Archive for the ‘LIVE’ Category

LIVE: Michael Eck @ Steamer No. 10 Theatre, 4/19/14

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Michael Eck

Michael Eck

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Tom Lindsay

Ten years ago for his 40th birthday, singer-songwriter-musicman about town Michael Eck was honored with a surprise party at Valentine’s Music Hall in which a big batch of his musician pals and bandmates (past and present) took the stage to sing his songs back at him.

Last Saturday, Eck stepped out on the stage of the Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany and reclaimed the songs for his own with a combination concert/birthday celebration.

From rough and tumble spitfire (“The Gossip Train,” “Exit Wound”) to tender ballads (“Yellow Ribbons,” “The weight of the World”), Eck ran the musical and emotional gamut, as he served up two generous sets of original tunes culled from his rich, four-album solo catalog.

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LIVE: The Ed Palermo Big Band @ Proctors’ GE Theatre, 4/18/14

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
The Ed Palermo Big Band

The Ed Palermo Big Band

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Rudy Lu

Yowza!

I can’t remember the last time that a concert left me so breathless. The 17-piece Ed Palermo Big Band rolled into Proctors’ GE Theatre in Schenectady last Friday night, making their Nippertown debut as the third and final concert of 2014 Party Horns NYC series. And what a party it was. They kicked off the night with sections of “Call Any Vegetable” and “Zomby Woof” (which was the connective tissue that ran through the entire concert) before stomping into “Willie the Pimp.”

And on and on they went, dashing through a sprawling 40-minute suite, taking a huge batch of the late great Frank Zappa’s already impossibly complex instrumental songs and melding them into a magnificent, mountainous medley. All without pausing to take a breath. Under the watch of the indefatigable Palermo and his hyper, two-fisted conducting, the band sliced and diced Zappa’s catalog into delirium, cutting and pasting Mothers of Invention gems into a seamless string of sizzling shards that seemed almost beyond comprehension.

Yes, it was a big band tribute to the irreverent iconoclast Frank Zappa. That’s what Palermo does, and he’s got four albums worth of stellar recordings – the latest, Oh No, Not Jazz, is a double CD, so that actually makes it five – to prove it. But there was none of the sophomoric, pee-pee-doo-doo stuff that Zappa sometimes indulged in. No, this band was focused on his vast catalog of rich, sophisticated instrumental compositions – and they performed them with an undeniable sense of playfulness and a genuine love for the material.

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Who Were the Mystery Country Music Singers at Proctors Last Night?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

So who were the mystery country stars at Proctors in Schenectady last night (April 22)?

The show was titled “WGNA-FM’s Secret Star Acoustic Jam,” and it promised to feature three country music stars. WGNA-FM’s website explained it like this: “The stars are introduced one by one, each taking a moment to interact with the crowd, then performing one of their many hit songs. Once all three stars are on stage, they each take a turn performing their hits and interacting with you, the audience, in a very unique setting.”

The hitch? WGNA wouldn’t say just who it was who would be stepping into the spotlight, and ticket-buyers wouldn’t find out who they were, either, until they hit the stage…

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LIVE: Dave Holland & the Empire Jazz Orchestra @ Schenectady County Community College, 4/8/14 [Albany Jazz]

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Dave Holland

Dave Holland

Review by Eric Ciarmello
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

He walked like them, he dressed like them, he spoke like them. He stood in the lobby of the SCCC School of Music, chatting in a group of four or five, as if he had just come to see what this Empire Jazz Orchestra was all about. It wasn’t Dave Holland’s lack of presence that rendered him unnoticed, but his lack of ego.

The hall had all the buzz of a Broadway show. A 17-piece big band set-up sat vacant atop the stage of the auditorium, eagerly awaiting their musicians arrival. As the audience filed into their seats, Holland followed, eager to catch the first act of music.

Act 1, scene 1. The Empire Jazz Orchestra came out of the gates with a Gordon Goodwin arrangement of Miles Davis’ “Seven Steps to Heaven.” After a somewhat precarious start, Bob Halek, Otto Gardner and Cliff Brucker quickly snapped the horns back to attention. Halek dug the pocket out of his ride just deep enough for Brucker and Gardner to nestle in comfortably. From that point on, the intensity of the show rose exponentially.

Click to read the rest of the review at Albany Jazz.
Click to see more of Andzrej Pilarczyk’s photographs of the concert at Albany Jazz

LIVE: Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez @ Caffe Lena, 4/18/14

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Review and video by Joel Patterson

Christine Ohlman blossoms onstage, this slight and slender woman instantly commands the room with sheer bravado, soulful exuberance and a captivating style. Her voice is thoroughly authentic “soul singer” material and she should consider leaving it to science, because if you could clarify its nature and extract its secrets, you would have defined the essential “why” of why singing and music are such central and invigorating human pastimes. She so loses herself in the warbling and growling and crying out that being there, watching it happen, sends you into a trance.

The packed house at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs last Friday (April 18) were all one with the ouija board. You could call it a seance, yes… one devoted to the power and transcendent glory of rock ‘n’ roll. Her spitfire, smoking band Rebel Montez (bassist Michael Colbath, drummer Larry Donahue and guitarist Cliff Goodwin) creates the perfect searing, sizzling backdrop for her dramatics, in particular Goodwin is endlessly inventive with his rip-roaring solos – at times he seemed to be hanging onto his guitar for dear life.

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LIVE: B.B. King @ the Palace Theatre, 4/17/14

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Not necessarily a review by Fred Rudofsky

In a music discussion, many would likely equate a reference to “The King” to Elvis Presley.

Not I – ever since I was in high school, “The King” has been the King of the Blues, B.B. King, my favorite musician. I own dozens of his albums; posters of him deck the walls of my home and classroom. I have seen B.B. King in concert over 20 times. I have even met him four times; once, I even got to talk with King for a half hour on his tour bus about music, women, radio, education and the state of the world. When I told him after a show in Albany that an excerpt from his autobiography, “Blues All Around Me,” had been featured on a recent NYS Comprehensive English Regents Exam, King was stunned, but quickly joked to one of his bandmates, “Hey, did New York State pay me for that?”

Yet I cannot help invoking Elvis when I think of B.B. King’s erratic, disquieting performance at the Palace Theatre last Thurday night (April 17). It was as tragic as a scene from “King Lear,” as surreal as dialogue from an Ionesco play or images in a Fellini film. It was the blues without the catharsis of the blues. It made me think of how Elvis must have been in twilight of his career, the nadir of his health, which was sadly the case in his early 40s. Presley was surrounded by handlers who did not have his well being and dignity at the top of their priorities. At 88, with over 15,000 performances in his career, the King of the Blues deserves better, too.

I wonder, “Who is taking care of the King?”

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LIVE: Howard Alden All-Star Trio @ the Van Dyck, 3/22/2014 [Albany Jazz]

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Jon Burr and Howard Alden

Jon Burr and Howard Alden (photo: Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Those that came for the 7pm full-house show of the Howard Alden All-Star Trio performing at the Van Dyck in Schenectady that Saturday night in March probably had a great time, but those 14 who were there for the 9:30pm show had the show of their life. It was more intimate: it was grand, and it made you feel like these three legends were playing just for you in the middle of your living room.

It doesn’t get any better then that!

Bassist Jon Burr, a ten-year veteran of Stephane Grappelli’s band, held down the bottom end while Howard Alden, one of the finest guitarists playing within the jazz idiom today, was pulling double-duty as both rhythm and lead on his instrument.

But the central focal point of the night was legendary trumpeter Warren Vache.

Click to read the rest at Albany Jazz.
Click to see more of Andrzej Pilarczyk’s photographs at Albany Jazz.

LIVE: Randy Houser @ Secret Star Acoustic Jam at Proctors, 4/16/14

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

So who were the mystery country stars at Proctors in Schenectady last night (April 16)?

The show was titled “WGNA-FM’s Secret Star Acoustic Jam,” and it featured three country music stars. WGNA-FM’s website explained it like this: “The stars are introduced one by one, each taking a moment to interact with the crowd, then performing one of their many hit songs. Once all three stars are on stage, they each take a turn performing their hits and interacting with you, the audience, in a very unique setting.”

The hitch? WGNA wouldn’t say just who it was who would be stepping into the spotlight, and ticket-buyers wouldn’t find out who they were, either, until they hit the stage.

As it turned out, the three country stars were Easton Corbin, Justin Moore and Randy Houser – not a bad line-up for an $25 ticket price.

GO HERE to see photographs from the concert…

NOTE: And, yes, it’s all happening again – presumably with different country music stars – at Proctors in Schenectady at 7pm on Tuesday (April 22).

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