Our Story

The Highliners is a jazz project dedicated to exploring a wide range of American music, fueled by innovative, tight arrangements and a soulful, sophisticated sound.

Founded in 2013 by vocalist Melissa Fogarty, saxophonist Debra Kreisberg and pianist Steve Newman, The Highliners' creative direction reflects its members’ individual roots in jazz, Latin, funk, rock, klezmer, opera and beyond. Mining the richness and depth of American music, from the American Songbook to deep-cut classic jazz to jazz-pop, The Highliners cultivate an original perspective on both vintage and modern repertoire, dissolving traditional boundaries and making each tune uniquely their own.

All established players on the New York City music scene and beyond, the individual versatility of these musicians has been heard in performances with Natalie Merchant, Jill Sobule, Taylor Mac, New York City Opera, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Metropolitan Klezmer, Isle of Klezbos and among many other renowned artists and ensembles.

Featuring Melissa Fogarty's astoundingly versatile vocals, Debra Kreisberg's cool, bebop-driven alto saxophone, Steve Newman's expansive harmonic sensibility, plus world-class acoustic bass and drums holding down the groove, the band has developed a highly personal sound that is attracting a growing number of fans at venues throughout New York City.