Backstage @ SPAC with George Wein, 6/25/11

June 30th, 2011, 3:16 pm by Greg

Backstage with George Wein at Freihofer’s Jazz Festival, 6/25/11

Interview and video by Susan Brink

LIVE: Freihofer’s Jazz Festival @ SPAC, Day One, 6/25/11
LIVE: Freihofer’s Jazz Festival @ SPAC, Day Two, 6/26/11


Flashback Foto: Name the Band, Win a Prize!

June 30th, 2011, 2:00 pm by Sara

Flashback Foto

It’s Thursday, Thursday, gotta get down on Thursday…and time for another Flashback Foto!

A FREE PAIR OF PASSES to the Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany will go to the fifth commenter who correctly identifies this band. Please keep in mind that all of the weekly Flashback Fotos are of local Nippertown bands of yesterday, which should help steer you away from guesses like Tesla, Trixter and Tony! Toni! Tone!.

To make it fair, comments on this post won’t show up until we announce the winner on Monday afternoon. One comment per person, please, and be sure to leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. Good luck! And the answer was…The Colourforms, featuring, from left to right, Scott Cole, Dennis Blaine, Jim Haggerty and Dave Pollack. Even accounting for British vs. American spelling, we didn’t have a winner. Drop by on Thursday for another change to win tickets…

LIVE: Freihofer’s Jazz Festival @ SPAC, Day Two, 6/26/11

June 30th, 2011, 1:00 pm by Greg
Sing The Truth: Lizz Wright and Angelique Kidjo

Sing The Truth: Lizz Wright and Angelique Kidjo

The weather on Sunday hit that sweet spot you rarely see at Freihofer’s Jazz Festival: Just cloudy enough to keep the sun from beating your head in, just cool enough to make you forget it wasn’t the middle of summer. Still, I sunblocked up as I sat down to watch Rebecca Coupe Franks open the Gazebo Stage. Backstopped by sterling pianist Luis Pedromo, Franks has got chops, but she’s also got guts – not only for playing all-original material, but for singing her own lyrics, because as a vocalist… well, Franks is a great trumpet player. Nonetheless, I heard depth and intention in her material, and if she puts as much work into her singing as she put in her playing, something very cool could happen someday soon.

Where the hell was this Tia Fuller on her last disc?! To my mind, the former Beyoncé back-up player was completely overshadowed by the all-star cast on her Mack Avenue debut “Decisive Steps.” But here, dialed in with a tight quartet ram-rodded by drummer/brother-in-law Rudy Royston, the charismatic alto player was an absolute revelation. The bigger news, though, was Fuller’s sister Shamie Royston, who’s as hot on piano as Fuller is on sax. She writes the lion’s share of Fuller’s material, and a little bird told me Royston was recording her own stuff a few days before this show. Shamie Royston: Remember the name!

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Parade of Shoes: Jimmy Heath

June 30th, 2011, 12:00 pm by Greg

Parade of Shoes: Jimmy Heath
84-year-old jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath in concert with the Heath Brothers at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs, 6/28/11

Photograph by Rudy Lu

Real Good for Free: Monday Night Concerts in the Park, Thurman

June 30th, 2011, 11:00 am by Greg
The Lustre Kings

The Lustre Kings

Monday Night Concerts in the Park are held rain or shine under cover at Veterans’ Memorial Field in Athol. Bring a comfortable chair or blanket; wear your dancin’ shoes; and dress in layers for changeable mountain weather up there in the north country. Local not-for-profit groups offer food.

Hosted by the Town of Thurman, the concerts take place throughout the months of July and August at 7pm on Mondays.

Here’s the line-up of musical talent for the summer of 2011:

Monday (July 4): Smokey Greene. Followed by fireworks display
July 11: The Vintage Country Band
July 18: The Bluebillies
July 25: The Warren County Ramblers
August 1: The Lustre Kings
August 8: The Charles Cornell Quartet
August 15: The Sky Blue Boys
August 22: The Nancy Walker Trio
August 29: The Stony Creek Band


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Be Here Now: Henry’s Rifle CD Release Party @ Valentine’s, 7/2/11

June 30th, 2011, 10:02 am by Greg
John Alfred

John Alfred

Henry’s Rifle – the solo project from John Alfred of garage-blues duo the Killerados – will unveil a six-song debut EP at a CD release party at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany on Saturday.

Backed by members of the Slaughterhouse Chorus and recorded live in the band’s home studio, Henry’s Rifle’s self-titled EP is a collection of fire ‘n’ brimstone country-blues that conjure up the ghosts of America with a scorched holler and a battered six-string banjo.

Henry’s Rifle will celebrate the CD with a full-band set at 8pm on Saturday at Valentines, sharing the stage with infamous Texas one-man-band Possessed by Paul James (in support of the new album, “Feed the Family” and special guests Yard Sale (a foot-stompin’ Ulster County combo). NOTE: Yankee Cockfight – who was also originally booked for the show – has dropped off the bill.

Admission is $10, which includes a copy of the Henry’s Rifle debut CD.

6/30/11: Today’s Tips: Thursday

June 30th, 2011, 9:00 am by Greg

MUSIC: Thompson Square @ Corning Preserve’s Riverfront Park, Albany. The Alive at Five concert series checks in with its first non-oldies show of the summer – the hit-making country duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson. (Read our review of their Proctors concert, 3/11). With the Hillbilly Horns. 5pm. FREE.

MUSIC: James Taylor & Guests @ Tanglewood, Lenox. 8pm. $20-$99. Through Monday.

THEATER: “Three Hotels” @ the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown. It’s opening night for Jon Robin Baitz’s play; directed by Robert Falls; starring Maura Tierney and Steven Weber. 8pm. Through Sunday, July 24.

MUSIC: The Terry Gordon Quintet @ Jay Street, Schenectady. The Jazz On Jay lunchtime concert series continues with the trumpeter and his band. 12noon. FREE.

MUSIC: The Skidmore Jazz Faculty @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, Saratoga Springs. An all-star jazz combo. 8pm. FREE.

OPERA: “Cosi Fan Tutti” @ SPAC’s Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs. The first performance of Opera Saratoga’s second offering of the season. Directed by David Lefkowich and conducted by Albany Symphony’s David Alan Miller. 7:30pm. $55-$80. Through Saturday, July 9.

MUSIC: J.P. Harris & the Tough Choices @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. Scruffy, old-school honky-tonkers from Vermont. With Liv Carrow. 8pm. $15.

MUSIC: Kenny Loggins @ Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown. Get footloose with the Grammy winning singer-songwriter at a benefit concert for Catskill Area Hospice. With Blue Sky Riders. Plus hors d’oeuvres, light and one-hour open bar. 6pm. $125.

MUSIC: Sensemaya @ Taste, Albany. Percolating jazz with a Latin spice. 7pm. $5.

CABARET: “Ludwig Live!” @ Seven Hills Inn Cabaret, Lenox. A new irreverent, song-filled cabaret created by Emmy Award-winning comedy writer Nancy Holson; starring Charles Lindberg as Ludwig von Beethoven. 8:30pm. $40. Through August 30.

MUSIC: Abdulaziz Issa @ the Empire State College Troy Unit at the Rice Building, Troy. The Lebanese oud player (and Empire State College alum) performs a free concert. 6pm. FREE.

LIVE: Solid Sound Festival @ MASS MoCA, Day One, 6/24/11

June 29th, 2011, 5:00 pm by Greg
Wilco's Jeff Tweedy

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy

Wilco fans arriving for the second Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA on Friday found that not much had changed from last year’s inaugural event. The often-photographed rooftop Wilco sign from last year (or a version of it) now sat perched against a fence at the main concert site, Joe’s Field. And the onsite record store was moved this year to a more prominent spot between two stages, all the better to move copies of Wilco’s new self-released 7-inch vinyl single, “I Might.”

Otherwise, much was the same. The small food company vendors were there again, including last year’s crowd favorite Samosaman from Barre, Vermont. The dunking booth promised another opportunity to soak Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, although the weekend’s many downpours could take care of that. And once again, DJs spinning classic soul were there; this time, the Rabbit Factory’s DJ John Ciba spun 45s as the crowd steadily filtered into the art museum grounds throughout Friday afternoon and evening.

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