LIVE: First Night Saratoga, 12/31/11

January 9th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
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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LIVE: “Tribute to Nick Brignola” @ the Van Dyck, 10/30/09

November 6th, 2009, 3:33 pm by Greg


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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Be Here Now: Mose Allison @ Caffe Lena, 10/4/09

October 1st, 2009, 12:26 pm by Greg

Mose Allison is the ultimate hipster.

When he sits down at the piano to sing “Your Mind Is On Vavaction (But Your Mouth Is Working Overtime),” he might look like a “Middle Class White Boy” (as he described himself with the title of his 1982 album), but once he opens his mouth there is no one cooler anywhere on the entire planet.

You may not know Allison, but you likely know his music. Despite the fact that he’s been recording great jazz and blues music for more than a half century, Allison himself is still something of cult figure and critics’ darling.

But it’s as a songwriter that he’s made his biggest mark on mainstream music. Allison’s songs have been recorded by the Who (“Young Man Blues”), Blue Cheer (“Parchman Farm”), the Clash (“Look Here”), Leon Russell (“I’m Smashed”), the Yardbirds (“I’m Not Talkin'”)and Bonnie Raitt (“Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy”). Other fans include Tom Waits, the Pixies, Elvis Costello, J.J. Cale, John Mayall, Georgie Fame, the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison.

So the opportunity to catch Allison in the intimate setting of Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs (where he’ll be performing on Sunday, October 3) is an opportunity that simply should not be missed. And as a bonus, he’ll be joined by bass master Rich Syracuse, on loan from the Lee Shaw Trio.

Here’s a bit of vintage Allison just to get you rollin’:

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