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Postmodern Jukebox at the Fillmore, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, February 1, 2018

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Back in 2011, Scott Bradlee had an idea to take current pop hits and set them to jazzy big band arrangements, then throw them up as videos online.

Saying it worked is a gross understatement.

Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox is now a sensation -- of sorts, at least -- that’s lured more than 3.2 million subscribers to its YouTube channel, with views nearing 100 million. PMJ has also released a catalog of albums, three of which have appeared the Billboard Jazz Albums charts, and keeps the hits, or at least PMJ’s versions of them, coming with a new song just about every week.

And though Bradlee is content to stay at home and work on new material, PMJ has also turned into a touring concern with a roster of more than 70 rotating musicians to bring the songs to life onstage -- including Sara Niemetz, a singer-songwriter with her own body of work in addition to PMJ...

• Niemetz has been with PMJ since 2015, after the group’s rendition of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” caught her attention on the Internet. “I was totally transfixed by it,” Niemetz recalls by phone. “I grew up singing in jazz clubs and always loved that music, but with my friends it was never the cool kind of music to listen to. So it was really cool to see a pop song played as a jazz song and so well-embraced. So I found a way to get in touch with Scott and we ended up meeting up and really hit it off.”

• Nevertheless, Niemetz does shake her head sometimes that she’s on the road singing songs by Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, among others. “I mean, I have respect for what Justin Bieber’s done, but it’s not really the kind of music I would necessarily put on the iPod when I’m running around,” she says. “But it’s been cool because I’ve gotten more of an appreciation for a really well-crafted pop song, and I think people that come to the shows who might not know jazz are introduced to jazz through Justin Bieber, so it’s a win for everybody. It’s just cool for everybody to see things through a different lens.”

• Niemetz recently released a new album, “Travel Light,” which she says was “really informed by different places and sights from being on tour with Postmodern Jukebox.” And she’s becoming more adept at juggling her own career and her commitments to PMJ. “It’s balance,” she explains. “I just make sure that I’m spending time writing. When I get up in the morning at 11 or whatever time it is I’ll find a quiet place, usually the bathroom in the venue ‘cause no one’s in there. I’ll close the door and bring my guitar and just right. It’s great as long as you set aside the time to do that.”

If You Go:

• Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox

• Friday, Feb. 2. Doors open at 7 p.m.

• The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

• Tickets are $25-$65.

• Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

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