Posts Tagged ‘Lee Shaw’

LIVE: The Ben Allison Band / the Lee Shaw Trio @ the College of St. Rose’s Massry Center, 11/15/12

Monday, November 19th, 2012
Lee Shaw

Lee Shaw

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Albert Brooks

The Ben Allison Band…
The Lee Shaw Trio…

One of these things is not like the other.

If Massry Center impresario Salvatore Prizio wanted to showcase two extremes of the same genre, this was the bill to do it. The question was, who would break first: The traditionalists who had come to see Nippertown’s living legend of trad-piano jazz, or the younger generation that was drawn to Allison’s latest efforts to push the music forward?

Watching Shaw being escorted across the stage by her long-time bassist Rich Syracuse makes you grit your teeth. Her various health issues have been well documented, so it wasn’t a surprise to see her on a portable oxygen unit as she haltingly stepped over various cables and sat gingerly down on the piano bench. (“Sorry to keep you waiting,” she told us. “It’s a little complicated, as you see.”) Nevertheless, the effect was the same as watching an old friend or a cherished relative going through pain you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

But then we witnessed what I call the Brubeck Effect – named for jazz icon Dave Brubeck, who shows every inch of his 92 years when he moves or speaks. But when you sit Brubeck down at a piano, the years and the pain zip into the nearest Black Hole, and he’s ripping through “Blue Rondo a la Turk” like he’d just written it the day before. For Shaw, her crossover piece was Billy Taylor’s “Easy Walker,” the opening track of her disc Live in Graz, and Shaw was on it like white on rice as Syracuse and drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel kicked it off.

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LIVE: First Night Saratoga, 12/31/11

Monday, January 9th, 2012
First Night Saratoga

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Nippertown chief photographer

Welcome to 2012!

New Year’s Eve in Saratoga Springs has become quite the Nippertown tradition, and for music fans, there’s certainly no shortage of things to do. It’s a non-stop cavalcade of some of our finest homegrown musical talent – jazz, rock, Celtic, country, blues, zydeco, folk, bluegrass and more. Just about every kind of musical style was in the air somewhere around town during the annual First Night Saratoga celebration. All total, there were more than 70 performances and happenings taking place at nearly three dozen different performance venues.

Obviously, we couldn’t get to all of them, but here’s a sampling of what Nippertown chief photographer Andrzej Pilarczyk saw during his trek through the final moments of 2011:

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This Week’s Hit Parade: The Live Album Edition

Monday, February 28th, 2011

JOE BARNA & SKETCHES OF INFLUENCE
“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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LIVE: Tribute to Nick Brignola @ the Van Dyck, 1/29/11

Monday, January 31st, 2011
Lee Shaw, Chuck D'Aloia, Otto Gardner and Brian Patneaude

Lee Shaw, Chuck D'Aloia, Otto Gardner and Brian Patneaude

It wasn’t just jazz fans who crowded into the Van Dyck in Schenectady on Saturday night, making for a standing-room-only evening. Memories and love filled the room to capacity, as well, for the annual Tribute to Nick Brignola concert. And the stage was packed, too, as some of Nippertown’s finest jazz musicians gathered together to form an all-star band that offered a marvelous musical homage to the great saxophonist who passed away nearly a decade ago.

Emcee Bill McCann – the long-time host of WCDB-FM’s “Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz” – gave the first of many reminiscences of the warm person and brilliant musician that Nick was. Drummer David Calarco and guitarist Chuck D’Aloia shared their personal memories of what it was like to play with Nick. Calarco noted how Brignola would continually tease and challenge his bandmates, often warning them by saying, “Not too fast!” and then counting off the very next tune at a blistering, break-neck tempo.

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Lee Shaw: Pianist Podcast

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Lee ShawNippertown’s own jazz piano queen Lee Shaw is living a fascinating life. From her childhood in Oklahoma in the 1920s to her early exposure to jazz in Chicago to her decades-long career as a jazz pianist, Shaw has been everywhere and played with just about everyone.

Jason Crane – the host and producer of the online interview show focusing on jazz musicians, The Jazz Session – has posted a new podcast this week in which he interviews Shaw about her early years; why she decided to become a jazz pianist rather than a classical accompanist; and the impulsive proposal that led to a lifetime of musical bliss.

LIVE: “Tribute to Nick Brignola” @ the Van Dyck, 10/30/09

Friday, November 6th, 2009

brignola07

The conversational buzz of the audience in the venerable Schenectady jazz club came to a sudden stop as the Van Dyck All-Stars took the stage last Friday evening.

Pianist Lee Shaw shot a huge smile into the room as she sat down on the piano bench. Rich Syracuse picked up the upright bass and cradled his instrument against his chest. Dave Calarco positioned himself behind the drum kit, looked at electric guitarist Chuck D’Aloia and fired off a readied glance at saxophonist Brian Patneaude.

Kicking off the “Tribute to Nick Brignola” concert in front of a sold-out house of fans, family and friends, the band launched into an impassioned and lyrical version of the old jazz standard, “Stella By Starlight.”

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LIVE: Albany’s All-America City Jazz Festival, 9/12/09

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Lee Shaw and Rich Syracuse

Lee Shaw and Rich Syracuse


This year’s Albany’s All-America City Jazz Festival kicked off in high gear with Nippertown’s own queen of the keys Lee Shaw taking the bandstand. Her long-time bandmates – bassist Rich Syracuse and drummer Jeff Seigel – turned up the heat behind Shaw’s impassioned piano stylings as she masterfully led the trio through a handfull of jazz standards and memorable originals. Wearing a bright red coat and a scarf to fend off the chill in the air, Lee Shaw warmly smiled out to the audience as her fingers melodically caressed the keys.

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