Best of 2012: J Hunter Spins the Best Jazz Albums of the Year

January 18th, 2013, 11:00 am by Greg
J Hunter (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

J Hunter (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Regular Nippertown contributor J Hunter will be a guest on Bill McCann’s “The Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz” radio show on WCDB (90.9FM). He’ll be playing and talking about the best jazz releases of 2012 on the air (and via the internet) from 8am-12noon on Saturday (January 19).

Tim Livingston
Pete Mason
Gene Sennes
Stanley Johnson

J Hunter
M.R. Poulopoulos
Fred Rudofsky
Richard Brody
Timothy Reidy
Fred Rudofsky, Part II
Thomas Dimopoulos
Ed Conway
J Hunter, Part II
Joel Patterson
Various: Other Voices Round-up
Fred Rudofsky, Part III
Timothy Reidy, Part II
Steve Nover
Steve Nover, Part II
Kirsten Ferguson
Greg Haymes
Greg Haymes, Part II


Best of 2012: Greg Haymes

January 15th, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg
Jonathan Meiburg

Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater @ Club Helsinki, 2/26/12

Story by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Sara Ayers, Stanley Johnson, Kirsten Ferguson, Chuck Van Zyl, Timothy Reidy, Rudy Lu, Andrzej Pilarczyk, Greg Haymes

An awful lot of great music emanated from stages large and small all across the Nippertown landscape over the course of the past 12 months.

EDM extravaganzas lit up big venues like the Times Union Center and the Washington Avenue Armory… and then almost took down the Armory. On the other end of the spectrum, old-school rockabilly rave-ups and stone-cold country shows rolled into cozy, little neighborhood corner bars like the Ale House. Yes, we were offered a serious hodge-podge of performances from classic rock tribute bands like the Dark Star Orchestra at The Egg to decidedly off-beat, non-musical performances by the likes of Ira Glass at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

2012 was a year that encompassed shows from Bootsy Collins to Judy Collins
From Lucky Jukebox Brigade to Jukebox the Ghost
From Shearwater to Roger Waters to John Waters
From Aaron Lewis to Lewis Black

Yeah, it was a seriously wild, wacky and quite often wonderful year. Of course, I didn’t see (or hear) it all – nobody could possibly even pretend to do that (other than perhaps Timothy Reidy or Steve Nover), but here’s the way I called what I saw during 2012:

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Best of 2012: Kirsten Ferguson

January 14th, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg
Angelo Moore of Fishbone @ Putnam Den, 7/5/12 (photo by Kirsten Ferguson)

Angelo Moore of Fishbone @ Putnam Den, 7/5/12. See more photos from this show here.

Story and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson. See some of Kirsten’s concert photos from 2012 here.

Los Angeles ska-funk band Fishbone hadn’t lost any of the manic energy of their heyday during a red-hot set at Putnam Den in July that carried on until the early hours of the morning. John Lydon and the gnarly band of veteran punk rockers in his current iteration of Public Image Limited played a show at Upstate Concert Hall in October that was as dark and uncompromising as PiL fans could hope for. And the surviving founding members of the Beach Boys set aside their long-running acrimony – briefly – for a glorious 30th anniversary retrospective at SPAC in June.

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Best of 2012: Steve Nover, Part II

January 10th, 2013, 1:00 pm by Greg

Dr. John: “Locked Down”


Story by Steve Nover

I found this to be a terribly weak year. That said, here are my picks for the top albums of 2012:

1. Dr. John – “Locked Down.” With kudos to the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who played guitar, percussion, backing vocals, as well as earning producing & co-writing credits.

2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Psychedelic Pill”

3. Dead Can Dance – “Anastasis”

4. Beach House – “Bloom”

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Best of 2012: J Hunter, Part II

January 3rd, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

J Hunter’s Best Jazz Releases Countdown

Story by J Hunter

…and if you think I used all my door prizes on the Concerts Countdown, you are SO mistaken!

Blue Moon
Unlike in rock and roll (where the Rolling Stones look more like car-crash victims now than they did in the bad old Exile on Main Street days), 82-year old jazz musicians aren’t curiosity objects. Unlike some octo-jazzers, though, Ahmad Jamal isn’t resting on his 50-year old recordings. Blue Moon features some of his most aggressive work to date, with Manolo Badrena’s borderline-industrial percussion bringing Jamal well into the 21st century. Getting old sucks, but being old rocks!

Adam Kronelow Trio: Young BloodROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Young Blood
(Zoho Music)
You know how they say, “It’s not what you know – it’s who you know”? Adam Kronelow has already associated with three great piano jazzers: Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer were his teachers at Manhattan School of Music, and Arturo O’Farrill produced this Chicago native’s debut release. But one listen to Young Blood and you’ll see that he’s learned his lessons well. Backed by two fellow Gen-Y fire-breathers, Adam Kronelow may pick up where his teachers leave off. Stay tuned!

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Best of 2012: Ed Conway

January 3rd, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg
Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys @ the Ale House

Top 10 Concerts of 2012

Story and photograph by Ed Conway

Here is a list of my top 10 concerts of 2012, in no particular order. Some I covered for Nippertown, others I just sat back, but I enjoyed all of them.

Session Americana @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs
Bootsy Collins @ Alive at 5 in Riverfront Park, Albany
Sonny Landreth w/Jim Keller @ Club Helsinki, Hudson
The Boss @ Times Union Center, Albany
Dr. John and the Blind Boys of Alabama @ the Palace Theatre, Albany
Los Straitjackets @ the Ale House, Troy
Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys @ the Ale House, Troy
Bill Kirchen @ the Ale House, Troy
Roger Waters’ “The Wall” @ Times Union Center, Albany
WILDWOODstock @ the Parting Glass, Saratoga Springs

Tim Livingston
Pete Mason
Gene Sennes
Stanley Johnson

J Hunter
M.R. Poulopoulos
Fred Rudofsky
Richard Brody
Timothy Reidy
Fred Rudofsky, Part II
Thomas Dimopoulos

Best of 2012: Fred Rudofsky, Part II

January 2nd, 2013, 1:00 pm by Greg

Dr. John: Locked Down

Top Albums of 2012

Story by Fred Rudofsky

Here’s my list:

1. Locked DownDr. John
2. Election SpecialRy Cooder
3. Jet SetLos Straitjackets
4. Thankful ‘n’ ThoughtfulBettye LaVette
5. Live at Billy Bob’s TexasBilly Joe Shaver
6. Pound of DirtSister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds
7. Big StationAlejandro Escovedo
8. Nashville Vol. 1: Tear the Woodpile DownMarty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
9. HellfireJoe Louis Walker
10. “Treme,” Season 2: Music from the HBO Original Series – various artists

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Best of 2012: Richard Brody

December 28th, 2012, 12:00 pm by Greg

The Tedeschi Trucks Band @ the Palace Theatre, 12/2/12


Story by Richard Brody
Photographs by Stanley Johnson, Andrzej Pilarczyk, Jason Spiro

1. The Tedeschi Trucks Band @ the Palace Theatre, Albany, 12/2/12
In the midst of end of the semester grading, this was just the right tonic. The band was on fire, and their rendition of “Wade in the Water” brought it all together.
2. Hiromi’s Trio Project @ Freihofer Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 7/1/12
I had never heard of them, but on a tip I went into the amphitheater and was blown away by the trio’s musical dexterity and an energy level that made levitation a distinct possibility.
3. Bootsy Collins @ Albany Riverfront Park, Albany, 6/14/02
He had more costume changes than Cher in Vegas and a band that laid down some serious funk. The Mothership landed – what a party.
4. SF Jazz Collective @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany, 3/4/12
Their frequent trips to The Egg are always a treat and this tour was dedicated to the music of Stevie Wonder.
5. Ravi Coltrane Quartet @ the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts, Albany, 3/15/12
Why mess with success? I was knocked out by Ravi and his band at the 2010 Albany Jazz Fest, but he decided a different band was in order, and from the ad libbed opening musical moment, you knew that spontaneity, adventure and humor would be served up in large doses.

Dave Gilmore and Ravi Coltrane

Dave Gilmore and Ravi Coltrane (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

6. Terence Blanchard Quintet @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, Saratoga Springs, 6/26/12
He composes, arranges, instructs, and he always has incredible band members.
7. Tom Harrell Quintet @ A Place for Jazz at the First Unitarian Society Whisperdome, Schenectady, 9/14/12
A superb performance by the band in one of the outstanding venues anywhere
8. Pedrito Martinez Quartet @ A Place for Jazz at the First Unitarian Society Whisperdome, Schenectady, 11/9/12
A great show – read J Hunter’s review…
9. Santana with the Allman Brothers Band @ SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 7/27/12
Both bands were in peak form, and if like me, you wanted to hear songs from their Fillmore days, you left with a big smile on your face.
10. Richard Thompson and Friends @ the Bearsville Theater, Woodstock, 7/19/12
This was not the usual Thompson show as he shared the stage with his sons, Teddy and Jack, as well as instructors at the Frets and Refrains Music Camp, but his playing, singing and deadpan humor were fully in place.

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