A FEW MINUTES WITH… Sal Prizio of the Massry Center for the Arts

February 25th, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg
Sal Prizio of the Massry Center

Sal Prizio of the Massry Center

Interview and story by J Hunter
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

I walked into Sal Prizio’s initial Capital Region venture – the Bread & Jam Café in Cohoes – in 2009, when Michael Benedict was throwing a drop party for his second Jazz Vibes disc, The Next Phase. He was being backed by what would become (for too short a time) the Joe Barna-Lee Russo Group, with Dave Gleason covering keyboards and Julia Donnarumma contributing vocals on two songs; a young sax player named Jeff Nania joined the band for the closing number. That was the first time I met Benedict, who I would come to know and respect as a player and educator, and the first time Gleason’s salsa-spicy piano attack would make me smile like a fool.

The afternoon was great, and so was the music, but the thing that stuck with me for days afterward was Bread & Jam itself, with its high ceilings, mismatched furniture, and decidedly good beverage options. I thought to myself, “If I lived in Cohoes, you’d find me here every afternoon!” Bread & Jam became a terrific alternate venue for jazz in very short order, hosting concerts by Ralph Lalama and Jerry Weldon and acting as a recording studio for Barna’s later venture, Sketches of Influence. I was supremely bummed when the personable Prizio closed the place in 2010; but unlike a lot of restaurateurs who got eaten by the economy, Prizio landed squarely on his feet, becoming Programming Manager for the College of St. Rose’s then-almost-brand-new Massry Center for the Arts.

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Sal Prizio Heads to St. Rose’s Massry Center

September 7th, 2010, 1:15 pm by Greg

breadAndJamLast Friday, Sal Prizio rather abruptly closed his Bread & Jam Cafe in Cohoes, just a week before the cafe was to celebrate its second anniversary with a big concert at the Cohoes Music Hall. In these troubled economic times, it’s no surprise that an intimate live music venue like B&J would be experiencing financial hard times.

But it seems that there was also another factor in his decision to close the cafe. Prizio had just been selected as the new Director of Programming at the College of St. Rose’s Massry Center.

A staunch supporter of the local music scene – especially in the areas of jazz and singer-songwriters – Prizio will now have a bigger better venue to showcase some of that talent.

The Massry Center is slated to host a concert by New Orleans veteran Preservation Hall Jazz Band on Tuesday, October 26.

Thanks to Sal for all his hard work at the Bread & Jam, and congratulations on the new job.

(Related story: Bread & Jam Cafe Closes)

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