Posts Tagged ‘Rudy Lu’

LIVE: Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys @ the Music Haven, 8/3/14

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys

Jeffery Broussard (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Rudy Lu and Stanley Johnson

A recent Sunday evening crowd with an affinity for roots music got a double-dose of the good stuff at the Music Haven in Schenectady’s Central Park.

Ramblin Jug Stompers, local heroes of traditional jug-band music, got the feet tapping and hands clapping with their fine opener, “Mountain Dew.” Mister Eck’s lively mandolin propelled “Jug Band Music,” coaxing percussionist Will Bill to sing (and even whisper) like a mercurial carnival barker. Bowtie and Mister Eck played five-string and four-string banjos (“a patented duel banjo attack,” mused the latter) for a spirited “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” which was followed by guitarist Cousin Clyde’s mournful “A Man of Constant Sorrow.”

A delicate, swinging instrumental, “Frypan Jack Enters into Heaven” (from Hobo Nickel) was a fine showcase for Bowtie’s banjo and Cousin Clyde’s synchrony. Will Bill put aside his various percussion instruments for some soulful country harmonica during “Blues in the Bottle,” a showcase as well for Mister Eck’s robust vocals and resonator ukelele playing. No doubt hearing the freight train to their next destination, RJS closed their set with tight harmonies on crowd-pleaser “Old Plank Road,” a touchstone of the band’s live performances since its formation in 2006.

Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys brought the exuberant sounds and rhythms of zydeco from Louisiana for over an hour and a half. With a toothpick lodged in the right corner of his mouth, Broussard sang with a hearty voice in English and French and played his blue, white and red accordion masterfully. The crowd’s lack of familiarity with many of the songs – very few titles were announced – did not matter given the energy levels on the faster ones and the glorious ache of romance on the slow waltzes and two-steps. People young and old began dancing; by the end of the show, the area in front of the stage was crowded with happy dancers. Good will and good times never sounded so natural.

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LIVE: Bria Skonberg @ the Van Dyck, 7/25/14

Friday, August 1st, 2014
Bria Skonberg

Bria Skonberg

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Dixieland jazz in the 21st century. Bria Skonberg and her quartet showed us an updated version of this revered form during their performance at the Van Dyck in Schenectady last weekend.

Hailing originally from Chilliwack, British Columbia and now headquartered in Brooklyn, trumpeter-vocalist Skonberg led her quartet through an hour-and-a-half set of standards, covers of late ’60s classics and original tunes.

After opening with Harold Arlen’s “Get Happy,” she followed with “Comes Love,” a tune associated with Billie Holiday, and Skonberg established herself as strongly within the jazz tradition. She followed with Joni Mitchell’s “ Big Yellow Taxi” (with scat-like singing of many of the lyrics) and John Lennon’s homage to his mother, “Julia.” “Six More Weeks” was a sultry original featuring Skonberg on vocals.

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LIVE: The James Cotton Band @ Music Haven at Proctors, 7/27/14

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Ted Henessey and Matt Mirabile (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Tom Holland and James Cotton (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Stanley Johnson, Andrzej Pilarczyk, Rudy Lu, Richard Brody

For a quarter of a century now, the Music Haven has presented what is unquestionably the Capital Region’s most ambitious and culturally diverse free annual summer concert series. The concerts don’t always attract the big, Alive at Five-sized crowds, but the series always attracts great musicians from all over the globe, and it consistently lives up to the motto of its mission – “Come travel the world with us, one concert at a time.”

Due to the threat of inclement weather last Sunday, the Music Haven’s concert featuring legendary blues harmonica master James Cotton was moved to the rain site – Proctors – and when the show is moved to a beautiful site like Proctors nothing is lost in the venue shift. Not even the audience, apparently, as nearly 1,400 people packed the downstairs of Proctors’ Main Stage theater for what proved to be a very special celebration. Not only was it the biggest Capital Region blues event of the summer, but it was also the Music Haven’s 25th anniversary gala party, and the bash was well attended by a plethora of local political dignitaries, as well as staunch music supporters.

In a brief, pre-concert ceremony on the Main Stage, former Schenectady mayor Karen Johnson was honored for her support of the Music Haven throughout the years, and in a surprise proclamation, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy honored Music Haven’s founder, visionary and producing artistic director Mona Golub with the Patroon Award, the city’s highest honor. “It’s been a labor of love for me, bringing such a diverse, cross-generational audience together,” said an audibly choked-up Golub, as she accepted the award.

The concert also served a heartfelt memorial to Albany bluesman Tom Healey, whose death the previous Monday shook the Local 518 blues community. Guitarslinger Matt Mirabile and his band, fronted by vocalist-harmonicat Ted Hennessy, tore through a seven-song opening set that ranged from such blues classics as Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “So Sad to Be Lonesome” to a funky, cowbell-fueled rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” and they dedicated their performance to Healey. The Music Haven folks also joined in the tribute, playing selections from the Tom Healey Band’s two albums – Pearl Street and Tough Dog – during the between-band intermission.

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LIVE: Debo Band @ Freedom Square, 7/11/14

Monday, July 28th, 2014
(photo by Rudy Lu)

(photo by Rudy Lu)

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
Additional photograph by Jon Flanders

Freedom Square in Troy was filled with the joyous, high energy sounds of Debo Band once again earlier this month. The band made their Freedom Square debut back in 2011, christening the new community gathering space in fine fashion. Back then there was no colorful mosaic wall that now serves as a backdrop for the stage.

The band was making the Troy tour stop between shows at the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Green River Festival, and this time around the brightly colored backdrop of the now finished Freedom Square Stage certainly added to the excitement of Debo’s performance. The band played exotic and infectious Ethiopian dance-pop music, featuring highly complex rhythms and jazz-like instrumental solos shaded with elements of funk and rock.

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LIVE: David Bromberg & Larry Campbell @ The Falcon, 7/16/14

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

bromberg4

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Famed multi-instrumentalists David Bromberg and Larry Campbell played an inspiring two-and-a-half-hour set of sparkling acoustic music to an nearly jam packed crowd last week, kicking off their two-night stand at the Falcon in Marlboro.

The music encompassed the whole gamut of roots-Americana musical history, ranging from the bluegrass of Doc Watson, Bob Dylan covers, Celtic music and the blues of Skip James.

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LIVE: Eileen Ivers @ Proctors, 7/13/14

Friday, July 18th, 2014
Eileen Ivers

Eileen Ivers

Photographs by Stanley Johnson and Rudy Lu

Fab Celtic fiddler Eileen Ivers has been a longtime favorite with Nippertown audiences, having played at such concert venues as the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and The Egg. So it was no surprise that a large crowd came out to see her play a free show, despite the fact that rain forced the concert to move from Central Park’s Music Haven to indoors at Proctors’ Main Stage.

While Ivers and her crack band – percussionist Tommy McDonnell, accordionist Buddy Connolly, guitarist Greg Anderson and bassist Lindsey Horner – certainly are rooted in Irish music, they also know how to hybridize with a deft touch (the Afro-Celtic mash-up “Paddy in Zululand”) and stretch out far beyond the Celtic music genre altogether, like their encore of the Allman Brothers Band’s “People Can You Feel It (Love Is In the Air).”

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LIVE: Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival @ SPAC, 6/29/14 (Day Two)

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
The Eddy Palmieri Orchestra (photo by Rudy Lu)

The Eddie Palmieri Orchestra (photo by Rudy Lu)

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu
Additional photographs by Richard Brody, Cheri Bordelon, Andrzej Pilarczyk, J Hunter

“We’d like to close our set…” altoist/alt-jazz music mogul Tim Berne began his intro to “Static,” earning a hearty laugh from the Gazebo Stage crowd. True, Berne and his whip-smart quartet Snakeoil – Dave Douglas Quintet pianist Matt Mitchell, reedman Oscar Noriega and (making his second appearance at the Gazebo that weekend) percussionist Ches Smith – had just turned our heads around several times with 15 minutes of free-form madness to kick off Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival’s Sunday bill at SPAC, but there was no way these guys were going to play one tune for 45 minutes… right?

Well… sort-of right: “Static” turned out to be a careening multi-chapter suite that had the ensemble alternating off-its-head rubato with wildly complex melodies and figures – some pounding, some silky soft – that only seemed to lift the soloists to dizzier and dizzier heights. Noriega’s bass clarinet repeatedly traveled the distance between sub-sonic and shrieking, sometimes taking over the foundation so Mitchell could have room to express himself. If Smith played a straight beat, then I missed it, because when the deranged-looking stick figure wasn’t soloing, he was on the fill whether he was on drums or vibes. (Surprisingly, Smith’s vibes work was extremely tender in places.) Jaimeo Brown’s Transcendence may have spun the Gazebo like a roulette wheel to close the Saturday bill, but Berne’s off-world excursions made Brown’s explorations seem simple in comparison.

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LIVE: Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival @ Croton Point Park, 6/21&22/14

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Bette Lavette

Bettye LaVette

Story and Photographs by Rudy Lu

The Hudson Valley echoed again with the joyful sounds of music on June 21-22 as the 36th annual Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival Festival was held at Croton Point Park.

The two days of music filled the five main stages, as well as multiple additional performing areas.

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