The Egg Announces Free Concert

September 19th, 2017, 12:00 pm by Greg

As part of the New York State Performing Arts Presenters’ annual Fall Arts Forum, The Egg will be hosting a Performing Arts Showcase of music and dance at 7:30pm on Monday (September 25). The performance is open to the general public, and admission is free.

Among the artists scheduled to perform are:

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FREE FEST: Hispanic Heritage Celebration in Albany on Saturday

September 19th, 2017, 11:00 am by Greg

September is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and you can celebrate the rich Latin culture with the free Hispanic Heritage Celebration at the Empire State Plaza’s Convention Center on Saturday (September 23).

From 5-10pm on Saturday, the Convention Center will serve up a colorful pageantry of food, dance, family-friendly activities and, of course, plenty of live music headlined by the Puerto Rican salsa band Conjunto Imagen led by Ernie Acevedo, Luis “Campana” Hernandez and Junior Rivera.

Here’s the complete music schedule for the 2017 Hispanic Heritage Celebration:

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UPDATE: LarkFest Schedule of Bands

September 18th, 2017, 12:00 pm by Greg

OK, you survived PearlPalooza. Now let’s get ready for LarkFest

Of course, LarkFest – which takes place on Albany’s Lark Street between Washington and Madison avenues – is Greater Nippertown’s biggest free street festival, and 50,000 people are expected to fill the street from from 10am-6pm on Saturday (September 23).

We announced the line-up of bands for the 2017 LarkFest last month, but now we’re got the complete schedule of which bands are playing where and when:

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A FEW MINUTES WITH… Camille Thurman

September 15th, 2017, 11:00 am by Greg

Interview by J Hunter

One of the coolest things about going to jazz festivals is discovering an artist you weren’t familiar with before. Sometimes those artists are the ones listed on the official bill, but more often than not, the discovery is found somewhere within the bands that back up those listed artists. I’ve had a couple of those discovery moments at the annual Jazz at the Lake festival in Lake George’s Shepard Park. In 2006, flame-throwing tenorman Jacques Schwartz Bart accompanied Brazilian vocalist Adela Dalto; in 2012, scintillating singer / songwriter / guitarist Camila Meza backed up fellow vocalist Sachal Vasandani; and in 2016, everyone at Lake George discovered Camille Thurman.

The Queens native first caught our ears playing tenor sax on Charenee Wade’s rock-solid homage to jazz’s star-crossed poet Gil Scott-Heron. I can count the number of women tenor players I know on the fingers of one hand, so Thurman’s weapon of choice was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser; also, altoist Lakecia Benjamin had backed Wade the two times I’d seen her previously, so subbing a tenor added a new texture to the proceedings. Regardless, Thurman helped flip that script with deep, wide, muscular solo lines that added even more soul to the already-savory stew Wade served up to an audience that wanted more and more of a taste.

That one performance would have left Thurman’s name on our lips for the rest of the day. The thing is, Thurman wasn’t done yet: She was also part of DIVA, the 15-piece all-female big band run by drummer Sherri Maricle – an alumnus of the University of Binghamton, where Thurman studied Earth Science. When DIVA plays, big band ain’t even sick, let alone dead. But while the group itself completely monstered the evening set at Shepard Park, the crowd became totally unglued when Thurman stepped to the front of the stage and belted out a championship-quality version of “What a Little Moonlight Can Do.”

We may have been flabbergasted, but if we’d thought to check the magic Google, we would have found out that Thurman was a runner-up in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition. That’s huge, considering how big an influence Vaughan has been on Thurman’s vocal style. Ella Fitzgerald looms large in Thurman’s creative toolbox, too – so much so that she joined a coterie of celebrated singers to perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s gala concert “Ella At 100: Forever the First Lady of Song.” As far as tenor sax goes, Thurman’s rocked it with some very heavy people, including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Terri Lyne Carrington, Russell Malone, Nicholas Payton and Jacky Terrasson.

One way or another, instrumentally or vocally (or both), Camille Thurman will get your attention and hold it in the most delightful musical way when she kicks off Jazz at the Lake’s Sunday line-up at 1pm. Thurman was good enough to take a few minutes out of preparations for her return to Lake George to talk to me about this and that:

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A FEW MINUTES WITH… David Weiss of The Cookers

September 12th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Greg
The Cookers

David Weiss will lead The Cookers at Lake George’s Jazz at the Lake festival on Saturday.

Interview by J Hunter
Photograph by Rudy Lu

David Weiss is the Quentin Tarantino of jazz. That doesn’t mean the NYC-native trumpeter’s recordings resemble a souped-up Sam Peckinpah film (although plenty of Weiss’ creative choices have more guts than a slaughterhouse floor). What I mean is that Weiss has an uncanny ability to put the right people in the right places at the right time, with the result that any concept he envisions will fly like a blue-eyed dragon, complete with the equivalent firepower.

You could find that quality almost 20 years ago in Weiss’ New Jazz Composers Octet, a collection of natural born killers that included future reed masters Myron Walden, Jimmy Greene and Norbert Stachel, pianist Xavier Davis, drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Dwayne Burno (who we lost far too soon to a heart attack in 2013). You can find that quality today in Weiss’ “other” band Point of Departure, an electric/acoustic outfit whose rampant Ropeadope release Wake Up Call is a strong candidate for Top 10 of 2017 honors. Most of all, you can find that quality in The Cookers, a collection of genre mainstays that have gifted us with some of the most vibrant music of the last ten years.

The Cookers first appeared on my radar in 2010, when their first CD Warriors was released on John Lee’s JLP imprint. When Lee announced the creation of JLP, the former Dizzy Gillespie sideman said the label’s output would be split between young lions who had yet to release their first disc as a leader, and old hands who weren’t getting the love they deserved from the major houses. The Cookers clearly fell into the latter category, with most of their members sporting résumés that stretched back over 40 years. I’d found JLP releases from that category to be well within the definition of “meh.” Then I put Warriors on and was greeted with a carreening take on Freddie Hubbard’s “The Core” that repeatedly slammed my head against the wall, leaving me slack-jawed and staggering – and if that track didn’t send me into permanent spasm, the literally epic reboot of Cookers tenorman Billy Harper’s composition “Capra Black” more than did the trick.

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FREE FEST: PearlPalooza’s Updated Schedule for Saturday

September 11th, 2017, 12:00 pm by Greg

PearlPalooza – the free, all-day street festival taking place on Albany’s North Pearl Street on Saturday (September 16) – has bolstered its schedule with a number of new additions since organizers first announced the line-up back in June.

The festivities will now launch at 7am with a live broadcast of WEQX-FM’s “The Coffee House” at Stacks Espresso Bar. Live music kicks off at 11am at Jim Dinapoli Park where the Acoustic Garden will provide some relaxing unplugged sounds throughout the day.

Also at 11am, #YogaPalooza – a free one-hour yoga session with the folks from the Hot Yoga Spot and Warehouse Wellness – kick-starts the action on the big stage before the rock ‘n’ roll takes over.

Here’s the complete schedule of activities at PearlPalooza 2017 on Saturday:

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FREE FEST: Pittsford Food Truck & Music Fest on Saturday

September 8th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Greg

The Town of Pittsford’s Food Truck & Music Fest takes over Main Street from 12noon-9pm on Saturday (September 9). The annual end-of-the-summer celebration is a free, family-friendly festival that stretches from the Four Corners (Monroe/State streets) to Locust Street.

The festival will feature a wide variety of great food from mobile cuisine vendors and local eateries – from wraps, sandwiches, veggie burgers and Latin American-inspired sushi to poutine, meatballs, mac ‘n’ cheese, treats, desserts and more. There will also be activities for children, amusement rides, shopping at village merchants, a beer and wine garden and a fireworks display over the canal to cap off the festivities at 9pm.

And, of course, there will be plenty of great music all throughout the day from the Crooked North, Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, Dave Miller & the Other Sinners and Northside Johnny.

Here’s the complete schedule of bands at the 2017 Pittsford Food Truck and Music Fest:

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FREE FEST: Little Italy Street Fest in Schenectady This Weekend

September 8th, 2017, 10:00 am by Greg

The 12th annual Little Italy Street Festival will take over North Jay Street in Schenectady from 12noon-9pm on Saturday (September 9). There will be crafts, a midway, two stages of music and, of course, lots of fabulous food and drink throughout the fest.

Here’s the music schedule for the 2017 fest:

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