The brainchild of regional jazz drummer-composer Joe Barna, Sketches of Influence is a revolving collective featuring some of the best national and regional jazz artists – all dedicated to playing primarily Barna’s original compositions.
This time around, the Bread and Jam Café in Cohoes was converted into a live recording studio complete with a wider stage and a grand piano. The three-day live recording session was launched on Thursday, April 1 with an invite-only fund-raising dinner and concert. Last Friday and Saturday’s dates would prove to be the meat and potatoes recording dates – open to the public for a nominal $10 admisssion.
The ensemble of musicians that Barna assembled had already had its baptism by fire a little while back with two sold-out dates at Justin’s in Albany. The Village Vanguard Orchestra’s trumpet master Joe Magnarelli and saxophonist Jon Gordon were out front, while pianist Dave Solazzo, bassist Lou Smaldone and Barna were behind them, anchoring the rhythm section.
From the first note on Friday, the band simply sizzled, hot-wired jazz flying out into the near-capacity audience. The Bread and Jam Café’s intimate, laid-back atmosphere brought out the best in these players.
And if you want to know what it really sounded like, keep an eye out for the coming fall release of this Sketches of Influence session on the prestigious indie jazz label, Planet Arts.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk