Caribbean-American musician Brandon Bain to ‘jazz up’ VINCI Father’s Day celebration

Brandon Bain performs with Pauline Jean, a vocalist of Haitian descent.
Photo by Nina Galicheva

Caribbean-American musician Brandon Bain is expected to “jazz up” an all-inclusive Jazz & Cocktails Father’s Day celebration on Sunday afternoon at Kendra’s Place, 1744 Nostrand Ave., corner of Clarendon Road, Brooklyn.

Bain, a Brooklyn resident, whose mother hails from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and father from Grenada, will headline the event hosted by the Brooklyn-based Vincentian-American National Charities, Inc. (VINCI).

“I recently performed at the Havana Jazz Festival in Cuba, and the audience was very into hearing Black American music by foreign performers,” Bain, who is also a videographer, told Caribbean Life. “It felt good to perform in a tropical environment, and I got the idea that I would love to perform in St. Vincent and Grenada, where my mom and dad were born, at some point in my career.

“Funny enough, I went to one of my favorite Vegan spots, Nanni’s, and met Wayne Raguette, the owner. I heard the accent and mentioned my mom, and he knew of my family. (Raguette is also the president of VINCI).

“When he asked me to perform for VINCI, we both realized that my mom, Phyllis DuPont of Lodge Village (in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital), was a member of the organization,” Bain added. “I was excited because, while my dream of performing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has yet to be realized, performing for a Vincentian audience in Brooklyn is pretty close (laughs). I’m really looking forward to this.”

Bain – who was born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and is also known as “Mister Bain” – said he is passionate about two things: music and visual storytelling through video.

In the appropriately inherited vintage spirit of such greats as Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Harry Belafonte, Marvin Gaye and Sammy Davis. Jr., Bain refreshingly blends pure silky tones, humor and modernly honest renditions of all of the greatest classics.

Popularly welcomed at all of New York’s major jazz clubs, Bain is a staple at the legendary Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, and has performed at the Apollo Music Café, Birdland, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Midsummer’s Night Swing, the Havana Jazz Festival in Cuba and the All My Friends Are Stars Music Festival in Sweden.

Bain said he has hosted a week-long celebration of Caribbean-American Heritage, performing jazz, pop and calypso standards at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

He also recently produced and performed a tribute to Harry Belafonte, celebrating his 1956 album, “Calypso”, the first million selling record in the US.

As a visual artist, Bain said he found his niche as a videographer on the New York City Jazz scene, focusing on younger talent.

He said he specializes in stylized short-form documentaries, legacy projects and capturing performances for under-sung musicians in traditional genres like jazz, the Blues and spoken word.

Caribbean-American musician Brandon Bain.
Caribbean-American musician Brandon Bain. Photo by Nina Galicheva

Bain said he won $2,600 in the New York State Lottery and used the funds to buy a Canon Mark II 5D camera.

By 2012, he said he founded the Capsulocity Network, a self-funded web series for up-and-coming talent and experienced legends.

Bain said his series has documented nearly 200 artists at the beginning of their careers and won a 2015 Jazz Journalists Association Award for “Best Short-Form Video.”

He said NPR “succinctly profiled” his award-winning series as “unscripted magic.”

Bain said he developed a passion for storytelling after interviewing his late-grandmother about her life.

He said he was personally hired by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to build the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youtube Channel, and was a director for its “A Night in the Life” series, documenting seasoned jazz veterans like vocalist Jon Hendricks (Lambert, Hendricks and Ross), singer Marilyn Maye and trumpeter Clark Terry, among others.

Bain said he studied at Brooklyn College and created his own Bachelor of Science degree in TV, Radio and Journalism, and also studied abroad at the University of London and Nanjing Normal University in China.

As a writer, he has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, AM New York, SCRATCH Magazine, Teen People and more.

Bain said the music he has pursued is related to his grandmother and father’s playing their music when he was young.

He said his Grenadian grandmother played The Mighty Sparrow “a lot”, and that there was “a huge influence” from Nelson, Kitchener, Beckett and Winston Soso.

“My Vincentian grandmother Annie DuPont introduced me to Nat King Cole, and I fell in love with jazz, which is the community I have been playing for mostly,” Bain said. “But we (the band and I) always represent by fusing a Caribbean-American sound.”

He said his Grenadian-born father, Royan Bain, who also plays bass and is a songwriter, “took us to his rehearsals,” but he said he wasn’t too interested as a kid.

“I think after college, after being a journalist for a few years, I wanted to be more on the creative side, and I discovered my voice at an open mic around 2007,” Bain disclosed. “Once I started singing, I didn’t know I had it in me. I recalled the albums my dad played for me. And Harry Belafonte became an influence.

“I liked the way he approached traditional Caribbean music, and he was very intentional and into activism,” he added, stating that he recently performed a tribute celebrating Belafonte’s 1956 album, “Calypso.” “I was proud and somewhat surprised to know that island-music was the first to break that barrier.”

That album includes songs such as “Day-O” and Kitchener’s “Jump in the Line.”

Bain said they were written by Irving Burgie, “who used to rehearse his choir” at Bain’s great aunt Eslyn Bain’s home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Bain said Eslyn Bain died last month but had given him a book of Burgie’s music from her days singing in the choir.

“I look forward to VINCI’s annual event and connecting to my heritage through music,” said Bain, disclosing that he plans to release his first single later this year.

For more information, visit Bain’s website: