Saxophonist, composer and arranger Brian McCarthy draws inspiration from the history of jazz, while maintaining a modern awareness. His debut nonet project, The Better Angels of Our Nature, began with a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council in 2014. Earning 4 ½ Stars from Downbeat Magazine, Brian Zimmerman called the work “a jazz album that makes a cavernous impression for its arresting beauty and conceptual brilliance.” Both the Huffington Post and DownBeat Magazine included the album in their "Best of 2017" lists. Renowned author and journalist Bob Blumenthal says the project “is both timeless (as is all great music) and could not be more timely. Brian McCarthy has assembled an ensemble of brilliant players and given them music of deep roots and resonant meaning.” Brian is a Selmer-Paris endorsed saxophonist who has additionally release two albums of small group material. All About Jazz says McCarthy “touches those roads Joshua Redman travels on with a fresh footing. This band excels at building anticipation.” His quartet album Codex (2017), was awarded a grant from the Vermont Community Foundation Arts Endowment Fund in 2015. McCarthy's most recent nonet album, AFTER | LIFE (2023) was also awarded grants from the Vermont Community Foundation (2018) and the Vermont Arts Council (2020).
Offstage, Brian has laid down roots in presenting and education as Saxophone Instructor at the University of Vermont and adjunct Director of Bands at Saint Michael's College. In addition to his college involvement, Brian is active with students at the middle and high school level as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor with the Nassau County All County Festival, Green Mountain District Music Festival and Vermont All-State Music Festival. In 2011, Brian also established Jazz at St. Michael’s College, a concert and educational series featuring artists such as Mulgrew Miller, Joe Locke, Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band, and The Dave Liebman Big Band.