Phantom Pluckers perform at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, Conn.

Submitted by Carolyn Arnold on September 12, 2012

The Phantom Pluckers — Photo credit: Jack Beggs

Looking for a band that will meet all of your blues, and rock needs? Look no further than the Phantom Pluckers, the rock power quartet which includes renowned bassist Brian Torff, professor of music at Fairfield University, who serves as the group’s bassist, vocalist, and composer; Jamie Debicella ’11 on the guitar, drummer Jon Rivers ’12, and saxophonist Steve Salcedo.

This fall the Pluckers will kick off the Blues Rock Series on September 21 at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport and will follow up with performances in October and November. The Bijou is one of the oldest in Connecticut and serves as a destination for film, theatre, art, comedy, and music. The band will perform a mix of high-energy music spanning generations of blues, and rock and will feature six new original recordings, which can be found on their new EP release.

Christine Brown and Kathy Reynolds, partners of the Bijou Theatre, were excited to host the Pluckers. Brown said, “The Bijou Theatre is honored to be welcoming Brian Torff and the Phantom Pluckers for a series of three events this fall.  Our community is in dire need of great quality entertainment, and we know that is what we will be providing when we present this group of talented musicians.  Our venue provides the perfect atmosphere for this type of performance.”

The Pluckers were formed in 2012. Their name came from a nickname given to Torff when he worked with legendary jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli and his guitarist Diz Disley. Disley would introduce Torff as “The Phantom Plucker of Greenwich Village” and Torff thought that that would be a great name for a band.

Photo credit: Jack Beggs

The other members of the Pluckers include two Fairfield University alumni who attended Torff’s music classes. Torff said, “I wanted to work with talented young players who have new ideas and a fresh perspective. It is the same model I experienced when I was in my 20’s. I worked with much older musicians who influenced me on and off the bandstand. We pass on our musical traditions and it is time for me to do the same.”


Teaching in front of a classroom and performing for an audience have many positive correlations for Torff.  “Performing in front of an audience is not that different from teaching a class,” he explained. “I try to project a passionate intensity that I hope will be infectious. I can teach through the classroom and perhaps the songs of Phantom Pluckers will affect the listener. There are meanings in these songs and a story.”

Torff, who serves as the Music Program Director at Fairfield University, said of the upcoming performances at the Bijou: “Phantom Pluckers have never played at the Bijou and we are excited and honored to be performing at such an historic theater in downtown Bridgeport.”

Like many of the faculty in the Visual and Performing Arts Department, Torff is an active professional in his field. He has performed as a featured bass soloist around the United States including Carnegie Hall for Fiddle Fest where he appeared with Mark O’Connor, Dave Grusin, Regina Carter, Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchus Zukerman. At Fairfield University he is the founder of the popular Summer Jazz Workshop and has served as co-chair person for the music advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Show dates and times for the Phantom Pluckers at the Bijou Theatre:

More info about the Pluckers and buy tickets:

To preview the Pluckers’ LP:

For an interview with Brian Torff on Jon Liebman’s “For Bass Players Only”:


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