TOP CONCERTS OF 2012
Story by Richard Brody
Photographs by Stanley Johnson, Andrzej Pilarczyk, Jason Spiro
1. The Tedeschi Trucks Band @ the Palace Theatre, Albany, 12/2/12
In the midst of end of the semester grading, this was just the right tonic. The band was on fire, and their rendition of “Wade in the Water” brought it all together.
2. Hiromi’s Trio Project @ Freihofer Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 7/1/12
I had never heard of them, but on a tip I went into the amphitheater and was blown away by the trio’s musical dexterity and an energy level that made levitation a distinct possibility.
3. Bootsy Collins @ Albany Riverfront Park, Albany, 6/14/02
He had more costume changes than Cher in Vegas and a band that laid down some serious funk. The Mothership landed – what a party.
4. SF Jazz Collective @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany, 3/4/12
Their frequent trips to The Egg are always a treat and this tour was dedicated to the music of Stevie Wonder.
5. Ravi Coltrane Quartet @ the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts, Albany, 3/15/12
Why mess with success? I was knocked out by Ravi and his band at the 2010 Albany Jazz Fest, but he decided a different band was in order, and from the ad libbed opening musical moment, you knew that spontaneity, adventure and humor would be served up in large doses.
6. Terence Blanchard Quintet @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, Saratoga Springs, 6/26/12
He composes, arranges, instructs, and he always has incredible band members.
7. Tom Harrell Quintet @ A Place for Jazz at the First Unitarian Society Whisperdome, Schenectady, 9/14/12
A superb performance by the band in one of the outstanding venues anywhere
8. Pedrito Martinez Quartet @ A Place for Jazz at the First Unitarian Society Whisperdome, Schenectady, 11/9/12
A great show – read J Hunter’s review…
9. Santana with the Allman Brothers Band @ SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 7/27/12
Both bands were in peak form, and if like me, you wanted to hear songs from their Fillmore days, you left with a big smile on your face.
10. Richard Thompson and Friends @ the Bearsville Theater, Woodstock, 7/19/12
This was not the usual Thompson show as he shared the stage with his sons, Teddy and Jack, as well as instructors at the Frets and Refrains Music Camp, but his playing, singing and deadpan humor were fully in place.
11. Edmar Castaneda @ Freihofer Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 7/1/12
Who is that piano player? Wait, there is no piano, that’s a harp. WOW! Not to be missed if you get a chance to see him.
12. Joan Osborne @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany, 4/1/12
She went back to her R&B roots with a tight backing band and put on a great show.
13. Hamell On Trial @ the Steamer No. 10 Theatre, Albany, 2/25/12
When the world seems so out of balance that restoration is in order, there is only one person for the job. And that is Hamell on Trial, a force of nature who should be whipping our lame Congress into shape.
14. Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys with Ghost Wolves @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany, 6/15/12
Alejandro always puts on a good show, and the Ghost Wolves were a fine opening act.
SPECIAL MENTION: New Yorkers Against Fracking @ The Egg’s Hart Theatre, 5/15/12
A stirring evening of politics, community action and music.
OLD BUT NEW TO ME IN THE PAST YEAR: Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows”
We all know that our lives have been changed by the internet, but what is it doing to our brains? My favorite read of the year.
MISSED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
1. Graham Parker & the Rumour @ the Bardavon Theater, Poughkeepsie, 11/25/12
If they schedule another tour, please book ’em, Peter.
2. Kinky Friedman @ The Linda, Albany, 6/18/12
I am still kicking myself about missing this show.
3. Joe Lovano/Dave Douglass Quintet Sound Prints @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, Saratoga Springs
I was there, but could not get into the sold-out show… All is not lost, I have my ticket for Joe Lovano at The Egg 1/20, and I think it will make the 2013 best of list.
4. And there were many more, but there is always next year…