On Friday, February 28th Brazilian-American percussionist and composer Lucas Ashby and his band Brain Trust performed their soft progressive jazz song called “Menagerie Carolina” on DMV Soundcheck.

Ashby has a formal education in music studying ethnomusicology at Ithaca College in New York, which he credits to helping him strengthen his understanding of music. He also learned to play instruments from his internationally touring parents, Brazilian jazz vocalist Kenia and trombonist Jay Ashby. Being exposed to multi-cultural music throughout his childhood has influenced his projects that focus on the intersections of different musical and cultural perspectives and traditions. He explores everything from subjective interpretations of multiculturally-influenced postmodern jazz music to the fusion of early 20th century Brazilian music and modern jazz.

In 2007, the composer helped produce a Grammy-winning record for a New York Voices album, and his most recent collaboration with Arco Belo received Editor’s Pick in the music magazines JazzTimes and DownBeat.

Ashby describes himself as a “utility man,” cultivating the skills necessary to back up other musicians and artists. He has his sights set on transitioning to frontman and leading his projects. As Ashby takes steps towards his frontman goal, he applied to be a Strathmore Artist-in-Residence and is using this opportunity to launch to his solo career. In addition, the multi-skilled instrumentalist formed Brain Trust, a psychedelic jazz project bridging the gap between groove-based dance music and the complex harmonies and improvisation of jazz.

Ashby is actively composing and is curating performances for June 10th and 24th. You can also catch Brain Trust performing on March 14th from 2-3 pm at Good Hope Community Center in Silver Spring, MD.