JAZZ 2K: Jazz Appreciation Month (Already in Progress…)

April 13th, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg

By J Hunter

Okay, class, let’s review…

March in Greater Nippertown was a monster build-up to the second-greatest thing the Smithsonian Institution ever gave the world (The Air & Space Museum wins the Gold Medal, hands down): Terrific new releases from Brian Patneaude and Keith Pray, plus knockout shows by SFJAZZ Collective, Ravi Coltrane, Wynton Marsalis & the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Allan Holdsworth, the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet, the Joe Krown Trio and Ahmad Jamal among many others.

And Jazz Appreciation Month itself has already been pretty tasty, thanks to a powerful solo show by Chick Corea (review forthcoming) and an outstanding drop party for Michael Benedict & Bopitude’s new disc “Five and One.”

But JAM really shifts into high gear in Nippertown this weekend, both on a global and a local level. And since today – Friday, April 13 – is officially National Jazz Day (Hey, the U.S. Council of Mayors says so…), here’s some very good ideas for how to spend this weekend:

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LIVE: The Marco Benevento Trio @ Red Square, 10/22/11

October 27th, 2011, 3:00 pm by Greg
Andy Bolger and Marco Beneveneto

Andy Bolger and Marco Beneveneto

When you’re in a performance space the size of Red Square, it usually means “back to basics.” And as far as the viewing portion of the equation goes, that’s true: It’s pretty much “Stand up, or go home.” (Two friends of mine beat that system, but I went the standard route, and I’ve got an ice-pack on my back to prove it.) But any club with the art Red Square displays and the microbrews Red Square serves isn’t that simple, in the same way that saying “Marco Beneveneto plays piano” isn’t that simple.

Saugerties’ most recent transplant plays a 1927 Wurlitzer stand-up piano, which travels with him everywhere he performs; that meant hauling it here from Portsmouth, NH, where Beneveneto is finishing a residency – and where, Beneveneto admitted with some chagrin, “We left all the merch!” The word “portable” does not come to mind when you see this instrument, and loading it in and out of venues must be an absolute bitch. But Beneveneto has played “Pimp My Piano” with this thing, and I’m not referring to the fake lion’s head that’s attached to one side. A laptop and an electronic keyboard live on the top of the piano, and the shelf above the keyboard has so many effects buttons, you’d think Nels Cline had switched instruments. Combine this with the piano’s exposed workings – which allowed Beneveneto to mute chords with one hand while he played with the other – and this sucker is the musical version of Frankenstein. And that’s appropriate, given what a freaking monster Beneveneto’s trio is.

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Cartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantAdvertise on Nippertown!Ramblin Jug StompersBerkshire On Stage