LIVE: “Music and Memories” @ Massry Center, 9/26/09

October 2nd, 2009, 5:21 pm by Greg

Ann Hampton Calloway

Ann Hampton Calloway

OK, just in case you need all the information, the full title of the event was “Music and Memories: An Evening with the Legendary Johnny Mandel featuring Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra with vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway.”

First, Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra took their place on the bandstand in the modern Massry Center for the Arts on the College of Saint Rose campus. A moment later legendary composer and arranger Johnny Mandel walked out with a smile and a wave, taking up the baton to lead the band through a retrospective of his jazz and film music.

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Ben Wendel Says, “Let’s Play Two”

October 2nd, 2009, 12:05 pm by Greg

It’s a double-header kind of day for versatile saxman Ben Wendel. Los Angles-based saxophonist/bassoonist Wendel and his group will be showcased in a pair of performances today (Friday, October 2). They will be performing a free concert at 5:30pm at the College of St. Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts in Albany before heading over to the longtime Nippertown jazz club, Justin’s in Albany, for another round of tunes beginning at 9:30pm.

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Wendel has enjoyed quite a diverse career as a performer, composer and producer. Recent highlights include tours with such acclaimed artists as Cuban drumming legend Ignacio Berroa, Thelonious Monk Piano Competition winner Tigran Hamasyan, electronica artist Daedelus and hip-hop star Snoop Dogg. In addition, Wendel is a founding member of the genre-bending group Kneebody.

Wendell is also plenty busy as a composer, having scored multiple films, received the ASCAP Jazz Composer Award, won the 2007 International Songwriting Competition and recently received the Chamber Music America “New Works Grant.” Wendel’s first solo album, “Simple Song,” was released in March on the Sunnyside Records label.

Nippertown jazz fans have had several opportunities to hear Wendel play as a sideman in recent weeks – with Ignacio Berroa at the Lake George Jazz Weekend and with Otmar Ruiz at A Place for Jazz in Schenectady. Now it’s time to find out just what he can do as a bandleader.

In Albany, Wendel will be joined by Adam Benjamin on Fender Rhodes, as well as pianist Tigran Hamasyan, guitarist Nir Felder, bassist Ben Street and drummer Nate Wood.

ArtBeat: Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit @ the Mandeville Gallery

September 28th, 2009, 12:53 pm by Greg

Located in the marvelous Nott Memorial, Union College’s Mandeville Gallery welcomes a new group exhibition, “Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit” beginning Thursday, October 1.

Each work in the exhibit includes a tool that was important for women’s domestic labor in the past. These tools, when recontextualized as contemporary works of art, open a dialogue between the past and present. The tools that once facilitated hard, repetitive, and often unpaid women’s labor are reborn as the Distaff artists have taken the repurposed objects and transformed them into something that pays tribute to the past while encouraging a critical analysis of society and culture from various histories.

Betye Saar: We Was Mostly 'Bout Survival

Betye Saar: We Was Mostly 'Bout Survival

Curated by Rickie Solinger, “Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit” features the work of 33 artists, including Judith Hoyt, Debra Priestly and Marie Watt.

In conjunction with the opening, Solinger will offer a lecture, “Becoming a Curator: Seeing Race, Class, Gender and History in Objects and Images,” at the Reamer Campus Center Auditorium on the Union campus at 4pm on Thursday, October 1.

The opening reception for the exhibition will take place in the gallery from 5-8pm Friday, October 2. The exhibit will remain on view through Sunday, December 20.

BEST O’ SUMMER: The Xylopholks, 8/5

August 3rd, 2009, 4:18 pm by Greg


OK, this is just a hunch on my part because I’ve never seen them perform, but I’m willing to bet the farm that the Xylopholks will be serving up one of the most unique and downright fun musical events of the summer when play the Berkshire Fringe at 7pm Wednesday, August 5.

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Be Here Now: “In C” @ Williams College

May 10th, 2009, 12:15 pm by Greg

It’s been hailed as the first great minimalist composition. It’s also been described as “staring at a mirror for forty-five minutes.” And “a communal joyous cacophony of secular yet spiritual ecstasy.” And “altogether absorbing, exciting and moving, too.”

Music students, faculty and staff of Williams College will gather on the front steps of the campus’ Chapin Hall for a rousing performance of Terry Riley’s classic opus “In C” at 12:15pm Monday, May 11.

As adventurous a piece of music as “In C” is, it seems almost impossible that the composition is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

Last month, Riley joined an all-star ensemble (Philip Glass, Morton Subotnik, Osvaldo Golijov, Jon Gibson, Kronos Quartet’s David Harrington, conductor Dennis Russell Davies) for a huge anniversary performance at Carnegie Hall that drew rave reviews.

Riley isn’t slated to make an appearance at Williams, but don’t worry – his work can stand up on its own just fine.

The concert is free and will move into Chapin Hall in case of rain.

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