It was a low-key end of an era.
This past Saturday, Nippertown lost another jazz venue. Justin’s finale evening jazz performance featured two sets led by tenor saxophone master Leo Russo with a drummerless trio featuring guitarist Joe Finn and bassist Lou Smaldone.
The trio played a combination of standards and Christmas songs to a small but appreciative audience. Many members of the audience were unaware that this was the last evening of jazz at Justin’s until Leo announced the fact at the end of the last set.
Justin’s in Albany had been the home of the Brian Patneaude Quartet’s weekly Sunday night gig for nine years. The intimate room had hosted hometown heroes Nick Brignola, Jack Fragomeni and Lee Shaw, as well as such well-known jazz greats as Joe Magnarelli, Howard Johnson, Pete Levin, Ralph Lalama and numerous other jazz luminaries over the years. The venue will continue to have a weekly jazz piano brunch session on Sundays.
Justin’s had featured live jazz since 1976.
Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
More of Rudy Lu’s photographs of the performance can be found at Albany Jazz