LIVE: StoryHarvest @ Freedom Square, 9/28/13

October 8th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Don Byron and Carla Cook

Don Byron and Carla Cook

Photographs by Rudy Lu

The fall 2013 season at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy kicked off its fall season with the third annual StoryHarvest celebration. Taking place nearby at Freedom Square, the fest featured performances by international jazz stars the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet (with vocalist Carla Cook), Comorian singer-songwriter Nawal, plus local gospel artists and a free community potluck BBQ.

The Sanctuary for Independent Media continues its performance series at 7pm tonight (Tuesday, October 8) with Christine Salem, from La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. She sings maloya – the once-banned, African-influenced music of the Creole descendants of slaves who worked the island’s sugar plantations. These are dangerous tunes that rouse the spirits and challenge the authorities, which means that her shows are as controversial as they are spellbinding. Tickets are $10.

More of Rudy Lu’s photographs from StoryHarvest at Albany Jazz

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Born in Nippertown: “Love, Peace and Soul”: An Interview with Don Byron

February 21st, 2012, 12:03 pm by Greg
Don Byron and DK Tyson

Don Byron and DK Dyson @ Shepard Park, Lake George, 9/17/11

Interview and story by J Hunter
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Just about everyone in Lake George’s Shepard Park was wearing fleece of some kind on that evening last September, and rightly so, because DAMN, it was cold! And it may be a cliche, but we soon forgot about the ambient temperature because we all become enraptured with the fiery performance of the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet – a band that already had a monster reputation before it played the Saturday night show at “Jazz at the Lake.”

During the show, Don Byron (a world-renowned reed player and educator who was a Visiting Associate Professor at UAlbany from 2005 to 2009) explained that the music we were hearing was going to be featured on an upcoming release that focused on the work of Thomas R. Dorsey and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who mixed traditional Christian hymns with the rhythms and structures of jazz and blues – a concept Rick Santorum might not get next to, but what does he know, anyway?

Don Byron: Love, Peace and Soul

My reaction to the news that this music would be recorded was, “I want that disc NOW!” Well, I got it a couple of weeks ago, and the rest of the world gets it today (Tuesday, February 21). It’s called “Love, Peace and Soul,” and it’s everything that set at Shepard Park was… and more! The base elements of this music may come from two different universes, but on “Love, Peace and Soul”, it works like an absolute charm. D.K. Dyson’s vocals are every bit as galvanizing as they were when she “witnessed” to all of us; Byron’s performances on his arsenal of reed instruments are completely next-level, and he gets great support from heavy hitters like pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Brad Jones and special guest guitarist Vernon Reid.

And the coolest thing? The concept for this disc was born right here in Nippertown! Byron was good enough to take time to talk about that, and about a lot more:

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LIVE: Jazz at the Lake @ Shepard Park, Day One, 9/17/11

September 21st, 2011, 4:00 pm by Greg
Don Byron and DK Tyson

Don Byron and DK Dyson

For 28 years, Jazz at the Lake has been one of the last outdoor festivals on the schedule, which means it’s one last blast of summer. Neither rain, wind, fog, paddle-wheeler horns or Revolutionary War re-enactments has stopped Paul Pines, John Strong and the merry band of folks at Lake George Arts Project from annually delivering two straight afternoons of musical bliss. So when the sunshine at showtime was only going to be temporary, and one in four people sitting on the hillside and in the amphitheater was wearing some kind of fleece, what would be the most appropriate music to get this party started?

Afro-Cuban, of course!

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ALLEN TOUSSAINT’s “The Bright Mississippi”

April 24th, 2009, 12:45 pm by Greg

toussaint(Nonesuch, 2009):
After his high-profile collaboration with Elvis Costello on 2006’s “The River in Reverse,” New Orleans music godfather Toussaint serves up a curve ball. Eschewing R&B, Crescent City soul and pop, the pianist jumps into the jazz world with both feet, tackling time-honored nuggets from Jellyroll Morton, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and more. He is surrounded by some great players – including Albany’s Don Byron on clarinet, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and guitarist Marc Ribot – but producer Joe Henry makes sure that the spotlight is focused squarely on Toussaint’s talented fingers. There’s nothing virtuosic here, but that seems to be the whole point. Everything is right in the pocket. Classic stuff.

Allen Toussaint: The Bright Mississippi

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