Jazz drummer, composer and bandleader Joe Barna brought his new quintet, Sketches of Influence, into the Bread & Jam Cafe on Remsen Street in Cohoes on Monday, August 17 for a dazzling evening that featured a new crew of budding young jazz artists applying their chops to his original compositions.
The band’s solid rhythmic foundation was anchored by Barna, bassist Cameron Kayne and pianist Melissa Drasby. Bearing a resemblance to a young Eric Dolphy, 21-year-old saxophonist Adam Siegel’s dark-toned tenor danced passionately with 18-year-old trumpeter Rhys Tivey’s crisp, soaring lines.
Barna is one of the current crop of young turks who has put Nippertown on the jazz map in recent years, helping to build a thriving scene that also includes such top-notch bandleaders as Keith Pray, Brian Patneaude, Steve Lampert, Lee Russo and others. What differentiates Barna from others is the fact that he is a very capable composer who is resolved to push the envelope beyond the usual fare.
In addition, Barna is searching out new talent to bring into the fold, not unlike his heroes Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. Keep your eye on Adam Siegel and Rhys Tivey in the next few years because these two monster players are going places.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk