Posts Tagged ‘Rudy Lu’

LIVE: Living Colour @ Empire State Plaza, 6/4/14

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
Corey Glover (photo by Rudy Lu)

Living Colour’s Corey Glover (photo by Rudy Lu)

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Rudy Lu
Additional photographs by Richard Brody, Stanley Johnston

When the Governor Nelson Rockefeller regime built the Empire State Plaza back in the ’60s, it displaced and destroyed a huge and vital chunk of the City of Albany’s neighborhoods. So it was with no small sense of irony that Living Colour ripped into “Open Letter (To a Landlord)” on Wednesday night from the stage on the very same plaza.

“Now you can tear a building down
But you can’t erase a memory
These houses may look all run down
But they have a value you can’t see…”

Whether the band had any idea about the concert site’s history or not is moot. The song was virtually written to be played on that stage, and the added weight of the ESP’s history imbued the ferocious anti-gentrification anthem with a weight that it probably doesn’t carry at most Living Colour concerts.

Then again, maybe they did know exactly what they were singing about – and where they were singing it. Vocalist Corey Glover kicked off their show by declaring, “We finally made it to the Capital, and we’re ready to burn it down.”

And, burn, baby, burn, they did. At least musically speaking.

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LIVE: Bill Payne & Friends @ the Falcon, 5/16/14

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
Bill Payne

Bill Payne

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

It was a blending of the old and the new at the Falcon in Marlboro last Friday night. Veteran keyboard player Bill Payne (of Little Feat fame) played with the Connor Kennedy Band. These are the Young Turks of the talent-rich Hudson Valley music scene. Featured in their set were Bill Payne’s recent songwriting collaborations with former Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, as well some of the classic music of Little Feat.

Providing a rock-solid bottom was the rhythm section of Lee Falco on drums and Brandon Morrison on bass. Connor Kennedy played lead guitar, while Will Bryant played a second set of keyboards. The husband/wife team of Andy & Tania Stack – known as the Stacks – opened and sat in for most of Payne’s set. This made for a full, rich sound for the show and a generous exchange of musical ideas.

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LIVE: Kendra Shank & John Stowell @ Professor Java’s Coffee Sanctuary, 5/9/14

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Kendra Shank and John Stowell

Photographs by Rudy Lu

Kendra Shank and John Stowell have it right: Some of the best shows are when the size of the crowd allows the intimacy level to rise – not just between the crowd and the performers, but also between the performers themselves. It stops being a concert and becomes a bunch of friends hanging out. That’s what happened when the NYC vocalist and the Portland, OR guitarist performed selections from their new TCB release New York Conversations last Friday night (May 9) at Professor Java’s Coffee Sanctuary in Albany.

It was the last night of the duo’s East Coast/West Coast tour, and the expansion and exploration that the two old friends have conducted was in full view as they mixed elegant originals and eye-crossing improvisations with great takes on everything from Rodgers and Hart’s “Blue Skies” to Monk’s iconic “Blue Monk.” The bare-bones configuration had both musicians stretching their talents to the fullest, and Shank knocked the audience out with her burgeoning prowess on a “looping station” that allowed Shank to morph her voice into a vocal armada.

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LIVE: “Pete Seeger: The Storm King” @ the Towne Crier Café, 5/4/14

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Pete Seeger: The Storm King

There were many celebrations for what would have been Pete Seeger’s 95th birthday throughout the country last weekend. But one of the most unique celebrations of Pete’s life was held last Sunday night (May 4) at the Towne Crier Café in his hometown of Beacon.

Producer and noted percussionist Jeff Haynes masterminded a multimedia celebration of Pete’s life and times. Haynes’ roots are not in the folk tradition; rather, his musical background is in jazz, and he has played and toured with the likes of Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson, Al Jarreau and Lizz Wright and Peabo Bryson.

Haynes used his interpretation skills both as a musician and as a producer/engineer to blend a wide variety of musical styles on the Grammy nominated CD, Pete Seeger: The Storm King, which featured Pete telling stories of his life and times accompanied by musicians of many genres and a revolving slide show of Pete and his wife Toshi’s life.

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LIVE: Chick Corea @ College of St. Rose’s, Massry Center, 4/11/14

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Chick Corea

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Rudy Lu and Andrzej Pilarczyk

I haven’t heard it on any of WNYT-TV’s evening news reports yet, but the folks at News Channel 13 got quite an unexpected gift when jazz great Chick Corea composed a theme song for them during his recent concert at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts in Albany.

It was everything that a good television news theme should be – catchy, full of energy and urgency, engaging and yet all business. And Corea didn’t even realize what he was doing…

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LIVE: The Holmes Brothers @ the Falcon, 4/19/14

Monday, April 28th, 2014
Wendell Holmes

Wendell Holmes

Photographs by Rudy Lu

The Holmes Brothers rocked the Falcon in Marlboro on a recent Saturday night (April 19) with a rousing concert celebrating the release of their brand new album, Brotherhood. The trio – brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes along with drummer Popsy Dixon – played a mixture of originals and standards. Their unique blend of gospel, blues, country, funk and doo-wop captivated the audience throughout the two-set show.

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LIVE: The Ed Palermo Big Band @ Proctors’ GE Theatre, 4/18/14

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
The Ed Palermo Big Band

The Ed Palermo Big Band

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Rudy Lu

Yowza!

I can’t remember the last time that a concert left me so breathless. The 17-piece Ed Palermo Big Band rolled into Proctors’ GE Theatre in Schenectady last Friday night, making their Nippertown debut as the third and final concert of 2014 Party Horns NYC series. And what a party it was. They kicked off the night with sections of “Call Any Vegetable” and “Zomby Woof” (which was the connective tissue that ran through the entire concert) before stomping into “Willie the Pimp.”

And on and on they went, dashing through a sprawling 40-minute suite, taking a huge batch of the late great Frank Zappa’s already impossibly complex instrumental songs and melding them into a magnificent, mountainous medley. All without pausing to take a breath. Under the watch of the indefatigable Palermo and his hyper, two-fisted conducting, the band sliced and diced Zappa’s catalog into delirium, cutting and pasting Mothers of Invention gems into a seamless string of sizzling shards that seemed almost beyond comprehension.

Yes, it was a big band tribute to the irreverent iconoclast Frank Zappa. That’s what Palermo does, and he’s got four albums worth of stellar recordings – the latest, Oh No, Not Jazz, is a double CD, so that actually makes it five – to prove it. But there was none of the sophomoric, pee-pee-doo-doo stuff that Zappa sometimes indulged in. No, this band was focused on his vast catalog of rich, sophisticated instrumental compositions – and they performed them with an undeniable sense of playfulness and a genuine love for the material.

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A Few Minutes With… Crystal Aikin of Proctors’ Gospel Jubilee

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Interview and story by Don Wilcock
Photograph of Jubilee Mass Choir by Rudy Lu

The switch from being a night nurse in a Tacoma, Washington hospital to touring gospel singer wasn’t as drastic a transition for Crystal Aikin as she might have thought. “Sometimes you realize in order to heal the natural body, you have to heal the soul and the spiritual man,” says the headliner at Friday’s (April 11) third annual Gospel Jubilee at Proctors in Schenectady. “I definitely miss the (nursing) field. It was definitely challenging to leave, but I also knew there was a wonderful future ahead to change lanes and to actually start healing with singing and finding out that music, as well as medicine, is a powerful medium for healing.”

In December, 2008, Aikin won the grand prize in BET’s “Sunday Best” singing competition. She had already recorded with the Washington-based Soul for Trinity Records, the gospel arm of a record label run by Jimi Hendrix’s sister. But this was the African American gospel equivalent to “American Idol.” “It was a great experience where you’re looking at Kirk Franklin standing next to you, and like my life has changed. Oh, my God. I remember (judges) Be Be Winans and the girls Mary Mary. They were saying my full name, and I said, ‘Wow! If they’re saying my name, people in their homes are saying that.’ It was a huge paradigm shift to just be a girl that is local in Tacoma working in the hospital ER to all of a sudden be the mainstream from BET on the stage such as ‘Sunday Best.’ All of a sudden you’re in everybody’s home on television on Thursday and Sunday nights. So it was a paradigm shift, but I wasn’t even thinking about that at the time. Something I ultimately had to learn was over, but I’m telling you, my heels were shaking.”

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