LIVE: Jazz at the Lake @ Shepard Park, 9/14/14 (Day Two)

September 23rd, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Jane Bunnett (photo by Rudy Lu)

Jane Bunnett (photo by Rudy Lu)

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu, Andrzej Pilarczyk, M. Cheri Bordelon, J Hunter

Ahhh, there’s no place like home – even if it is windy, chilly, and you’ve got to get there over an hour before showtime if you want to get a good view. The Shepard Park amphitheater was more crowded than usual at that time, and the “blame” goes to Mayor Bob Blais, who told the Lake George meter readers to stay home that day. With no need to park some distance from park, most of the good spots were taken by the time I rolled up. Some of those who weren’t able to lay their picnics out on the lawn the day before were already setting up lunch, and while I didn’t get my usual perch, the spot I did claim gave me a prime view of one of the most interesting afternoons I’ve ever spent at Jazz at the Lake.

Let’s start with Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee, whose 2013 release Heels Over Head went over my head completely. Maybe I’d been listening to too much Rebirth Brass Band at the time, so I just didn’t feel Martin’s unique variant on NOLA street music. But when I saw the group on stage, in full cry, it all came together for me. Watching Sexmob do its own wild thing the day before might have helped the process; having Sexmob leader Steven Bernstein playing alongside trombone legend Curtis Fowlkes and tuba player Marcus Rojas definitely helped matters. Either way, when that mammoth front line launched its first salvo, you could taste that spicy gumbo, and developing a taste for it was not hard.

Read the rest of this entry »


LIVE: Steely Dan @ SPAC, 8/31/14

September 23rd, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg


Review by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Steely Dan dubbed their latest tour – which came to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on August 31 after travelling across North America for much of the summer – the “Jamalot Ever After Tour.” No real subtlety there – assuming that by “Jamalot” they meant their big band of wizard-proficient musicians and vocalists would stretch way out on jazzified, solo-filled versions of their songs, which were culled primarily from the group’s ‘70s studio recording heyday.

But “jam” also implies an element of spontaneity and, no, this was a carefully scripted affair, based on a fairly predictable formula and set list honed over the group’s last several tours – heavy on the (admittedly brilliant) tunes from the multi-platinum Aja (“Black Cow,” “Aja,” “Josie,” “Peg”) and FM staples like “Hey Nineteen,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” “My Old School” and “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number.”

Steely Dan masterminds Donald Fagen (keyboards and vocals) and Walter Becker (guitar) now embrace touring in a way they never did in their more studio-focused early days, but given their reputation as control freaks in love with extreme precision and technical proficiency, it’s no real surprise that they would approach their live show the way they do now – with a highly polished band of pros who showcase their jazz-pop prowess by taking solos throughout the night, lit under a rotating spotlight.

Concert-goers were still making their way to their seats as the 11-piece backing band – minus Fagen and Becker – opened with the Latin-flavored instrumental cover of Ray Bryant’s “Cubano Chant.” Then the two somewhat curmudgeonly looking lead guys arrived – Fagen taking his hunched seat behind the keyboard for “Black Cow” and “Aja,” the latter song featuring a Fagen keytar solo, a sax solo by Walt Weiskopf and a drum solo by Keith Carlock.

Read the rest of this entry »

LIVE: Sirsy @ Gaffney’s, 8/24/14

September 23rd, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg


Photographs and video by Timothy Reidy

The pop-rock duo Sirsy – featuring Melanie Krahmer and Rich Libutti – were joined by Australian singer-songwriter Travis Caudle as they closed out Travers weekend at Gaffney’s in Saratoga Springs last month.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jim Brochu Gives His Regards to Broadway in His One-Man Show @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

September 23rd, 2014, 1:00 pm by Sara
Jim Brochu and his cast of “character men.”

Jim Brochu and his cast of “character men.”

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: “Character Man” at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is a wonderfully funny and touching evening of unforgettable theatrical memories. Jim Brochu may not be the first actor to draw on the famous and near-famous he has rubbed shoulders with during a long and rich life to create an evening’s entertainment, but he is certainly one of the best. As he explains at the outset, playing a “character man” means you are an essential part of any play, even though people are not likely to remember your name.

Gail M. Burns: Jack Gilford, Bert Lahr, Lou Jacobi, Zero Mostel, Jack Albertson, Phil Silvers, Charles Nelson Reilly… Indeed, while I recognized many of the names Brochu mentioned – and their faces as they appeared on a screen upstage – I am hard pressed to place his mentor, David Burns (obviously no relation), even though his face was shown at various ages throughout the show. But Burns was Brochu’s dear friend and enabler – his entree into the fascinating and frustrating world of show business.

Larry: For an hour and a half he certainly keeps the Barrington Stage audience spellbound as he rattles off anecdotes and stories about his father, his co-stars, and his beginnings as an orange drink seller in lobbies at intermission. The period he focuses on most effectively is the one in which I was a stage door Johnny myself. But while I was outside with a program and a pen he was running to get corned beef sandwiches from a deli for Cyril Ritchard, Australian stage, screen and television actor, and director. Ritchard is probably best remembered today for his performance as Captain Hook in the Mary Martin musical production of Peter Pan.

Gail: I can just taste that orange drink, Larry. It was watery with strong overtones of cardboard, and it was wildly overpriced, but you HAD to buy one when you went to the theatre in New York. I suspect now that I, like Brochu, could no longer afford one, let alone a Broadway ticket, but the very mention of that beverage brings back memories to anyone who has ever darkened a Manhattan theatre.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

The Capital Land Crate Digger: “Out After Dark” (1979)

September 23rd, 2014, 12:00 pm by Greg

Roy Loney: Out After Dark

Review and photograph by Ross Marvin

The Capital Land Crate Digger brings you reviews of vinyl obscurities found for $10 or under at Capital District record stores, thrift shops, garage sales and junk emporiums. The vinyl archeologist behind this column is Ross Marvin, an English teacher and music enthusiast who lives in Saratoga County. Ross has over 1,000 pieces of vinyl, is running out of shelf room, and can be found getting his fingers dirty in a box of records near you.

ALBUM: Out After Dark
ARTIST: Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers
LABEL: Solid Smoke
YEAR: 1979
PURCHASED: Last Vestige Music Shop, Albany, NY
PRICE: $6.99
DATE: August 30, 2014

Here’s a little story that sums up the Capital Land record store scene. At the end of July I had my annual record garage sale in Clifton Park and despite ridding myself of several tons of tunes (making my wife immeasurably happy), I was still left with some quality merchandise. Like most serious record collectors, I deal to pay for the habit. So, I took a stack of wax to Troy’s Citizen-of-the-Year Jimmy Barrett down at the River Street Beat Shop in Troy. The always fair Barrett gave me some credit at the store, and before you know it I was pulling out more records than I expected. I felt a heady rush when I came across an extremely clean promo 12” single of legendary Flamin’ Groovies frontman Roy Loney doing the Elvis hit “Return to Sender”.

Norton Records co-founder Miriam Linna probably said it best about the Groovies that they were the American Rolling Stones, raised on Sun Records rather than Chess. It’s a fitting description of the Groovies early records like “Teenage Head” and “Flamingo” that sound more ’50s rock and rockabilly informed than blues derived. When Loney left the band in the early ’70s, he became a record clerk in San Francisco, but never exactly stopped recording, making several records on the Solid Smoke and War Bride labels as Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers. The Phantom Movers may well have been called the Phantom Groovies as they included original Groovy drummer Danny Mihm, and sometimes-Groovy lead guitar player James Ferrell. The group was rounded out by Maurice Tani on bass, and Nick Buck on keyboards, with Loney belting out snarling lead vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sanctuary for Independent Media Announces Schedule of Concerts, Films, Events

September 23rd, 2014, 11:00 am by Greg

As we announced yesterday, the fall season of events at the Sanctuary for Independent Media kicks off on Saturday with the fourth annual free outdoor StoryHarvest community celebration in the nearby Freedom Square in Troy, featuring performances by Nation Beat and Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra.

But there are plenty of other events scheduled at Troy’s Sanctuary throughout the rest of the year – ranging from concerts to films and speakers. Highlights include musical performances by the alt LA-based band Las Cafeteras, jazz pianist Myra Melford and the genre-bending Jaimeo Brown Transcendence; a talk by radical environmentalist Leslie James Pickering; screenings of new films (with the filmmakers) including “The Yes Men Are Revolting” and another on the highly controversial subject of Palestinian rights, and much more.

Admission to events is by donation: $10 suggested ($5 student/low income) unless otherwise noted.

Here’s the fall schedule for the Sanctuary for Independent Media:

Read the rest of this entry »

In Brief: Ramersdorfer and Van Alstine at LGAP [Get Visual]

September 23rd, 2014, 10:00 am by Sara
A view of Confluence of Opposites III at Lake George Arts Project featuring Storm Warning II, left, and Sisyphean Circle, right, by John Van Alstine

A view of Confluence of Opposites III at Lake George Arts Project
featuring Storm Warning II, left, and Sisyphean Circle, right, by John Van Alstine

Review by David Brickman

The idea of a show of only sculpture shouldn’t seem at all radical, but it is uncommon enough that it bears noting. And when such a show is presented by equal partners in a domestic relationship, each with significant international showing experience, at the best little public gallery in our region, it is noteworthy indeed.

Caroline Ramersdorfer and John Van Alstine are not opposites at all, despite the flowery title of their well-wrought exhibition, “Confluence of Opposites III,” at the Lake George Arts Project’s Courthouse Gallery; rather, they share similar characteristics that are more significant than nationality or gender or material or technique. Both work in three dimensions but really emphasize a frontal view of their carefully assembled compositions; both combine strict geometry with naturalistic forms; and both work in dramatic, abstract gestures.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

9/23/14: Today’s Tips: Tuesday

September 23rd, 2014, 8:00 am by Greg

ART ON FILM: “David Bowie is” @ the Spectrum 8 Theatres, Albany. A documentary look at the worldwide traveling exhibition featuring a remarkable collection of photographs, stage costumes and other rare memorabilia and possessions from the David Bowie Archive. Coinciding with the exhibit’s stateside opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. One screening only. 7pm. $15.

MUSIC: The MIX @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany. Based in Braunschweig, Germany, band is comprised primarily of individuals with autism and other disabilities. Their goal is to spread the message of inclusion while simultaneously showcasing the individual talents of each member. 5pm.

MUSIC: Bobby Amaru & Nolan Neal @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany. The lead singers of Saliva and Hinder are getting together to play a handful of acoustic shows. This is one of ‘em. With Mumbai Standstill and Myron James. 8pm. $10.

MUSIC: Too Human @ Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield. A Celebration of Song: The Great American Songbook, as performed by Ellen Schwartz and Roger Bruno. 7pm. FREE.

READING: Edith Grossman @ UAlbany Campus Center’s Assembly Hall, Albany. The celebrated translator of Spanish literature reads from her newest work, “Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz” (2014), a collection of poems by the 17th century nun, poet and feminist, Sister Juana. 8pm. FREE. Also a free seminar on translation at the Assembly Hall at 4:15pm.

OPEN MIC: Open Mic with Cameron & Ryder @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. 6:30pm sign-up; 7pm show. FREE.

OPEN MIC: Open Mic @ the Low Beat, Albany. Hosted by Jimmy Loveless. 8pm.

Caffe LenaHolly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!Leave Regular Radio BehindThe LindaHudson SoundsBerkshire On StageAlbany PoetsArtist Charles HaymesKeep Albany BoringAnimalKind