Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Rudy Lu
“That’s the thing about jazz,” Marcus Roberts explained as he settled in on the piano bench in the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. “There’s room for everybody’s personality and perspective.” And certainly the opening night of the inaugural Bridge Jazz Festival proved that and more with a diverse array of music all nestled under the big umbrella of “jazz.” Three bands. Three unique approaches. All with a decidedly international spin.
Led by composer-keyboardist Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius, Heard – the Local 518 “world jazz ensemble” – kicked off the evening in fine fashion, melding jazz with influences that ranged from classical to African music. The percolating percussion duo of Zorkie Nelson and Ade Knowles with bassist Bobby Kendall laid the foundation, while Woodbury Kasius and clarinetist Jonathan Greene soared through a five-song, 35-minute set of buoyant, joyous melodies beginning with “Waltz for the Aviary” and the upbeat “Karibu.” While the set was primarily instrumental, they added the only vocals of the evening on “O Feche” and “Market Song,” singing in Ga, the native language of Ghana.