LIVE: The Gary Smulyan-Ralph Lalama Quartet @ Professor Java’s Coffee Sanctuary, 1/7/11

January 10th, 2011, 2:00 pm by Greg
Gary Smulyan and Ralph Lalama

Gary Smulyan and Ralph Lalama

Both the audience and the bandmembers braved a raging winter snowstorm on Friday night, but they were rewarded with a red-hot, jam-packed performance featuring a pair of Grammy Award-winning saxophonists – baritone saxman Gary Smulyan and tenor titan Ralph Lalama. Local jazz fan extraordinare Paul Villani introduced the band at the start of the evening, and from that point forward, Professor Java’s in Colonie was transformed into a roaring fireplace.

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Live: Gary Smulyan @ Professor Java’s, 9/25/10

October 5th, 2010, 12:01 pm by Greg

Lou Smaldone and Gary Smulyan

Lou Smaldone and Gary Smulyan


Baritone saxophonist (and member of the internationally acclaimed Village Vanguard Orchestra) Gary Smulyan is a man of few words from the bandstand, but when he blows his horn, he speaks volumes about jazz history and his newfound place in it. He’s one of the best – if not the best – on that super-sized sax of his.

Once upon a time the magnificent titan Gerry Mulligan ruled the roost. Then Nippertown’s own phenomenal Nick Brignola was at the top of the heap. Now the baton of baritone sax greatness has been passed on and is firmly in the hands of Smulyan.

In the intimate Wolf Road coffeehouse Professor Java’s, Smulyan wrestled with his gigantic horn and produced a kaleidoscope of sounds ranging from pleasantly booming cascades to so-sweet angelic highs. His hands and body embraced the instrument with affection and raw determination. The notes barrelled out and formed dialogues with the spirits of past greats on the horn.

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