Posts Tagged ‘Rudy Lu’

LIVE: Underground Jazz Jam @ the Falcon Underground, 5/10/16

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
Aaron Goldberg, Ira Coleman and Adam Nussbaum

Aaron Goldberg, Ira Coleman and Adam Nussbaum

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Jam sessions…

Often these are behind-closed-door sessions that are played strictly for fun – or the musicians’ own amusement – in the late, late evening/early morning times in after-hours lofts and bars.

But that’s not necessarily so in the Hudson Valley.

Tony Falco, the owner of The Falcon in Marlboro has recently renovated the basement of his building, and it’s now open as a separate performance space. Eventually, it will also become a beer garden featuring New York State craft brews and spirits known as the Falcon Underground.

On this occasion, the jam session started early – even before the sun went down. Children were welcome and well represented in the audience. Falco introduced the musicians who were the core of the session – Adam Nussbaum on drums, Ira Coleman on bass and Aaron Goldberg on piano, all first-call musicians on the NYC jazz scene.

Before the set started, Nussbaum asked, “Have we played together all at once before?” Nobody seemed to remember, but it didn’t seem to matter. Standards – such as “Body and Soul,” “I Mean You,” “All Blues” – were performed as though the trio had been playing together for years. Heck, they interacted as if they could read each others thoughts.

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LIVE: The Joey Alexander Trio @ the Woodstock Playhouse, 1/30/16

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
Joey Alexander

Joey Alexander

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Last weekend, Joey Alexander – the Indonesian-born 12-year-old Grammy-nominated jazz pianist – made his third appearance in Greater Nippertown within the last six months. Following his Local 518 debut at the Music Haven in Schenectady and a show at Club Helsinki in Hudson (both last August), the jazz prodigy took over the Woodstock Playhouse, playing to a sold out audience. And that was after the concert was moved from the smaller Woodstock Community Center due to the demand for tickets.

He dazzled the audience with his technique, originality and most impressively with the emotional depth of his playing during a set of standards mixed with originals. Up-and-coming drummer Kyle Poole and bassist Dan Chmielinski had the daunting challenge of following Alexander’s lead throughout the set and follow him they did – both accompanying the adventurous pianist and performing solos when they were given a chance to stretch out.

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LIVE: Sketches of Influence @ Lucas Confectionery, 11/16/15

Monday, November 30th, 2015
Sketches of Influence

Sketches of Influence

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

The Piano Jazz Queen of Greater Nippertown, Lee Shaw was a mentor and inspiration to so many jazz musicians throughout the Local 518. Joe Barna was one of them. Her recent death inspired the drummer to compose a six-part suite dedicated to her memory.

Last month, Barna slipped behind his drum kit to offer the premiere performance of “Suite Lee” at Lucas Confectionery in Troy with his band Sketches of Influence, featuring pianist Dave Solazzo, alto saxman Adam Siegel, bassist Dylan Perrillo and guitarist Mark Kleinhaut.

Barna penned five of the suite’s six songs in the suite during the week following Shaw’s death on October 25 at age 89. The other composition, “Ivory Romance,” was recorded six years ago and originally released on Barna’s 2011 CD, Blow It Out.

The compositions spanned the wide range of jazz styles that Lee had total command of in her repertoire:

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LIVE: The Chris Potter Trio @ A Place For Jazz, 11/13/15

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
The Drew Gress Trio

The Chris Potter Trio

Review by Jeff Nania
Photographs by Rudy Lu

A Place For Jazz finished the 2015 season with saxophonist Chris Potter’s new trio featuring drummer Adam Cruz and bassist Drew Gress, as they gave the performance which launched the rest of their U.S. tour.

They may have had some reliable devices with which they arranged tunes – the Potter out front-solo-solo-repeated riff by Potter and Gress-formula popped up a few times, but these were incredibly effective in creating a semblance of meat and structure for what could otherwise be a harmonically deficient format.

Potter was also keen to switch up his instrumentation. He played mostly tenor but picked up a bass clarinet for the ethereal “Dream Three.” He played an unaccompanied intro then an ostinato melody section which existed somewhere outside of time while Cruz made his way around the kit with mallets on the drum set and Gress plucked out a deep brooding slow bass part. Potter finished stating the melody and handed it off to Gress for a bass solo while Cruz grabbed for a small shaker to ease the space back down to nothing as Gress then also had a chance to play unaccompanied before Cruz again picked up his brushes and laid them just on the snare drum for a bit with quiet bursts from the cymbals.

“Dream Three” may have been the most different tune of the evening, but that’s not to say that everything was all so straight-ahead. Sure, the trio played the beautiful Mal Waldron ballad “Soul Eyes,” and then later showed their appreciation to the crowd with an encore performance of Charlie Parker’s “Relaxin’ at Camarillo,” but there was plenty of hard driving stuff throughout the night, including the hard hitting opening which was an obscured but recognizable tune by the Police, and the Potter original “Dr. Bentley,” which was “for all you ‘Naked Lunch’ fans out there,” Potter said referencing William S. Burroughs’ famous novel.

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LIVE: Mavis Staples / Joan Osborne @ Proctors, 11/6/15

Monday, November 16th, 2015
Joan Osborne and Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples and Joan Osborne

Review by Don Wilcock
Photographs by Rudy Lu

OK, I admit it. My expectations for the Mavis Staples/Joan Osborne concert at Proctors last weekend were way over the top. I have seen transcendent performances by both artists, who, at their best, grab their audiences by the throat and take them to heaven not just in their great songs, but with their personalities that cause you to fall in love with them through their intimate connections and amazing vocal prowess.

The idea that these two beautiful souls would collaborate had me fantasizing that together one plus one would equal infinity, an explosive fusion of two great sirens, one black, one white; one a legend of the civil rights movement – the moral equivalent of Martin Luther King – the other a waif from Kentucky who spent years woodshedding with the Holmes Brothers to channel the blues giants and erase society’s imposed boundaries between gospel, blues and pop. Osborne is a vocal dynamo who turned me into a believer more than two decades ago when she blew the roof of The Metro in Saratoga with a version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me” that transformed his dirty old man ballad into an erotic orgasm.

Of course, all that hope of an epic collaboration was fantasy. Four days before their major U.S. tour opened in the famed Fillmore in San Francisco, Osborne had yet to rehearse with Staples. She told me they had yet to even get together and talk about the tour. By the time the show hit Schenectady, they’d done 20 shows in a little over a month, and Mavis chided her “Skin–eck–at–diddy” audience: “I believe this is my first time here. What took you so long? You should have had us before now. You let me get older.”

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LIVE: The Bad Plus Joshua Redman @ Zankel Music Center, 10/23/15

Thursday, November 12th, 2015
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

The stage set at the Zankel Music Center for tenor master Joshua Redman and jazz provocateurs The Bad Plus (aka The Bad Plus Joshua Redman) was pretty bare-bones: drums, stand-up bass, piano, a tall stool and big mic for Redman… and a mahogany lectern with a simple green-and-gold “Skidmore College” banner hanging from the top of the dais. Did this show come with a lecture? Was this going to be on the Final? As it happened, the podium hadn’t been left out after an afternoon symposium. Skidmore President Dr. Philip A. Glotzbach used it to welcome the SRO crowd to the fifth anniversary celebration of the opening of Zankel Music Center.

Honestly, I was shocked; aside from the fact that I hadn’t known this was a special night, it seems like Zankel has been around forever, even though I was there opening night when Redman and piano icon Brad Mehldau christened the stage with an amazing set of mind-blowing duets. The Bad Plus also played Zankel during that opening season, though I missed that show. Now, these two major forces were back here, together, and thanks to the Zankel NOT being the Corning Preserve, we were able to hear every riveting syllable of the new musical language they have created.

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LIVE: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra @ Proctors, 10/6/15

Monday, October 19th, 2015
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

It’s a legitimate event when the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra plays your city. In many ways, it recalls Duke Ellington or Cab Calloway coming into town on a train pulling personal Pullman cars for the musicians, their instruments and (in Calloway’s case) their modes of transportation. Thanks to the publicity machine that is trumpeter/bandleader Wynton Marsalis, JALCO is the best-known big band in the world today – and their two-set performance at Proctors proved what gets proven in popular music every single day: Just because you’re the best-known band doesn’t mean you’re the best.

Mind you, this 15-piece unit certainly looks the part, thanks to the impeccably tailored suits provided by Brooks Brothers (the official clothier of Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra – and no, that’s not a joke). And it’s not like Marsalis has surrounded himself with wannabes and posers; any big band that can boast trumpeters like Ryan Kisor and Marcus Printup, multi-instrumentalists like Ted Nash, Victor Goines and Walter Blanding, and a rhythm section as potentially badass as Ali Jackson and Carlos Henriquez packs some serious heat coming into any situation. That said, it is both deliciously ironic and sadly indicative that all the suit jackets worn by the Orchestra were beige, because almost every number played was entirely colorless and incessantly bland.

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LIVE: Howard Fishman Quintet @ Caffe Lena, 10/3/15

Friday, October 16th, 2015
Scott Barkan, Howard Fishman, Andrae Murchison and Andy Cotton

Scott Barkan, Howard Fishman, Andrae Murchison and Andy Cotton

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

The Basement Tapes are a series of recordings made in 1967 after Bob Dylan had gone on tour with what was to become the Band and was convalescing in Woodstock. The series of recordings are considered legendary and a turning point in the history of rock, as Dylan turned away from the increasingly serious and complex explorational tendencies of the music of the time to focus on the basic and traditional origins of the music that has now been labeled as Americana.

This was documented in a book by well known author Greil Marcus titled “The Old Weird America.”

The celebration of the music can either be celebrated reverentially and academically by reproducing the songs note for note, or simply in the spirit of good friends recording casual music. Howard Fishman and his band chose the latter during their recent two-night stand at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs.

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