Posts Tagged ‘Andrzej Pilarczyk’

LIVE: American Music Festival for the Lake @ Charles Wood Park’s Festival Space, 9/21/14 (Day Two)

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
New Riders of the Purple Sage (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

New Riders of the Purple Sage (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Stanley Johnson

On Day Two of the inaugural American Music Festival for the Lake at the Charles Wood Park’s Festival Space in beautiful Lake George, the focus shifted from Saturday’s rock ‘n’ roll menu to a more country-oriented line-up on Sunday, but the basic concept remained the same – featuring a mix of national headliners (country-rock veterans the New Riders of the Purple Sage, bluegrass stars the Claire Lynch Band), regional favorites (Boston’s Girls Guns & Glory, Mississippi band Roscoe Bandana) and homegrown Local 518 heroes (the long-running Stony Creek Band, a surprise return appearance by Rich Ortiz, who also opened the fest on Saturday).

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LIVE: American Music Festival for the Lake @ Charles Wood Park’s Festival Space, 9/20/14 (Day One)

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Robert Randolph & The Family Band (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Robert Randolph & the Family Band (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Photographs by Stanley Johnson and Andrzej Pilarczyk

It was built on the site of the old Gaslight Village amusement park, whose slogan promised “yesterday’s fun today.”

But there was no nostalgia for the Good Ole Days of Yore during the grand opening weekend at the Charles R. Wood Park’s Festival Space. It was a solidly rockin’ first day of the American Festival for the Lake, a full day of music that featured bona fide headliners (Robert Randolph & the Family Band, NRBQ), regional rockers (Paranoid Social Club) and top notch homegrown talent (Wild Adriatic, the North & South Dakotas, Rich Ortiz).

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LIVE: G. Love / John Hammond @ Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center, 9/7/14

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
G. Love

G. Love

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Lena Spencer first opened the doors to Caffe Lena more than a half century ago, and thanks to Sarah Craig – who’s been the director and guiding light of the little-coffeehouse-that-could for the past 20 years – two generations of Caffe favorites came together on the stage of Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center earlier this month in a blues-soaked benefit for the enduring Saratoga folk music haven. It was a night of Blues Hall of Famer John Hammond and his ’90s hit-making acolyte G. Love.

Hammond made his debut at Lena’s way back in 1962, but at the Zankel, only his silver hair that gave away his status as a 71-year-old blues veteran. Looking fit and trim and still sounding like a howling hurricane, Hammond opened the show with a crackling, foot-stomping, hour-long set that served as something of a career retrospective as he sat alone on a center-stage stool with his guitar and harmonica, rumbling through a dozen tasty tunes that dipped deep into the songbags of the blues greats that influenced him – from Lightning Slim to Buddy Guy, from Howlin’ Wolf to Blind Willie McTell, from Bobby Bland to Sleepy John Estes.

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LIVE: The Clifton Anderson Quintet @ A Place for Jazz, 9/12/14

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Clifton Anderson

Clifton Anderson

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

A Place for Jazz kicked off its 2014 fall concert season at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady’s Whisperdome earlier this month with a stellar performance by the veteran jazz trombonist Clifton Anderson. The former member of Sonny Rollins’ band set the pace with the opening “And So We Carry On” and kept things solidly swinging throughout the evening’s performance.

Bolstered by an ace band – featuring bassist Paul Beaudry, drummer Steve Williams, saxman Eric Wyatt and pianist Victor Gould – the 56-year-old Anderson served up a tasty sampling of standards (Duke Ellington’s “In a Mellow Tone”), originals (the show-closing “Been Down This Road Before”), show tunes (“Tomorrow” from “Annie”) and a curve ball or two, as well (a wild interpretation of the ’60s Japanese pop hit “Sukiyaki,” aka “You Took Your Love Away from Me”).

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LIVE: Snarky Puppy @ Upstate Concert Hall, 9/11/14

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Snarky Puppy

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Led by bassist-guitarist-composer-arranger Michael League, the Grammy Award-winning instrumental collective Snarky Puppy kicked off the US leg of their tour at the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park on Thursday, September 11. Local 518 faves Mister F opened the show.

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LIVE: Jazz at the Lake @ Shepard Park, 9/14/14 (Day Two)

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Jane Bunnett (photo by Rudy Lu)

Jane Bunnett (photo by Rudy Lu)

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu, Andrzej Pilarczyk, M. Cheri Bordelon, J Hunter

Ahhh, there’s no place like home – even if it is windy, chilly, and you’ve got to get there over an hour before showtime if you want to get a good view. The Shepard Park amphitheater was more crowded than usual at that time, and the “blame” goes to Mayor Bob Blais, who told the Lake George meter readers to stay home that day. With no need to park some distance from park, most of the good spots were taken by the time I rolled up. Some of those who weren’t able to lay their picnics out on the lawn the day before were already setting up lunch, and while I didn’t get my usual perch, the spot I did claim gave me a prime view of one of the most interesting afternoons I’ve ever spent at Jazz at the Lake.

Let’s start with Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee, whose 2013 release Heels Over Head went over my head completely. Maybe I’d been listening to too much Rebirth Brass Band at the time, so I just didn’t feel Martin’s unique variant on NOLA street music. But when I saw the group on stage, in full cry, it all came together for me. Watching Sexmob do its own wild thing the day before might have helped the process; having Sexmob leader Steven Bernstein playing alongside trombone legend Curtis Fowlkes and tuba player Marcus Rojas definitely helped matters. Either way, when that mammoth front line launched its first salvo, you could taste that spicy gumbo, and developing a taste for it was not hard.

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LIVE: Steely Dan @ SPAC, 8/31/14

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

SteelyDan2

Review by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Steely Dan dubbed their latest tour – which came to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on August 31 after travelling across North America for much of the summer – the “Jamalot Ever After Tour.” No real subtlety there – assuming that by “Jamalot” they meant their big band of wizard-proficient musicians and vocalists would stretch way out on jazzified, solo-filled versions of their songs, which were culled primarily from the group’s ‘70s studio recording heyday.

But “jam” also implies an element of spontaneity and, no, this was a carefully scripted affair, based on a fairly predictable formula and set list honed over the group’s last several tours – heavy on the (admittedly brilliant) tunes from the multi-platinum Aja (“Black Cow,” “Aja,” “Josie,” “Peg”) and FM staples like “Hey Nineteen,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” “My Old School” and “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number.”

Steely Dan masterminds Donald Fagen (keyboards and vocals) and Walter Becker (guitar) now embrace touring in a way they never did in their more studio-focused early days, but given their reputation as control freaks in love with extreme precision and technical proficiency, it’s no real surprise that they would approach their live show the way they do now – with a highly polished band of pros who showcase their jazz-pop prowess by taking solos throughout the night, lit under a rotating spotlight.

Concert-goers were still making their way to their seats as the 11-piece backing band – minus Fagen and Becker – opened with the Latin-flavored instrumental cover of Ray Bryant’s “Cubano Chant.” Then the two somewhat curmudgeonly looking lead guys arrived – Fagen taking his hunched seat behind the keyboard for “Black Cow” and “Aja,” the latter song featuring a Fagen keytar solo, a sax solo by Walt Weiskopf and a drum solo by Keith Carlock.

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LIVE: Jazz at the Lake @ Lake George High School Auditorium, 9/13/14 (Day One)

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Anat Cohen (photo by Rudy Lu)

Anat Cohen (photo by Rudy Lu)

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu, Andrzej Pilarczyk, M. Cheri Bordelon

Weather has always been a factor at Jazz at the Lake, but it’s usually just dropping temperatures reminding us that fall is only a couple of weeks away. This year, the rain came down hard enough to move the first day of the festival to the rain site at Lake George High School. As I walked up to the complex of buildings on Canada Street, I had visions of a cavernous gym with a small, old stage under one of the basketball hoops. Fortunately, when the high school got a makeover back in the ’90s, it included a 500-seat theater with good acoustics and great sightlines; unfortunately, school staff couldn’t get the ventilation system working, which made things a bit close as the afternoon went on and the house filled almost to capacity.

Mind you, the crowd could easily have believed the temperatures were just a way of creating a sultry atmosphere for Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express, who went off like a rocket from the first notes of “New Cuban Express,” the title track from Valera’s 2012 release. You can’t help but smile when a good Afro-Cuban band is on its game, and this group had all the ingredients: Manuel Valera is a demon keyboard player and a monster composer; drummer Ludwig Afonso and conguero Mauricio Herrera were a relentless percussion machine, and utility bassman Hans Glawishchnig is as fat on electric 5-string as he is on a stand-up acoustic. But Valera took the extra step of bringing sax fiend/percussionist Yosvany Terry to Lake George, and Terry’s searing alto lines go far beyond simple “Let’s Salsa” flag-waving. Valera’s own solos had the same level of virtuosity, taking the standard A/C formula and shooting it to a dizzying height. Festival-goers were hugging the walls by the time NCE knocked its last shot out of the park, earning them the first standing ovation of the day.

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