Posts Tagged ‘Joe Barna’

LIVE: Sketches of Influence @ Lucas Confectionery, 11/16/15

Monday, November 30th, 2015
Sketches of Influence

Sketches of Influence

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

The Piano Jazz Queen of Greater Nippertown, Lee Shaw was a mentor and inspiration to so many jazz musicians throughout the Local 518. Joe Barna was one of them. Her recent death inspired the drummer to compose a six-part suite dedicated to her memory.

Last month, Barna slipped behind his drum kit to offer the premiere performance of “Suite Lee” at Lucas Confectionery in Troy with his band Sketches of Influence, featuring pianist Dave Solazzo, alto saxman Adam Siegel, bassist Dylan Perrillo and guitarist Mark Kleinhaut.

Barna penned five of the suite’s six songs in the suite during the week following Shaw’s death on October 25 at age 89. The other composition, “Ivory Romance,” was recorded six years ago and originally released on Barna’s 2011 CD, Blow It Out.

The compositions spanned the wide range of jazz styles that Lee had total command of in her repertoire:

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LIVE: Joe Barna & Sketches of Influence @ Sanctuary for Independent Media, 2/24/15

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Joe Barna

Joe Barna

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

I am now thoroughly convinced that it’s not the cold, the snow, the ice or even the wind chill that kills you in winter – it’s the cabin fever! And just because you have digital cable, wi-fi and Facebook to play with does not make you immune. You NEED to go out, you NEED to interact with non-co-workers, and you NEED to see some form of human-based entertainment that wasn’t cooked up on a Hollywood set. Aside from checking off all the aforementioned boxes, Joe Barna’s homecoming show at the Sanctuary for Independent Media let us help him do the best kind of warming up: Warming up for his NYC debut!

The night after he brought the latest iteration of Sketches of Influence to north Troy, Barna was set to do his first gig as a leader at Somethin’ Jazz Club, the New York City version of a venerable Tokyo establishment. Somethin’ held its own jazz festival in January while the NYC Winter JazzFest was going on (Teri Roiger was one of the featured performers), so February 25 was a big, big date. In addition to being Sketches’ “dress rehearsal,” Barna had taken upon himself the task of raising $1,000 for Sanctuary, which was technically “in hibernation” when the crowd settled down and Barna led saxman Stacy Dillard, pianist Victor Gould, and bassist Ryan Berg onto the stage. By his own admission, Barna “came close” to his financial goal; as to getting dialed in for the big gig, he and his band hit that target right in the bullseye.

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LIVE: The Clash of the Titans @ Flights of Fantasy, 1/12/14

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Ralph Lalama Otto Gardner and Jerry Weldon

Ralph Lalama, Otto Gardner and Jerry Weldon

Story and photographs by Rudy Lu

Flights of Fantasy Books & Games store in Colonie – Nippertown’s most unlikely and unusual jazz venue – played host to the “Clash of the Titans” concert last weekend. The A-list tenor saxophone tandem of Ralph Lalama and Jerry Weldon led a trumpet-less front end backed by a stellar Local 518 trio featuring Joe Barna on drums, Otto Gardner on bass and Dave Solazzo on keyboards.

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LIVE: Joe Barna’s Birthday Bash with Sketches of Influence @ Flo’s Lark Tavern, 8/23/12

Friday, August 31st, 2012
Joe Barna

Joe Barna

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Nippertown’s own jazz drummer-composer Joe Barna celebrated his 37th birthday last week on Thursday (August 23). And even though he was suffering from an injured arm, he still marked the occasion with plenty of his music.

The full house at Flo’s Lark Tavern in Albany was treated to a very special edition of his Sketches of Influence band/project – featuring nationally renowned trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, tenor saxman Nate Giroux, pianist Dave Solazzo, veteran bassist Otto Gardner and Joey Thomas Big Band drummer Nate Coyne sitting in for Barna behind the drum set.

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LIVE: Sketches of Influence @ Flights of Fantasy, 7/24/11

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Joe Barna

Joe Barna

Like many of his Nippertown compatriots, drummer-composer Joe Barna is not content to rest on his laurels.

Barna recently returned from a cruise ship gig, playing in a jazz band on a three-month tour at sea. While cruising, Barna didn’t just play the gig and retire to his cabin each night. He sat down and composed new material for his quintet, Sketches Of Influence.

The cruise ship evidently had a number of other bands on board, too – ranging from Latin music to pop – and Barna breathed it all in, learning and compositionally digesting every nuance.

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LIVE: Sketches of Influence @ the Massry Center, 3/17/11

Friday, March 25th, 2011
Lou Smaldone and Joe Barna

Lou Smaldone and Joe Barna

The Brian Patneaude Quartet was first out of the gate for “An Evening of Jazz” at the College of St. Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts in Albany. Patneaude’s tenor saxophone bobbed effortlessly over the beats laid down by long-time bandmate and drummer Danny Whelchel with the assistance of new bassist Mike Parker, who pulled double duty on acoustic upright and the electric bass. Exchanging solos with acoustic pianist and electric keyboardist David Caldwell-Mason on a handful of original tunes, Patneaude was leading one of his most melodically pronounced and distinctive quartets.

In contrast to Patneaude’s more stoic approach to jazz, Sketches of Influence’s bandleader and drummer Joe Barna hit the stage with the explosive energy and exuberance of a bull in a china shop. He wasn’t holding back, and he wasn’t about to make this just another run-of-the-mill jazz gig. No way, no how.

This was his CD release party, and Barna was out to energize the audience with his infectious enthusiasm for the band that he had assembled on stage and for the release of his newest CD, “Blowin’ It Out,” a tour-de-force that bridges the gap between the old and true Blue Note live recordings of decades back and the new vitality of the contemporary hard-bop jazz on the scene today.

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Parade of Shoes: Joe Barna

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Parade of Shoes: Joe BarnaJoe’s Barna snappy footwear recently while at a rehearsal at the Massry Center in Albany. You can read J Hunter’s profile of Joe Barna here, and see Joe Barna & Sketches of Influence as they celebrate the release of their new CD “Blowin’ It Out” in concert at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center in Albany at 7:30pm on Thursday.

Cool Factor 10: Joe Barna

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Joe Barna

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about Joe Barna, it’s that he’s driven. It’s all in the eyes, especially when he’s behind a drum kit backing up his band Sketches of Influence. I’ve described Barna as a combination of Tony Williams and Animal from “The Muppet Show,” mainly because when Barna’s eyes get Animal-big, you know something highly explosive is about to happen.

That said, how does a drummer whose unofficial motto used to be “This kit goes to 11” put together a disc like “Blowin’ it Out” – with no drum solos?

“Confidence and maturity,” he told me as we sat in the café at Borders in Clifton Park. “I don’t need people to stare at me any more. I don’t have to take my anger out on my musicians any more. The drums are there to create texture and feel. They’re not there to be heard unless someone’s playing something. I wrote it all, what more can I do? I’m a composer, not a drummer.”

It’s kind of a shocking statement coming from someone as closely-associated with a single instrument as Barna is. And the seriousness in his statements definitely belies his past image as someone who was as much about clowning on stage as he was about playing the gig.

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