad news and sour faces in the world. There’s a sense of determination in each of these songs to achieve something better in this world. Even the heartbreak song “Jerkin’ My Chain” keeps its chin up: “The good news baby is I’ve seen the light, and yeah, I know I’m gonna be all right, and some day, baby when you’re toothless and bald, you’ll wonder why you can’t have it all.”

The band’s goal is funkification of the planet. They’re off to a good start.

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from November-January 2000/2001 Industry Edition of Geoff Wilbur's Renegade Newsletter (http://membrane.com/r/r/enegade ).


blue number nine - blue number nine: For several years now, I've been familiar with the music of NYC/Jersey-based smooth funk, pop rock singer and flutist Stefanie Seskin and her world-class band blue number nine. I also know the sacrifices and hard work that went into making this album. From the summer sunny breezy funk of the lead track "Hook In," right into industrial strength soul a la Aretha Franklin in "Jerking My Chains," the music jumped out at me as being some of the freshest of its kind I've heard in a long while. Each song showcases tasteful, orchestrated arrangements with horns, guitar, flute, and piano/keys while successfully keeping a jazzy dance groove churning under the mix. "The Moment I Saw the Sun" is a power-pop ballad with gorgeous piano intro, while their single "Sweet Sugar Honey" swings to the sound of a growling trombone, jazz vocals, rich harmonies, and yummy horns in general. "All the Way" reminds me of Basia with a pleasant edge. Stefanie's flute is totally tasty in a Grand Funk way during "You Tell Me I Know." They've achieved some sophisticated world-market, danceable pop with American Motown soul ingrained in the groove. Strongly recommended listen!!!
- Pam West
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from "Demorama", September 2000
http://www.demorama.com/archives/sep2000.html

This seven-member Jersey-area combo stirs a little bit of everything into the mix but definitely puts the emphasis on GROOVE. Some tunes are a bit funkier, some a bit jazzier, some a bit poppier (?), but they all swing, and believe me that's a rare commodity. Think Rickie Lee Jones fronting Sly and the Family Stone. Excellent musicianship, fine vocals and good production make this an excellent package. (SCIsadore) TOP




from "The Aquarian Weekly"
Aug. 9-Aug. 16, 2000

...Highlighted by "Make Believe", "Cog in a Wheel", the frosty-funked "Hook In" and a live scorcher called "It's All About," blue number nine's self titled effort is a lush, mature, stylish collection of tracks.....TOP




from "Geoff Wilbur's Renegade Newsletter"
Industry Edition, Aug-Oct, 2000

blue number nine's self titled release... showcases a mainstream-accessible, poppy jazz-driven, alt rock-influenced for of music that'd be easier to fit into a soft rock radio station's playlist than it is to describe. Singer Stefanie Seskin's voice ranges from a Sheryl Crow-esque pop/r/r/ock growl to a blues lounge temptress' purr, depending on the song. Favorites include "Hook In", "Cog in a Wheel", and "Jerking My Chains".

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