FEST: Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival Announces Line-Up of Bands

February 19th, 2018, 10:00 am by Greg
Chris Botti

Chris Botti

Photographs by Timothy Raab, Rudy Lu

The 2018 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival once again features a dynamic roster of artists, ranging from jazz luminaries Herbie Hancock, Gregory Porter, Joey Alexander, Jon Batiste and Chris Botti to gospel and R&B legend Mavis Staples, all of whom will be headliners at this year’s fest.

And let’s not forget the array of up-and-coming artists making their Spa City debuts – José James, Lakecia Benjamin & SoulSquad, Scott Sharrard & the Brickyard Band, Jazzmeia Horn, Keyon Harrold and more.

In addition, the fest will be highlighted by a number of unique collaborations, including the all-star TEN Trio, the threesome of Mark Whitfield, Ben Allison & Billy Drummond; the Latin Jazz duo of Alfredo Rodriguez & Pedrito Martinez; and New Orleans @ 300 featuring the Big Easy band of Evan Christopher, Quiana Lynell, David Torkanowsky, Roland Guerin and Shannon Powell.

Slated for Saturday & Sunday, June 23 & 24 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, performances will – for the first time – begin at 11am rather than 12noon on the new Charles R. Wood Jazz Discovery Stage, formerly known as the Gazebo Stage. And in another scheduling change, the amphitheater performances, which had previous begun at 12noon, won’t start until 3pm.

SPAC also announced the addition of Saratoga Jazz Fest Friday, a new expansion of the fest which will bring together a variety of local musicians performing in Spa City venues to showcase Greater Nippertown’s rich array of jazz talent. The Friday schedule of bands and venues is TBA.

Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10am on Thursday, March 1, ranging from $65-105 for a single-day ticket to $110-190 for all-fest, two-day tickets. Children ages 15 & under can purchase $20 amphitheater tickets at the gate, and also are admitted free on the lawn.

2018 FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL LINE-UP:

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2/19/18: Today’s Top Tips: Monday

February 19th, 2018, 7:17 am by Greg

MUSIC: Stefan Christensen @ One Caroline Street Bistro, Saratoga Springs. With Eternal Crimes and Safe Hex. 10pm.

MUSIC: Joe Louis Walker @ The Falcon, Marlboro. With his month-long residency, the award-winning blues guitarslinger serves up “Keys to the Kingdom” with tonight’s special guest keyboardist Jeremy Baum. 8pm. Donations encouraged.

THEATER/FUNDRAISER: “The Vagina Monologues” @ Cafe 217, Albany. Amanda Brinke directs Eve Ensler’s award-winning play as a benefit for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. 6:30pm. $35, includes three course dinner. Through Tuesday. GO HERE for more info…

READING: Carmen Maria Machado @ Bard College’s Reem-Kayden Center, Annandale-On-Hudson. The Bard Fiction Prize winner and writer-in-residence at Bard College, will read from her work, including her acclaimed short story collection, “Her Body and Other Parties.” 7pm. FREE.

OPEN MIC: Monday Open Mic @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. 7pm sign-up; 7:30pm music. $3; students FREE.

GO HERE for info regarding art gallery and museum exhibits…

Is there an event that we may have overlooked? Just add it in the comment box below…

2/18/18: Today’s Top Tips: Sunday

February 18th, 2018, 7:00 am by Greg

MUSIC: Town Mountain @ Cock ‘n Bull, Galway. Guitarist-vocalist Robert Greer, banjoist Jesse Langlais, mandolinist Phil Barker, fiddler Bobby Britt and bassist Zach Smith have been busy recording their sixth studio album with producer Caleb Klauder. 7pm. $10.

MUSIC: C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. Down in Louisiana, Mardi Gras ended at 12midnight on Tuesday, but up north here it seems as though there are no rules, so “laissez les bons temps rouler!” 7pm. $27.

FESTIVAL/MUSIC/DANCE: The Flurry @ various locations, Saratoga Springs. Taking place at a wide assortment of venues throughout downtown Saratoga Springs, Day Three of the three-day fest is a marathon of music and dancing – workshops, dance instruction, concerts, dance parties, storytelling, kids’ activities and lots, lots more. Today’s schedule features Bryan Brundige & the Piggly Wigglies, Rosie Newton & the Green Mountain Playboys, Quickstep, Vanaver Caravan, Annie & the Hedonists, Alta Havana, Garland Nelson & Soul Session and lots more. 8:45am.GO HERE for more info…

FESTIVAL/WORKSHOP: Hudson Jazz Festival @ Hudson Hall, Hudson. Pianist Armen Donelian and his fellow Hudson Jazzworks founder Marc Mommaas offer a hands-on immersion in jazz improvisation and composition based on the curriculum and methods of the annual Hudson Jazz Workshop for intermediate-level middle-school age students or higher. 11am. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete festival schedule…

FESTIVAL/MUSIC: Hudson Jazz Festival @ Hudson Hall, Hudson. Led by multi-faceted guitarist, vocalist, composer, educator, musicologist and four-time NEA Jazz Performance Fellow Richard Boukas, Quarteto Moderno synergizes traditional Brazilian genres like samba and baião with a rich melodic and harmonic vocabulary drawn from contemporary jazz and chamber music. Formed in 2008, this innovative group – also featuring bassist Gustavo Amarente, woodwind player Lucas Pino and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli – offers fiery, spontaneous interactions driven by daring improvisations and perpetual rhythmic explorations. 3pm. $25. GO HERE for more info and the complete festival schedule…

THEATER/FUNDRAISER: “The Vagina Monologues” @ Cafe 217, Albany. Amanda Brinke directs Eve Ensler’s award-winning play as a benefit for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. 6:30pm. $35, includes three course dinner. Through Tuesday. GO HERE for more info…

MUSIC: Hasty Page @ the Low Beat, Albany. With Adventure Lost and Bad Mothers. 8pm.

MUSIC: The Academic @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany. Irish indie quartet. With Good Fiction. 9pm. $15.

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2/17/18: Today’s Tops Tips: Saturday

February 17th, 2018, 8:04 am by Greg

COMEDY: Eddie Izzard: Believe Me Tour @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. Based on his best-selling book, “Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens,” it’s a funny and emotional show revealing the man behind the stand-up. 8pm. $29.50, $49.50, $59.50 & $69.50. UPDATE: This performance is now officially sold out…

MUSIC: Hot Rize @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany. Featuring Tim O’Brien (mandolin, vocals), Pete Wernick (banjo), Nick Forster (bass) and Bryan Sutton (guitar), the band is on tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their debut as one of America’s premiere contemporary bluegrass bands. With Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers. 7:30pm. $36.

FESTIVAL/MUSIC/DANCE: The Flurry @ various locations, Saratoga Springs. Taking place at a wide assortment of venues throughout downtown Saratoga Springs, Day Two of the three-day fest is a marathon of music and dancing – workshops, dance instruction, concerts, dance parties, storytelling, kids’ activities and lots, lots more. Today’s schedule features Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde, Rosie Newton & the Green Mountain Playboys, Tony’s Polka Band, Fried Bananas, the Resonators and lots more. 9am.GO HERE for more info…

FESTIVAL/MUSIC: Hudson Jazz Festival @ Hudson Hall, Hudson. It’s the “Piano Summit,” featuring Joanne Brackeen, James Francies and Aaron Goldberg. 3pm. $25. GO HERE for more info and the complete festival schedule…

FESTIVAL/FILM: Hudson Jazz Festival @ Hudson Hall, Hudson. “Thomas Chapin, Night Bird Song” is Stephanie Castillo’s award-winning 2016 documentary, drawing an intimate portrait of saxophonist Thomas Chapin, who was on his way to becoming one of the country’s greatest jazz talents when leukemia claimed him at the age of 40. Followed by a post-screening Q&A with Armen Donelian. 5pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete festival schedule…

FESTIVAL/MUSIC: Hudson Jazz Festival @ Hudson Hall, Hudson. 7pm: It’s “Take Two,” featuring a pair of acclaimed jazz vocalists – Sheila Jordan and Dominique Eade – both performing in intimate duo format. 7pm. $35. GO HERE for more info and the complete festival schedule…

MUSIC: Laura Roth & Hui Cox @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. The fab vocalist and guitarist duo performs exciting and superbly confident renditions of Ella Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Chaka Kahn, Chick Corea, Sting, Gershwin and others. 7pm. $20.

MUSIC: Soul Serenade @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy. Local favorites Joe Daley and Josh Bloomfield (drums), Frank Daley and Jeremy Walz (guitar), Mike Newman (bass) and Brian Mangini on keyboard celebrate the music of the Allman Brothers Band. 8pm.

THEATER: “The Vagina Monologues” @ the Albany Barn, Albany. Directed by Casey Polomaine and Annette Nanes, Eve Ensler’s play features Susan Pattenaude, Rebekah Desjardins, Jennifer Stark, Cheryl Whilby, Rachelle Smith-Stallman, Katherine Stephens, Maeve McEneny-Johnson, Vanessa Peraza-Marrufo, Resa Tanner and Annette Nanes. 7pm. $10.

MUSIC: The Weight Band @ Levon Helm Studios, Woodstock. It’s a release party for the veteran band’s debut CD. 8pm. $45 & $65. UPDATE: This concert is now officially sold out…

MUSIC: Richard James’ Krewe Orleans @ Putnam Place, Saratoga Springs. Pink Talking Fish’s keyboardist-vocalist has gathered together an all-star line-up of jam band faves – including Saratoga’s own bass master Tony Markellis – to play the classic music of New Orleans for a belated Mardi Gras party. 9:30pm. $15.

MUSIC: Mardi Gras Live @ the Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes. Another belated Mardi Gras party, this one helmed by Justin Henricks with members of Wurliday and the Chronicles, as well as special guest Girl Blue serving up classic zydeco R&B.

MUSIC: John Németh @ the Upper Room, Albany. The Memphis soul-blues singer-harmonicat roars into town in with his funky band. 7pm. $15 & $25. GO HERE to read our interview…

MUSIC: Big Fez & the Surfmatics @ Wolf Hollow Brewing, Glenville. 8pm. $10.

MUSIC: The Swingin’ Palms @ the Franklin Alley Social Club, Troy. 7pm.

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It’s the Weekend!

February 16th, 2018, 4:00 pm by Greg

Nipper! (Photo of Nipper in an eyeglasses store on West Broadway in Manhattan by TL Stone)

Photograph by Tim Livingston

Congratulations! You made it through the week, and now it’s time to get out there and soak up as much fun as possible during the weekend.

But before you head out for your weekend fun we’d like to send out a thank-you to everyone who dropped by this week to add encouragement, support, proof-reading and, yes, criticism, too. And thanks for helping to spread the word about Nippertown.com.

Of course, we couldn’t possibly cover the wide, wonderful world of art and entertainment offerings around Nippertown without a dedicated bunch of wonderful writers, photographers, artists, tipsters and other assorted enablers who continually enrich us all with their contributions. So a big salute goes out to this week’s community contributors:

Andrzej Pilarczyk
Rudy Lu
Ed Conway
Don Wilcock
Scooter Isaac
Richard Brody
J Hunter
Glenn Kaplowitz
Tim Livingston
Gail M. Burns

Please consider adding your name to this list. Just send us something – a review, preview, interview, photo, list, video, rant, crayon drawing or whatever’s on your mind. Remember, Nippertown is your hometown, and we can’t possibly do this without your help.

And thanks to all of the folks from the area venues and organizations who were gracious enough to provide us with review tickets and/or photo passes for their events:

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy
Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs
The Egg, Albany
Proctors, Schenectady
The Linda, Albany

Thanks for keeping Nippertown alive… and lively,

Sara Ayers
Greg Haymes

THEATER: “The Vagina Monologues” Is Back at Cafe 217

February 16th, 2018, 3:00 pm by Greg

Author-activist Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues is back at Albany’s Cafe 217 this weekend. As a benefit for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, Amanda Brinke directs the staged reading of the award-winning play from Sunday-Tuesday (February 18-20).

The cast includes Julie Adler, Jenn Bullington, Amy Frienberg-Trufas, Caryn Halte, Tracy Henry, Chardonnay LaTease, Kristin Lilkas, Mindy Mannix, Hollie Miller, Renea Pollack, Michelle Sanders, Susan Ungerman, Susan Watson-Amos and Katrina Wilkinson.

Tickets are $35, which includes a three-course dinner and the show. Tax, tip and bar are not included in the ticket price. Seating is at 6:30pm and reservations are required. Call 518.253.9821 for reservations.

A FEW MINUTES WITH… John Nemeth

February 16th, 2018, 1:30 pm by Greg

By Don Wilcock

White soul singer and chromatic harp master John Nemeth plays the Upper Room in Albany on Saturday night (February 17) with his current band, the Blue Dreamers. With 16 Blues Music Awards and two Blues Blast Awards to his credit, Nemeth is touring on his 2017 album Feelin’ Freaky, produced by Luther Dickinson at his Zebra Ranch in Coldwater, Mississippi. The album comes three years after his previous CD, Memphis Grease, recorded with Memphis soul band The Bo-Keys.

Sly & the Family Stone, Prince and now John Nemeth each had a way of being cool that was unrelated to the conventions of the form or the personalities that preceded them and defined funk, soul and Memphis grease (the name of Nemeth’s indie label, by the way). Nemeth has an advanced sense of self and a strong creative ability matched by his band. Drummer Danny Banks has been singing John Nemeth songs in previous bands and can read his moves like a twin brother. Matthew Wilson, who played bass on Feelin’ Freaky, has moved over to guitar. Replacing him on bass is Blake Rhea, a 42-year-old Memphis musician steeped in the southern sound.

Nemeth is excited about this tour. He’s been off the road for several months, and Albany is the third stop on a tour unencumbered by the craziness that accompanies promoting a new album. In a rambling interview he described a typical road tour where each band member disappears into their own earphones listening to their private music. These guys all listen to music together, and they create a sound that builds organically from the melody up. Nemeth calls it living on the edge. Some bands “cheat” and build songs that lift sections from familiar blues classics, combining music lifted from here and there, almost like a dance DJ. “It’s an awesome feeling to have a band that can create an original song from the bottom to the top,” says Nemeth.

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Tanglewood Announces Two New Concerts

February 16th, 2018, 12:10 pm by Greg

crosby1

Photograph of David Crosby by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Tanglewood in Lenox has announced a pair of new pop concerts for the summer of 2018. Both shows will be held in the Koussevitzky Music Shed.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10am on Tuesday, February 20.

Here are the details for the two new concerts:

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