Big Bear Tree
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Big Bear Tree

New Haven, Connecticut, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Folk Soul




This band has no press


Still working on that hot first release.



Ryan Curran

Acoustic and Electric Guitar

Ryan is Big Bear Tree's de facto leader, whose songwriting provides the band's folksy foundation.  When Ryan was first learning to play guitar, a Led Zeppelin box set introduced him to Jimmy Page's stormy riffing, with tunes like “Achilles Last Stand” profoundly impacting his songwriting. Other favorite artists include Dave Matthews Band and Phish. Those influences came together in Big Bear Tree, formed in 2013 out of a series of jam sessions between Ryan, drummer Jay Romano and keyboardist, Mack James.

Jay Romano


There's a reason why Big Bear Tree members fondly refer to Jay as “Boom Boom.” This third generation drummer picked up his penchant for showmanship when, at six years old, his father whisked him off to his first KISS show. There he was dazzled by the lights, music, and drummer Eric Singer's thunderous presence. Jay became a drummer at age 13, aiming to play like his other heroes, Dave Matthew's Band's Carter Beauford, Phil Collins and Keith Moon of The Who. Jay plays with a wide range of local­area groups and is currently recording a full length album with alternative rock group Tanuki Suit.

Frank Brocklehurst

Electric and Acoustic Bass

Frank's playing has backbone. He combines a degree in musical performance from Western Connecticut State University with the influence of funk­bass innovators like Bootsy Collins and Flea. Frank came to the U.S. from Stockport, England, in 1990, and stayed to pursue a career in music. Since, he's played with nationally­acclaimed acts, like Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers and members of funk dynasty Parliament­Funkadelic. He works as a private music instructor and has started his own business building guitars and basses.  Frank's skills aren't limited to plucking the bass.

Magee Law


Magee's short list of favorite artists is a window unto her sound. Among them are jazz singers Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan along with late soul revivalist Amy Winehouse. Magee caught the entertainment bug, at age 7, when she was cast as the smiling girl in Mariah Carey's “Sweet Fantasy” music video. She was eager too. In second grade, the young singer was kicked out of the choir for singing too loudly. She continued to refine her craft, studying classical vocals and eventually taking a music minor at Cornell University.

Robert Milburn

Tenor saxophone

Rob loves funk. Growing up, Tower of Power albums like Oakland Stroke and Soul Vaccination were worn out on the family stereo system. But it wasn't until he heard jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker's Complete Dial Masters that he picked up the alto saxophone at age 14. Rob couldn't get that slippery bebop out of his head. Since then, Rob has been haunting New York City jazz clubs as a journalist for jazz magazines like the New York City Jazz Record and Hot House. Rob's recent projects include local­ area jazz combos and the New Haven ­based funk group Brass Tacks. 

Mack James

Keyboards and Vocals

Mack is the band's consummate devotee to the Neo­Soul movement. Artists like D'Angelo and John Legend factor into his songwriting. His keyboard skills, meanwhile, dig a bit further back to the old school R&B tradition of Teddy Pendergrass. Mack began singing in church, at age 7, but picked up the trumpet, in middle school, originally to get out of class. While studying at Cooperative Arts and Humanities School in New Haven and Berkeley College of Music's summer program, Mack fell in love with jazz and the music of Miles Davis. Mack has played with his own group the Mack James Experience and, outside Big Bear Tree, is working on a follow­up to his 2010 solo album, “The Story of Mack James.”

Band Members