Posts Tagged ‘Schenectady’

A Salute to Our Local Jazz Heroes

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

2014 Jazz Heroes Awards

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. And before it comes to a close, the Jazz Journalists Association will bestow two dozen Jazz Hero Awards to deserving individuals all across the country who have been “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz.” Three of them are right here in Nippertown.

Tom Pierce – former vice president of A Place for Jazz and AlbanyJazz.com contributor – will receive his award during the Schenectady Musical Union Gala on Sunday afternoon (April 27) at Robb Alley at Proctors in Schenectady. The event will also feature performances by three Local 518 jazz groups – the Jim Wilson Quintet (3pm), the Rob Lindquist Quartet (4pm) and Colleen Pratt & Friends (5pm). Admission is free.

Meanwhile, Peggy Stern and John Bilotti – the artistic director and executive producer, respectively of Kingston’s annual free Wall Street Jazz Festival – will be honored with their awards at the Anvil Gallery in Kingston at 7pm on Tuesday (April 29). Admission is free, and the reception will include complimentary Thelonious Ale, wine and snacks.

Congrats to the honorees!

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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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LIVE: Dave Holland & the Empire Jazz Orchestra @ Schenectady County Community College, 4/8/14 [Albany Jazz]

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Dave Holland

Dave Holland

Review by Eric Ciarmello
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

He walked like them, he dressed like them, he spoke like them. He stood in the lobby of the SCCC School of Music, chatting in a group of four or five, as if he had just come to see what this Empire Jazz Orchestra was all about. It wasn’t Dave Holland’s lack of presence that rendered him unnoticed, but his lack of ego.

The hall had all the buzz of a Broadway show. A 17-piece big band set-up sat vacant atop the stage of the auditorium, eagerly awaiting their musicians arrival. As the audience filed into their seats, Holland followed, eager to catch the first act of music.

Act 1, scene 1. The Empire Jazz Orchestra came out of the gates with a Gordon Goodwin arrangement of Miles Davis’ “Seven Steps to Heaven.” After a somewhat precarious start, Bob Halek, Otto Gardner and Cliff Brucker quickly snapped the horns back to attention. Halek dug the pocket out of his ride just deep enough for Brucker and Gardner to nestle in comfortably. From that point on, the intensity of the show rose exponentially.

Click to read the rest of the review at Albany Jazz.
Click to see more of Andzrej Pilarczyk’s photographs of the concert at Albany Jazz

Real Good for FREE: Jazz On Jay Concert Series Announced

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The line-up of musicians have been announced for the free Jazz On Jay concert series. The lunchtime concerts will be held outdoors on Jay Street in Schenectady, except in case of inclement weather when the concert will move indoors to Apostrophe at Proctors.

The weekly concert series will run from early June through early September with an array of Local 518 jazz bands and musicians. All concerts will take place from 12noon-1:30pm on Thursdays.

Here’s the complete schedule of Jazz On Jay concerts for 2014:

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LIVE: Howard Alden All-Star Trio @ the Van Dyck, 3/22/2014 [Albany Jazz]

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Jon Burr and Howard Alden

Jon Burr and Howard Alden (photo: Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Those that came for the 7pm full-house show of the Howard Alden All-Star Trio performing at the Van Dyck in Schenectady that Saturday night in March probably had a great time, but those 14 who were there for the 9:30pm show had the show of their life. It was more intimate: it was grand, and it made you feel like these three legends were playing just for you in the middle of your living room.

It doesn’t get any better then that!

Bassist Jon Burr, a ten-year veteran of Stephane Grappelli’s band, held down the bottom end while Howard Alden, one of the finest guitarists playing within the jazz idiom today, was pulling double-duty as both rhythm and lead on his instrument.

But the central focal point of the night was legendary trumpeter Warren Vache.

Click to read the rest at Albany Jazz.
Click to see more of Andrzej Pilarczyk’s photographs at Albany Jazz.

LIVE: Persiflage @ Proctors, 4/11/14

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
Persiflage

Persiflage

Review and photographs by J Hunter

“This is a curated series,” Matt Steckler told us as his quintet Persiflage arranged itself on the huge Oriental rug in the middle of the GE Theatre’s floor. Steckler ought to know, since the Schenectady High alum isS the curator of Proctors’ “Party Horns NYC” series. To be fair, though, Steckler hasn’t put a foot wrong, because in musical terms, every group he’s convinced to take a drive up the NY Thruway has hit it out of the park. But every time Steckler’s made the trip himself, his gonzo big unit Dead Cat Bounce has accompanied him. It was Steckler’s surprising choice to bring his “other band” to Proctors this year that made me choose this show over watching Chick Corea “paint” Cubist portraits of his audience at Massry Center.

Don’t misunderstand me: When I first saw Dead Cat live (at Party Horns 2012), my jaw dropped like a turkey from a helicopter; their 2011 Cuneiform release Chance Episodes is still my favorite disc from the burgeoning list of Greater Nippertown musicians who’ve left our scene for bigger and better things. What’s more, the times I’ve seen Corea in a non-group setting (solo at Massry in 2012, and in duet with Gary Burton – twice – and Bela Fleck) remain some of my best live-show memories. The deal-breaker was the possibility of seeing a player and composer I deeply respect in a setting I hadn’t experienced before. Ergo, off I went to Proctors. QED.

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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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Proctors Announces Its 2014-2015 Broadway Season of Shows

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, “Kinky Boots,” is headed to Proctors in Schenectady as part of the theater complex’s 2014-1015 season.

On Thursday evening (April 3), Proctors revealed its upcoming schedule of musicals and big shows in front of a crowd of more than 2,500 invite-only subscribers, members, group leaders and supporters. The announcements were emceed by Time Warner Cable News’ Karen Tararache.

“Typically we do five shows in a season,” said Proctors CEO Philip Morris. “Last season, we added a sixth show to our Key Private Bank Broadway Series. It was popular with our subscribers, so we’re doing it again; there is no better value in Capital Region entertainment. We’re so pleased to present these amazing shows to the community. There will be magic on our stage this season. Join us!”

Broadway Series subscription renewals are on sale now. New public subscriptions will go on sale on Tuesday, May 6.

Here’s the newly announced schedule for Proctors:

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