LIVE: Rachelle Ferrell / Cyrus Chestnut @ Empire State Plaza, 6/15/16

June 28th, 2016, 4:00 pm by Greg
Rachelle Ferrell

Rachelle Ferrell

Photographs by Rudy Lu, Andrzej Pilarczyk

Last summer, Albany’s Alive at Five kicked off its season with Joshua Redman and the Bad Plus. Then earlier this month the Capital Concert Series at Albany’s Empire State Plaza launched its season with the knockout double-bill of Rachelle Ferrell and Cyrus Chestnut with Local 518 combo Out of the Box rounding out the evening.

Could it be that jazz is finally losing its bad reputation?

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LIVE: International Orange @ the Empire State Plaza, 6/8/16

June 28th, 2016, 3:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Timothy Reidy

International Orange – the adventurous, Brooklyn-based funk-jazz-jam trio featuring Dave Phelps (guitar), Todd Isler (drums, percussion) and Gaku Takanashi (bass) – took over the Empire State Plaza in Albany earlier this month as part of the free Made in the Shade of The Egg lunchtime concert series. They were a perfect warm-up for the Bela Fleck & the Flecktones reunion concert inside The Egg later that same day.

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The Egg Announces New Concert

June 28th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Greg

On Monday (June 27), the folks at The Egg announced that blues queen Shemekia Copeland has been added to the calendar as the opening act for the upcoming concert by the Robert Cray Band.

Now today, they’ve added another blues great to The Egg’s concert schedule. Elvin Bishop steps into the spotlight at the Hart Theatre at 7:30pm on Sunday, September 18 in support of his latest album, Can’t Even Do Wrong Right.

One of America’s foremost blues guitarists, Bishop – a member of the classic line-up of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the mid-’60s – has been performing his rollicking brand of electrified front porch music for over 50 years, and he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame just last month.

Priced at $38, tickets to Bishop’s concert are currently available exclusively to members of The Egg and will go on sale to the general public at 11am on Friday (July 1).


June 28th, 2016, 1:20 pm by Greg


By J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

By the time bassist Todd Coolman arrived at the Skidmore Jazz Institute in the summer of 1997, he had the kind of résumé you need a wheelbarrow to carry around: he’d played with sax icon James Moody for nearly 30 years, had two discs of his own under his belt, and worked with major players like Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz.

While an accomplished educator, Coolman wasn’t just coming to Saratoga Springs to be part of a summer program that has turned out a cadre of natural born musical killers – change-makers like Christian Scott, Ryan Cohan, Myron Walden, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” bandleader Jonathan Batiste. He was also there to shadow Milt Hinton, the octogenarian bass legend who made his bones with Cab Calloway and had been the spiritual anchor of the Institute since its founding in 1987. When Milt passed in 2000, Coolman had the opportunity to step into those shoes.

To be frank, though, Coolman wears his own shoes, and has worn them comfortably. Eighteen years after arriving at Skidmore, he is now the Director of the Institute, leading an esteemed faculty that includes both established veterans (Jon Faddis, Gary Smulyan, John Riley and Vic Juris) and gems of the current generation (Michael Dease, Jeb Patton and David Wong). Todd will be the quick-witted – and, occasionally, sharp-tongued – emcee when the Ron Carter Golden Striker Trio opens this year’s Skidmore Jazz Institute Concert Series tonight (Tuesday, June 28) at the Zankel Music Center, and again next Tuesday (July 5) when pianist Bill Charlap brings his trio to the perfect acoustic venue for its solid standard sound.

But Coolman hasn’t just settled into the role of year-round educator. (He is also a tenured professor at SUNY Purchase.) A few weeks ago, Todd dropped his fourth album as a leader – the Sunnyside recording Collectables. Featuring present Institute faculty member Bill Cunliffe on piano and past faculty member Dennis Mackrel on drums, Coolman took advantage of Zankel’s aforementioned acoustics and recorded a tasty set of tracks that showcases both Coolman’s booming resonance on his instrument and his keen ear for an exciting composition.

I’ve always liked Todd Coolman. Aside from the fact that he’s gone all-in on a Greater Nippertown institution I hold very dear, he’s also a fly-fisherman and a fellow Red Sox fan – which means he’s a dreamer, and we need all the dreamers we can get. Todd was kind enough to take a few minutes out of preparation for this year’s season to speak about the Institute and his new disc:

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T-Shirt Slogans Seen @ Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Fest

June 28th, 2016, 12:00 pm by Greg


A random sampling of t-shirts spotted at Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC on Saturday, June 25:

Advantage Rafa
Voodoo Harley Davidson
Grateful Dead
Today Isn’t Your Day
Sun Studios
Small But Mighty
Beijing 2008
Bernie for Peace
Orlando Brewing

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Calling All Blues Bands…

June 28th, 2016, 11:00 am by Greg

The Capital Region Blues Network.

Entries are now being accepted to International Blues Competition presented by the Capital Regional Blues Network. This year’s cash prize has tripled to $1500 for the winning band.

The deadline to enter is Friday, July 8. The live competition will be held on Saturday, August 6 at The Linda in Albany.

Here are the requirements:

– At least one member of the band must be a current dues-paying member of the Capital Region Blues Network. GO HERE to join…
– The band must have a minimum of one original blues song.
– The band must play primarily blues music.
– The winner of the local competition is expected to perform in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January and February.

GO HERE for full details and entry requirements…

To enter the competition, send an email to

FREE: East Greenbush Community Library’s Summer Music Series

June 28th, 2016, 10:00 am by Greg
Lost Radio Rounders (photo: Abby Beaudoin)

Lost Radio Rounders (photo: Abby Beaudoin)

The East Greenbush Community Library is once again presenting its annual free summer concert series, and as in years past, this one’s a little different than most of the library concert series around Greater Nippertown. It’s held indoors, rather than outdoors on the lawn, so seating is limited, and registration is recommended to insure admission.

The series kicks off on Wednesday (June 29) with the vintage Americana duo Lost Radio Rounders, and stretches from country to jazz over the course of the summer. All concerts take place at 7pm on Wednesdays.

Here the line-up of free concert for the East Greenbush Community Library’s 2016 Summer Music Series:

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6/28/16: Today’s Top Tips: Tuesday

June 28th, 2016, 7:00 am by Greg

MUSIC: Ron Carter Trio @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, Saratoga Springs. It’s the kick-off concert for the 2016 Skidmore Jazz Institute concert series. One of the most original, prolific and influential bassists in jazz, Grammy Award-winner Ron Carter leads his trio, which includes Donald Vega (piano) and Russell Malone (guitar). 8pm. $8; $5 seniors; FREE students & children.

MUSIC: The Refrigerators @ Brunswick Community Center lawn, Troy. 7pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule…

THEATER: “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” @ the Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Stockbridge. Tennessee Williams’ classic directed by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Auburn. 7pm. $62. Through Saturday, July 16.

MUSIC: Skeeter Creek @ Frank A. Leak Amphitheater for the Arts in Cook Park, Colonie. 6:30pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule… UPDATE: this show has been postponed to 6:30pm on Wednesday (June 29) due to the threat of severe weather…

THEATER: “American Son” @ Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, Pittsfield. Christopher Demos-Brown’s explosive new drama examines our nation’s racial divide through the eyes of an estranged, interracial couple. Over the course of one evening, the couple’s disparate backgrounds collide as they confront an unexpected crisis involving their son, the police and an abandoned car. 7pm. Through Saturday, July 9. GO HERE to read review…

MUSIC: Yankee Doodle Band @ Schodack Town Park, Schodack. 6pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule…

THEATER: “Kimberly Akimbo” @ Barrington Stage Company’s Blatt Center, Pittsfield. Starring Debra Jo Rupp (“That ’70s Show”) and set in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, David Lindsay-Adaire’s hilarious and heartrending play focuses on a teenager with a rare condition causing her body to age faster than normal… and her dysfunctional family. 7:30pm. Through Saturday, July 16. GO HERE to read review…

MUSIC: Downstairs Work @ Pauly’s Hotel, Albany. With Stocksmile and the Solar Jypsys. 8pm. $8.

THEATER: “Fiorello!” @ the Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge. What is a progressive politician? Look no further than Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical “Fiorello!,” a big-hearted look at Mayor LaGuardia and his battle for the people of New York City. Directed by Bob Moss. 7pm. $60. Through Saturday, July 23. GO HERE to read review…

OPEN MIC/COMEDY: The Low Beat Comedy Open Mic Night @ the Low Beat, Albany. 7:30pm sign-up; 8pm funny.

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