LIVE: The Alexis Cole Quintet @ A Place for Jazz, 10/10/14

October 23rd, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Alexis Cole

Alexis Cole

Photographs by Rudy Lu

Award-winning jazz vocalist Alexis Cole has made an impressive impact on audiences ever since she first took the stage as a teenager. She won the 2007 Jazzmobile competition and received an award in the Montreux Jazz Vocal Competition. And she handily won over another batch of new fans earlier this month when she made her debut at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady’s Great Hall as the third installment of A Place for Jazz’s fall concert series.

She had plenty of support from her ace band featuring smooth-as-silk saxman Eric Alexander and 78-year-old veteran pianist Harold Mabern, as they wove their way through a well-chosen selection of Great American Songbook standards (from “All the Things You Are” to “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To”), blues (“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”) and originals (highlighted by Mabern’s “Such Is Life”), as well as a show-closing romp through Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz,” featuring a call-and-response between Cole and bassist David Finck).

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As it turned out, the night marked the birthday of drummer Marcus Baylor, and in addition to a Cole-led audience sing-along of “Happy Birthday,” Baylor’s wife Jean Baylor – formerly one-half of the ’90s R&B duo Zhané – made a special guest appearance at the microphone to sing “A Beautiful Friendship.”

Considering that the evening marked the first time that Cole and Mabern had shared an evening onstage together, “a beautiful friendship” might be an apt description of the whole concert.

SECOND OPINIONS:
Jeff Nania’s review at Metroland

NEXT UP: A Place for Jazz welcomes bassist John Menegon and his quartet – Tineke Postma (sax), Frank Kimbrough (piano) and Matt Wilson (drums) – in concert at 7:30pm Friday in support of his latest album I Remember You. The concert takes place at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady’s Great Hall, and tickets are $15; $7 students; free children under age 12.

Eric Alexander

Eric Alexander

Harold Mabern

Harold Mabern

Marcus Baylor

Marcus Baylor

David Finck

David Finck

Special guest Jean Baylor

Special guest Jean Baylor