LIVE: Schenectady JAM Concert @ Proctors’ Robb Alley, 4/14/13

Schenectady Mayor McCarthy and Tim Coakley

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and Tim Coakley

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
A JazzApril story

The Annual Schenectady JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month) concert was held this year at Robb Alley at Proctors with the theme of celebrating a hard-woking, multi-talented local jazz hero. This year’s hero is longtime drummer and WAMC-FM jazz radio host Tim Coakley. Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy presented a proclamation naming April 15 as Tim Coakley Day honoring him for all of his many contributions to the Local 518 jazz scene.

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Music was presented by Dylan Canterbury leading a quintet presenting the straight-ahead style of jazz. Keith Pray’s r&b/soul influenced Soul Jazz Revival played the second set.

Both sets ended with guest musician sitting in for a jam session. A true jazz tradition.

SECOND OPINIONS
More of Rudy Lu’s photographs at Albany Jazz
Jeff Nania’s review at Metroland

 Dylan Canterbury

Dylan Canterbury

Keith Pray’s Soul Jazz Revival

Keith Pray’s Soul Jazz Revival

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24 Responses to “LIVE: Schenectady JAM Concert @ Proctors’ Robb Alley, 4/14/13”

  1. Susan says:

    In the photo, Tim is holding the 2013 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Hero Award, which was presented by Susan Brink.

  2. Earl Belcher says:

    Let me say that I’m very diappointed that it wasn’t more diverse. My group ( The New York Jazz Trio)was the last house band for the old Van Dyke in Schenectady when Peter Olson own it, but the new Van Dyck, Stockade Inn and Jazz on Jay, in my opinion doesn’t seem to allow people of color to play there. This trend seems to also be in Saratoga at One Caroline and 9 Maple and when I first moved to Albany almost ten years ago, Justin and Athos were the two that also didn’t allow any diversity.

    I won’t say that these clubs are racist, but I can say that racism in 2013 still very much alive in Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga. I would like to see brotherhood and sisterhood among the musicians and owners in the surrounding Albany areas. I believe Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga can do a better job at fostering people of all clors and not just Caucasians.

  3. Bert Pagano says:

    I cannot remember the last time I saw a local jazz group other than Out of the Box with anyone of color in the band. That being said, I also think there is a real lack of local Afro-American musicians playing jazz, a situation that has existed in the Capital District for over a decade. I sincerely don’t think it is racism that is fueling this shortage. Those Afro-American players who do pursue jazz as a career seem to move to NYC where a real jazz scene actually exists – case in point Stefon Harris. Jazz was thriving in the Albany area for a short span during the 70s and 80s, but now the few clubs that book jazz for the most part want small drummer-less bands to play background music for meager wages, not a band that is the centerpiece of the evening’s entertainment. An environment like that does not fuel interest in jazz period or motivate jazz musicians to remain in this area of any race.

  4. Greg says:

    Bert: Ten 27, the Chronicles…

  5. Bert Pagano says:

    Thanks, I knew of The Chronicles, but no knowledge of Ten 27. Where does Ten 27 play locally? I checked their site but couldn’t find a calendar.

  6. Nicholas Lue says:

    I take issue with Earl’s comment. Yes, there is for whatever reason a disparity of African American players in the area. But to claim this is due to a racist agenda among jazz musicians, whom are the most open and socially accepting people is extremely misguided. I have found that musicians are primarily judged by their talent and attitude. Earl may want to consider these qualities first before playing the race card.

  7. Earl Belcher says:

    Nicholas,

    If you had read what said you would have known that I never mention musicians. What I mention was club owners. But since you brought it up, if you think that their is not racism in the music business, then you are only fooling yourself. Since you stated that I played the race card, I call it like I see it. Your statement about whatever reason a disparity of African American, I think we both know the reason.

    Next time before you start shooting your mouth off, read what was written. It was clear to me that you have a problem when someone mention race, but that’s your problem not mine.

  8. Mike Dimin says:

    I’ve been in this area, on and off, since 1977. The jazz scene has always been and continues to be a relatively small and self grandizing, clique of players. Whether or not it is racism or the aforementioned clique I cannot say.

  9. J Hunter says:

    “The jazz scene has always been and continues to be a relatively small and self grandizing, clique of players.”

    Generalize much? I’ve been here as long as you have, and the people I know in the jazz community are anything BUT self-aggrandizing. And FYI, the jazz community in this area has a much better track record of breaking nationally and internationally than anybody else. (e.g. Nick Brignola, Stefon Harris, Brian Patneaude, Lee Shaw, Arch Stanton Quartet)

  10. Earl Belcher says:

    Mike,

    I will say it again, I didn’t say that the Caucasian Jazz musicians in Albany were racist. What I said was that some club owners were. This is my last time correcting individuals that are not reading what I stated in my letter.

    It is evident to me that there is a problem regarding diversity of Jazz musicians in Albany, and if you talked with some of the African Americans in town they seem to think it’s because of racism. My group
    (The New York Jazz Trio) haven’t had a problem getting gigs in Albany, we are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play at The Old Van Dyck, Savannahs, Athos, The New Lark Tavern, 74 State, and Hollow Bar & Kitchen.

    But let me also say that have been some clubs / Bars that have not allowed me to play after they were given a press Kit ( The New Van Dyck, Stockade Inn and Jazz on Jay, in my opinion doesn’t seem to allow people of color to play there. This trend seems to also be in Saratoga at One Caroline and 9 Maple and when I first moved to Albany almost ten years ago, Justin didn’t allow any diversity.

    I know what that is all about and if someone is tring to convice me it’s not racism then what is it.

  11. Earl Belcher says:

    J Hunter,

    Just because you say Albany jazz community has better track record of breaking national and internationally compared to who. Not New York City, Rochester, Buffalo or Syracuse, who are you refering to?

    The only time Stefon Harris is even mention in the Albany Jazz community is only when he’s performing here, other wise you don’t even acknowledge him. You seem to be jumping on his band wagan now that he has made it in NYC, it wasn’t because he had support here, that why he left. I didn’t know Nick Brignola or Arch Stanton but Brain Patneaude and Lee Shaw are very good people.

    I stand by what I said It is evident to me that there is a problem regarding diversity of Jazz musicians in Albany, and if you talked with some of the African Americans in town they seem to think it’s because of racism. The New Van Dyck, Stockade Inn and Jazz on Jay, in my opinion doesn’t seem to allow people of color to play there. This trend seems to also be in Saratoga at One Caroline and 9 Maple and when I first moved to Albany almost ten years ago, Justin didn’t allow any of color to play there.

  12. Susan H. says:

    Check out the “Planet Arts” (Catskill, N.Y.) Tunisia Project Gallery. Local jazz musicians in Tunis. This is a cultural barrier breaker!, if this helps any.

  13. susan brink says:

    I’m glad we’re having this discussion. I’ve often wondered why I don’t see more people of color on either side of the stage. Are there clubs featuring jazz that I’m not aware of? I’ve seen no evidence of racism, not with the musicians nor with the presenters that I’ve known. Perhaps there’s self segregating going on?

  14. I hesitate to get into a discussion on the internet about sensitive issues like this. I will say this, however, about the Van Dyck because it was mentioned here. I am bringing in a quartet there in June featuring Bruce Barth on piano and Steve Nelson on vibes, an African-American. I can honestly say that I have never seen a hint of racism from any jazz club owner in the area since I first moved here in 1979.

  15. Earl Belcher says:

    Michael,

    With all due respect you have not seen any racism, because it doesn’t happen to you. I can’t speak about anyone other than myself, I know racism when I see it and you or anyone can’t tell me any thing different.

  16. Earl Belcher says:

    Susan,

    With all due respect you have not seen any racism, because it doesn’t happen to you. I can’t speak about anyone other than myself, I know racism when I see it and you or anyone can’t tell me any thing different. It is evident to me that there is a problem regarding diversity of Jazz musicians in Albany, and if you talked with some of the African Americans in town they seem to think it’s because of racism. You mention that you wondered why you don’t see more people of color on either side of the stage. That’s because that they don’t get hired and then they give up.

    My group (The New York Jazz Trio) haven’t had a problem getting gigs in Albany, we are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play at The Old Van Dyck, Savannahs, Athos, The New Lark Tavern, 74 State, and Hollow Bar & Kitchen.

    But let me also say that have been some clubs / Bars that have not allowed me to play after they were given a press Kit ( The New Van Dyck, Stockade Inn and Jazz on Jay, in my opinion doesn’t seem to allow people of color to play there. This trend seems to also be in Saratoga at One Caroline and 9 Maple and when I first moved to Albany almost ten years ago, Justin didn’t allow any diversity.

    I know what that is all about and if someone is tring to convice me it’s not racism then what is it.

  17. Derek Kendall says:

    It is possible to have a serious and healthy conversation about the state of race relations in the arts, including jazz. And as some here have noted, it is an important conversation to have because it is clear that there is a lack of diversity on the band stand and in audiences. What is not healthy, however, is to level broad and vague charges against specific people and to not only label them as racists but also to accuse them of engaging in discriminatory hiring practices that, if true, would be both reprehensible and illegal. To make charges like that against club owners, many who are well known to readers of this website, without evidence (other than sending a press kit) and to do so in public and in writing is irresponsible and potentially libelous. There is a well understood legal process to determine discrimination in hiring, so if someone wanted to take their concerns to the authorities then they should do so. Unfounded accusations like those being made here unfairly harm reputations and serve as an obstacle to discussing the real concerns about diversity.

  18. The Albany jazz scene has always been a very tight knit community in my view. What I meant when I said that I have not seen a hint of racism among jazz club owners is that because we are a small community, If that kind of thing were going on, I am sure that I would have heard of it.

    I will address the Justins issue, though as we know, sadly does not have jazz anymore. Here is a small list of people of color that I have seen over the years at Justins. Jimmy Cobb, Howard Johnson, Hugh Brodie, Hal Miller, Nat Phipps, Michael Roach, Kevin McNeil, George Sessum. I am sure that others could add many more to the list.

    My other comment for now is that the current competition is so intense throughout the Capital District and EVERYWHERE for jazz gigs that it is unrealistic to think that we are all going to get a gig at every place in town. There has never been more talent in the Capital Region than there is right now. That’s a good thing but there is also a limit as to how many gigs can go around. Ask any club owner how many CDs and presskits they get a year.

    Also, I agree with Derek’s statement full heartedly.

  19. Kirsten says:

    I respect Earl’s right to his perception about what he’s experienced. Discrimination can be very subtle. It’s not necessarily something as blatant as outright hiring discrimination that could be visible to others. It’s more a matter of whether venue owners are consciously or unconsciously catering to, or trying to create, a predominantly white audience. We’d probably need to administer truth serum to get an accurate answer to that one…

  20. Rudy says:

    This is certainly a healthy discussion. Kirsten brought up a good point.

    Is there a club owner who would like to appear on this forum and address this?

  21. Earl Belcher says:

    Well said Kirsten, any time Race or Racism is brought up, some people get sensitive.

  22. Earl Belcher says:

    Derek,

    I respect your comment about lack of diversity on the band stand and in audiences, the better question to ask is why is that.

    You don’t think it’s health to state what is true and I call it like I see it, racism doesn’t happen to you, so how would you know. You make the statement that it was reprehensible and illegal to discriminate, when has it stop people from doing it. I have talked with other minorities that live in the Albany area, and their experences have also been the same as mine. What more evidence do you need. There is a process to determine discrimination in hiring, but the same people that are oversee the procedure, don’t want to take the necessary steps because some of these people are there friends and assoociates and they don’t want them or there business to be liable.

    In my experence the people that are discriminating , are not interested in diversity. So if someone is not interested in diversity how can you have a discussion about it. When has there been a real dicussion about diversity in Albany? Maybe you know the answer!

  23. Derek Kendall says:

    There is a distinct difference between:
    1. noting there is a lack of diversity in jazz groups and audiences, exploring why that is the case and what steps might be taken to rectify that lack of diversity, and
    2. naming specific clubs (and therefore specific people who run those clubs) and saying they “don’t allow people of color” or failed to hire a band after they discovered some members are African-American.
    #1 clearly needs to be discussed. We should continue to discuss this in a civil and constructive way.
    But just having a vague perception of #2 doesn’t mean it’s OK to accuse those people in a writing and in public without any evidence at all. It is blatant character assassination. And to ask those people to prove a negative, to prove they are NOT guilty of racism (and to say we probably need truth serum to really know) is just outrageously unfair. Bringing up race here is not area the key area of sensitivity but accusing people of immoral and illegal behavior (failing to hire a band based on race would be illegal) without anything to back it up should make all of us sensitive to issues of fair play and rule of law. These accusations harm people’s reputations and perhaps their businesses. So, if someone is going to use a public forum like this to level these charges they should be held accountable for more than just their perceptions.

  24. Earl Belcher says:

    Derek,

    I’ve expalin my side of this, It’s apparent you don’t get it and will never get because it doesn’t happen to you, that is not my concerns. I have given you enough of my time.

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