RIP: The Rev. Bethenia Rouse, 1936-2016

December 29th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Greg

By Don Wilcock

The Rev. Bethenia Rouse passed away on Wednesday (December 28) at age 81. The pastor of the Christian Faith Church in Schenectady, she along with TV talk host Carla Page and the late Marva Robinson, were the tenuous but inspirational thread that tied together my activities in blues, gospel and soul with the local African American community. I have seen the healing powers of music bring the races closer together, and Rev. Rouse was a cornerstone to my ongoing efforts to facilitate those connections.

In the early ’90s before my wife Shelly and I started the Northeast Blues Society, Rev. Rouse performed a gospel set at Takin’ It to the Streets, a music festival we presented in Schenectady’s Central Park. Joan Osborne, who was also on the bill, was so moved by Rev. Rouse’s performance that she took her into a recording studio with the Holmes Brothers and recorded an album, A Change Will Come. This was years before “One of Us” established Joan Osborne as a hit maker with its question of what God would be like if he were just “a slob” like the rest of us.

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

December 20th, 2016, 8:31 am by Greg

Who’s in? Who’s not? Let’s the debates begin… again.

More than 900 historians, members of the music industry and artists (including every living inductee) have cast their ballots, and the six inductees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 are:

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RIP: Bob Blood, 1924-2016

December 8th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Greg
A Bob Blood Sculpture in the Central Park Rose Garden

A Bob Blood sculpture in the Rose Garden in Schenectady’s Central Park

We are saddened to learn of the death of Bob Blood, Niskayuna artist and sculptor whose work can be found on display throughout Greater Nippertown. He died on December 1 at the age of 92.

To learn more about the life and work of Bob Blood, see Richard Brody’s story and photographs from 2012…

Where to See the Grammy Nominees in Concert

December 7th, 2016, 1:30 pm by Greg
Ravi Coltrane (photo: Rudy Lu)

Ravi Coltrane

Photograph by Rudy Lu

The Grammy nominations were announced on Tuesday (December 6), and considering the amount of great music produced in 2016, the results of the Recording Academy members’ ballots were disappointing, to say the least. On the other hand, when was the last time that the Grammys got it right, eh?

But for those who care:

With nine nominations for Lemonade, Beyoncé leads the pack, including nods in each of the big three categories – Best Album, Best Record and Best Song. Leading her competition in those categories, whoever in Adele, who earned five nominations in total.

You can GO HERE for the full list of nominations…

But if you want to know where to catch the new nominees in concert around Greater Nippertown, then this is the list that you want (in chronological order):

YO-YO MA @ the Palace Theatre, Albany, Thursday (December 8) (with the Albany Symphony Orchestra)
Best Music Film (“The Music of Strangers”) (with the Silk Road Ensemble)
Best World Music Album (Sing Me Home) (with the Silk Road Ensemble)

RAVI COLTRANE @ The Egg, Albany, Friday (December 9) (with the Jack DeJohnette Trio)
Also at The Falcon, Marlboro, Sunday (December 11) (with the Jeff “Tain” Watts Quintet)
Best Improvised Jazz Solo (“In Movement”)

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Caffe Lena Schedules Its Grand Re-Opening

December 2nd, 2016, 9:30 am by Greg
The Suitcase Junket

The Suitcase Junket

Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

The last time that there was a performance at Caffe Lena’s 47 Phila Street home was back on Sunday, June 5. Since then, the building has been undergoing major renovations.

But the Caffe didn’t stop presenting music. Instead, it’s been on the move – jumping from venue to venue around Saratoga Springs and beyond. The Grove at Neumann, Universal Preservation Hall, Saratoga Arts Center, the Parting Glass, the Washington Inn, Northshire Bookstore, Skidmore College, Spring Street Gallery, Bailey’s Cafe, Creative Sparks and the Barn in Schenectady are among the various venues that offered Caffe Lena a home away from home during the summer and fall months.

Now the Caffe is finally heading back to its real home. The first show back at the freshly renovated, re-made, re-modeled Caffe Lena will be at 8pm on Friday, December 30 when the Suitcase Junket steps onto the stage. Tickets are currently on sale, priced at $22, but don’t expect them to last long…

RIP: Pauline Oliveros, 1932-2016

November 28th, 2016, 9:30 am by Greg
Pauline Oliveros

Pauline Oliveros

Composer, accordionist and champion of deep listening Pauline Oliveros died on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 26) at the age of 84 at her home in Kingston.

An internationally acclaimed avant-garde composer who began her restless, boundary-stretching musical career in the 1960s, Oliveros served as distinguished research professor of music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy since 2001.

Her most famous work was Deep Listening, a drone-based improvisation that was recorded 14-feet underground in 1988. The recording launched the Deep Listening Band as well as the Deep Listening Institute, which merged with RPI’s Center for Deep Listening in 2005.

She was a true musical philosopher, describing Deep Listening as “listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what one is doing.”

Pauline Oliveros’ obituary at The New York Times

Congrats to the TU Center’s Bob Belber, Executive of the Year

November 21st, 2016, 2:00 pm by Greg

Bob Belber – the SMG Regional General Manager of the Times Union Center and the soon-to-open Albany Capital Center – has been named the 2016 Executive of the Year by The Albany Business Review.

That’s not the only accolade that Belber has racked up recently. He’s also just been nominated for the Facility Executive of the Year Award by Pollstar Magazine, the trade publication that covers the international concert industry. One of six nominees for the prestigious honor, Belber is competing against arena managers from Tulsa, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta. The winner will be announced at the at the Pollstar Awards in Los Angeles in February.

CANCELLED: Kanye West @ Times Union Center Concert

November 21st, 2016, 11:29 am by Greg

The on again/off again/on again concert by Kanye West, scheduled for Albany’s Times Union Center at 9pm on Sunday, December 11 is off again.

West has cancelled all of the remaining dates on his Saint Pablo Tour.

Following an epic rant in Sacramento on Saturday, West walked off stage, abruptly ending his concert after only three songs. Then he cancelled his Sunday night concert in Los Angeles. Now he’s cancelled the remainder of his tour as well, including his scheduled appearance in Albany…

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