It wasn’t just jazz fans who crowded into the Van Dyck in Schenectady on Saturday night, making for a standing-room-only evening. Memories and love filled the room to capacity, as well, for the annual Tribute to Nick Brignola concert. And the stage was packed, too, as some of Nippertown’s finest jazz musicians gathered together to form an all-star band that offered a marvelous musical homage to the great saxophonist who passed away nearly a decade ago.
Emcee Bill McCann – the long-time host of WCDB-FM’s “Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz” – gave the first of many reminiscences of the warm person and brilliant musician that Nick was. Drummer David Calarco and guitarist Chuck D’Aloia shared their personal memories of what it was like to play with Nick. Calarco noted how Brignola would continually tease and challenge his bandmates, often warning them by saying, “Not too fast!” and then counting off the very next tune at a blistering, break-neck tempo.