LIVE: John Medeski @ College of St. Rose’s Massry Center, 12/7/13

December 17th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review by J Hunter

The guy was sitting about a third of the way up the center section of seats in College of St. Rose’s Massry Center, meticulously setting up two small microphones on a tri-pod. Photographs may have been prohibited for John Medeski’s solo-piano show, but apparently digital recording was cool. No big whoop, really, since audience recording is as prevalent at Medeski Martin & Wood concerts as it was at Grateful Dead shows back in the day. But, as this young man was going to find out with the rest of us, this would not be an MMW show – not by a long shot.

Mind you, Medeski looked the same, coming out onstage in faded black jeans and wearing a rumpled grey jacket over his signature untucked Hawaiian shirt. (I’m thinking he wore the jacket because hey, this is kinda-sorta a piano recital, in a concert hall designed for such, so you have to be a little more formal.) Medeski also carried an armful of supplies with him: An extra-large bottle of water, a case just big enough for his Melodica and a small black satchel that could have carried sheet music. Medeski only touched the water during his 90-minutes-plus show, but I’m guessing he was being a good camper and preparing for every eventuality.

He definitely needed the water after his opening “number,” which started with the first notes of the title track from A Different Time (the solo-piano recording he released earlier this year) and ended with a brilliant reading of the MMW classic “Where’s Sly?” In between those two pieces, there was an unbroken 67-minute ride that went from bare-bones classical music to bawdy boogie-woogie, with hefty side orders of dark avant-garde thunder that must have made the brain inside the digital recorder think, “What the fuck are you DOING to me?” Another MMW piece – “Otis,” which closes A Different Time – was “somewhere in there,” as an out-of-breath Medeski told us after it was all over, but there were also old folk songs and Great American Songbook titles that either flew by so fast that you barely saw them, or were so transformed that they were barely recognizable.

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This Week’s Hit Parade: The Live Album Edition

February 28th, 2011, 11:30 am by Sara

“Blowin’ it Out”
(Self-released, 2011)
If the late Bread & Jam Café is remembered for only one thing, this electrifying live disc should be it. Joe Barna sets the full house on fire with an all-originals set that recalls jazz’s past, but doesn’t bow to it. The front line is seriously heavyweight, featuring Vanguard Jazz Orchestra alums Joe Magnarelli and Jon Gordon: “Joey Mags” injects muscle-car power into whatever he plays, while Gordon’s soprano on “Ivory Romance” is some of the best you’ll hear. Local hero Dave Solazzo’s usual lyrical piano matches Gordon on “Ivory”, but Solazzo also punches up Blowin’ with a funky aggression that gets B&J howling. This drops March 17, and it’s a must-have. Joe Barna & Sketches of Influence celebrate the release of “Blowin’ It Out” in concert at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center in Albany at 7:30pm on Thursday, March 17. Tix are $15.

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Comin’ soon…

June 17th, 2009, 12:30 pm by Greg

We’re catching up with some of the upcoming Nippertown concerts that have been announced this week:

New Orleans hip-hop hitmaker Lil’ Wayne cancelled his Times Union Center concert back in December, but area fans may finally get a chance to catch him in concert as he brings his “Young Money Presents: America’s Most Wanted Music Festival” to SPAC in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday, July 29, for the second stop on his tour. Also on the bill are Drake and Young Jeezy. Tix are slated to go on sale on Saturday, June 20. A perfect gift for Fathers Day, right?

Also on sale Saturday are tix for the Airborne Toxic Event – the only band in rockdom to take their name from a Don DeLillo novel? – who will be making their Nippertown debut at Northern Lights in Clifton Park on Saturday, October 17.

Meanwhile, on the hip-hop tip at Northern Lights, Wu-Tang’s Raekwan heads up the Rock the Bells tour stop on Friday, July 10. Sharing the stage will be Reflection Eternal, Slaughterhouse, Slum Village and Supernatural.

Comedian/actor/author/banjo player Steve Martin will be the special guest for the live taping of Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” radio show which is kicking off the season at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass. on Saturday, June 27. Bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers will also perform. And who else? Oh, yeah actor-activist Martin Sheen.

After bouncing around to a couple of different dates at venues, it looks like the show by roots-rockin’ Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles will finally take place at 4pm Sunday, July 26 at the Horseshoe Inn in Saratoga.

Keyboardist John Medeski teams up with jazz guitar great (and former Schenectadian) Tisziji Munoz for performances at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock on Tuesday, June 30 and Friday, July 31.

Updates on the free concerts at the Empire State Plaza in Albany are as follows:

  • Jazz-pop singer Al Jarreau will headline the Fabulous Forth Festivities on (duh) Saturday, July 4. The local group Flame and flamenco guitarist Maria Zemantauki will also perform.
  • Stray Dogs have been added to the bill for the Food Festival on Wednesday, July 8, and they’ll also play the At the Plaza kickoff party on Wednesday, July 1.
  • Country singer Candy Coburn and local faves Loose Cannon Live! have been added as the opening acts for Steve Azar on Wednesday, July 15.

Holly & EvanThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantCaffe LenaJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!Albany PoetsG.C. Haymes