LIVE: The Leo Russo Trio @ Justin’s, 12/17/11

December 21st, 2011, 2:00 pm by Greg
The Leo Russo Trio: Leo Russo, Lou Smaldone and Joe Finn

The Leo Russo Trio: Leo Russo, Lou Smaldone and Joe Finn

It was a low-key end of an era.

This past Saturday, Nippertown lost another jazz venue. Justin’s finale evening jazz performance featured two sets led by tenor saxophone master Leo Russo with a drummerless trio featuring guitarist Joe Finn and bassist Lou Smaldone.

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LIVE: PINKtank @ Justin’s, 7/30/11

August 5th, 2011, 12:00 pm by Greg
Russ Johnson

Russ Johnson

Like mad alchemists Dean Sharp, David Torn and Russ Johnson mixed flowing, improvised tonal and atonal chords into a golden, shimmering soundscape last Saturday night in Justin’s intimate Savoy Room in Albany.

Spread across two glorious sets, the music by this triumvirate of master musicians transported the audience into new and exciting alternate musical worlds, combining jazz, electronic experimentation, rock textures and something just short of progressive new-age blues.

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Five Firsts: Dean Sharp of PINKtank, etc.

July 27th, 2011, 1:00 pm by Greg
Dean Sharp

Dean Sharp

NAME: Dean Sharp….(d#)
BAND AFFILIATION: Many and varied….I have a bunch of projects close to my heart: PINKtank w/ ‘tronic chef David Torn and trumpeter Russ Johnson; WORD WAS w/ bassist Mario Pavone and Russ; Bob Gluck’s trios; a few VERY cool projects w/ Chris Kelsey…HAPPY HOUSE (playing the music of ornette coleman) and I HO the BOXER (playing music inspired by miles davis during the post-quintet ‘early’ electric years)….not to mention a beautiful trio w/ pianist Pete Drungel and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter
INSTRUMENT: drums, I guess….although I’m VERY taken w/ what playing guitar has enabled in my composing and producing

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … the ART ENSEMBLE of CHICAGO’s “A Jackson in Your House.” My brother is seven years older, and my dad was a jazz freak, so music was plentiful in our house…at least until our tastes became too disparate!

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Justin’s Without Jazz?

December 20th, 2010, 11:40 am by Greg


Say it ain’t so…

Is the venerable Justin’s taking jazz off of the menu?


Justin’s without jazz is like, well, it’s like…

Laurel without Hardy
Simon without Schuster
peanut butter without jelly
day without night
oh, you get the idea…

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Live: The John Stowell Trio @ Justin’s, 10/16/10

October 26th, 2010, 12:01 pm by Greg

John Stowell and George Kaye

John Stowell and George Kaye

West coast jazz guitarist John Stowell’s popularity surged in the late 1970s and early 1980s with his solo recordings (“Golden Delicious”) and electric guitar/acoustic bass duo collaborations with David Friesen (“Other Mansions”). Heck, he even won the “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” top honors in Downbeat’s International Critics’ Poll in 1978 and 1979.

Fast forward 30 years, and Stowell is still a master jazz guitarist plying his trade all over the world and releasing fabulous solo and trio albums near the edges of the popular jazz world.

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Brian Patneaude’s Last Blast at Justin’s

October 7th, 2010, 2:01 pm by Greg

Brian Patneaude

Brian Patneaude (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Bands change bass players.
Venues come and go.
Ticket prices go up and up.

The Nippertown music scene is, as they say, in a constant state of flux. Things change pretty fast, but there have always been a few constants that act as anchors. For example, if it’s Sunday evening, you can always find premier jazz saxman Brian Patneaude at Justin’s in Albany. Right?

Well, not much longer…

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Interview: Yuko Kishimoto, Jazz Composer-Pianist

September 15th, 2010, 1:01 pm by Greg

Yuko Kishimoto

Jazz composer and pianist Yuko Kishimoto doesn’t see herself as someone out of the ordinary. She equates her first name as the equivalent of, say, a run-of-the-mill “Jenny,” in Japanese. However, this transplant from Hiroshima, Japan, is way more unique than her first name might imply.

She is a gifted composer whose work has been recognized and applauded by the regional jazz community. For example, Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble utilized a pair of her compositions on their recent debut album “Live at the Lark Tavern,” and veteran vibraphonist Michael Benedict recorded two more selections from her deep songbag on his latest release, “New Phase.” This weekend, she’ll be performing at Proctors’ Robb Alley in Schenectady on Friday and at Justin’s in Albany on Saturday.

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LIVE: David Calarco’s Jazz Conclave @ Justin’s, 5/14/10

May 21st, 2010, 11:58 am by Greg

Ralph Bowen and David Calarco

Ralph Bowen and David Calarco

Drum master David Calarco has been bringing stellar jazz talent into Justin’s for more than 25 years. In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, many international jazz stars – Tom Harrell, Danilo Perez, Jerry Bergonzi and Joe Magnarelli, among others – graced the club’s intimate stage with Calarco under the band name Jazz Caucus.

Now under the moniker of David Calarco’s Jazz Conclave, a whole new round of jazz stars and up-and-comers have been joining Calarco once a month for an evening of impassioned jazz at Justin’s.

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