Niskayuna homeboy Dominic Fallacaro’s return to the area last Saturday night was a bit different from his previous homecoming visit, a CD release party for his album, “Collected,” at Proctors’ GE Theatre a year ago.
At the Van Dyck in Schenectady, he wasn’t cranking out an array of jazz standard-type tunes. Rather, he was experimenting on the keyboards and pushing the boundaries of the instrument right along with his bandmates.
Saturday’s scheduled 7pm show didn’t begin until way past 7:30, and the house was chockful with spectators filling every seat. Barely acknowledging the audience, Fallacaro perched atop the stool facing a triple stack of keyboards and began a set-long suite which incorporated several originals – including “A Hundred Miles From Christmas,” “The Short Road Is the Long Road” and “Block Party” – and a truck-load of improvisation inbetween.
Fallacaro’s band mates – solid drummer Aaron Steel and saxophone blaster Tyler Schwartz – hung onto every note and navigated every musical curve, as they followed their leader into instrumental smooth-jazz, soul, funk and jam-band territories with aplomb.
The key word for the night was “improvisation” and the evening’s performance was brimming over with turn-on-a-dime changes and a musical free-flow directed by glances and nods from Fallacaro to his fellow musicians. For example, if Schwartz was cooking on all four burners during a solo, then the musicians let the energy flow, allowing him more time to complete him musical ideas. The same went for Fallacaro at the keys.
When you get down to it, of course, improvisation is what jazz is all about, and Dominic Fallacaro certainly knows that. The encore was pure jazz improvisation based on an expanded riff or two. And it just doesn’t get any better than that…
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk