Posts Tagged ‘Shepard Park’

LIVE: Jazz at the Lake @ Shepard Park, 9/14/14 (Day Two)

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Jane Bunnett (photo by Rudy Lu)

Jane Bunnett (photo by Rudy Lu)

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu, Andrzej Pilarczyk, M. Cheri Bordelon, J Hunter

Ahhh, there’s no place like home – even if it is windy, chilly, and you’ve got to get there over an hour before showtime if you want to get a good view. The Shepard Park amphitheater was more crowded than usual at that time, and the “blame” goes to Mayor Bob Blais, who told the Lake George meter readers to stay home that day. With no need to park some distance from park, most of the good spots were taken by the time I rolled up. Some of those who weren’t able to lay their picnics out on the lawn the day before were already setting up lunch, and while I didn’t get my usual perch, the spot I did claim gave me a prime view of one of the most interesting afternoons I’ve ever spent at Jazz at the Lake.

Let’s start with Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee, whose 2013 release Heels Over Head went over my head completely. Maybe I’d been listening to too much Rebirth Brass Band at the time, so I just didn’t feel Martin’s unique variant on NOLA street music. But when I saw the group on stage, in full cry, it all came together for me. Watching Sexmob do its own wild thing the day before might have helped the process; having Sexmob leader Steven Bernstein playing alongside trombone legend Curtis Fowlkes and tuba player Marcus Rojas definitely helped matters. Either way, when that mammoth front line launched its first salvo, you could taste that spicy gumbo, and developing a taste for it was not hard.



LIVE: Eric Lindell & Co. @ Shepard Park, 7/16/14

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Eric Lidell and Will McMains

Eric Lindell and Will McMains

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Swamp-soaked Louisiana bayou blues guitarslinger Eric Lindell and his band roared into Shepard Park in Lake George last week. Their sound was sweet and sweaty. There was southern soul music in the air, glazed over with some saucy funk and some finger-lickin’ good country licks. It’s genuine roots-rock, no foolin’ around, no kiddin’.


LIVE: Jazz at the Lake @ Shepard Park, 9/15/13 (Day Two)

Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Vi -Juris, Tony-Marino and Dave Liebman (photo by Rudy Lu)

Vi Juris, Tony Marino and Dave Liebman (photo by Rudy Lu)

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu and J Hunter

In our last episode, I mentioned that Joel Harrison recorded this knockout take on Gregg Allman’s “Whipping Post” where strings were featured prominently. Christian Howes’ violin was one of those strings, and he played a death-defying solo on that recording that helped Harrison take a southern rock anthem to a totally new place. Although the quintet Howes brought to Jazz at the Lake was called Southern Exposure, he wasn’t planning to reboot the Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse’s vastly under-appreciated country-jazz fusion outfit. Late last year, Howes teamed with world-class accordionist Richard Galliano to record a whip-smart take on “nueva tango,” Astor Piazzola’s answer to the happy marriage of jazz and samba. Although Galliano didn’t make this gig, Howes did bring Victor Prieto, a squeeze-box master in his own right who Howes feels a real kinship with, in that they are two guys who play classical instruments that want to be part of “‘La Real’ – the real jazz music scene!”

“Jazz is a verb,” Howes told us while his bandmates were literally taping their music down to battle the incessant winds off Lake George. “It’s an attitude. It’s a way of being… a way of interacting together in an honest way!” Howes and his partners certainly had the interaction part down as they warmed us up with a glowing mix of originals and new looks at Piazzola (the gorgeous ballad “Oblivion”) and Brazilian icon Ivan Lins (a modern-day version of “Aparecido”). “Tango Doblado” translates to “bent tango,” and Howes’ composition covered both ends of the equation: The opening segment showed clear respect for the Argentinian musical tradition… and then that tradition was shot right towards Jupiter with a soaring exploration led by Howes’ rampant violin and Micah Thomas’ explosive piano. Thomas is only 15 years old, and he already has a sense of lyric that players twice his age will never achieve. Thomas and Prieto helped power Howes’ driving “Cubano Chant,” bringing this opening set to a thunderous close.


LIVE: Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez @ Shepard Park, 8/28/13 (Extended Version)

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Review by Denise Borden
Video by Joel Patterson

On Christine Ohlman’s latest album, The Deep End, she teamed up with Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Dion DiMucci to record a version of “Cry Baby Cry,” a song originally recorded by Van & Titus back in 1968.

When Ohlman and her band Rebel Montez made their Caffe Lena debut in Saratoga Springs in April, George Brantley (aka Van of Van & Titus) drove up from Knoxville, Tennessee to meet Christine and hear her perform his song for the first time. It was a great night at the sold-out Caffe. During that evening, Brantley was also introduced to artist Joseph Simone – a former friend of Lena Spencer and former resident of Saratoga Springs – who currently lives in Virginia Beach. Joseph was so taken by Brantley and his story that he offered to do an original oil painting of him, and he did so from a photograph taken of Brantley standing in front of Caffe Lena…

Fast forward to Wednesday, August 28, the evening of Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez’s Lake George Arts Project concert in Lake George’s Shepard Park… Ohlman graciously offered to have Simone present the newly finished portrait of George Brantley to during her show. Caffe Lena’s Sarah Craig and Stanley McGaughey were on hand to introduce Brantley and Simone for the presentation.


Five Firsts: Dave Liebman of the Dave Liebman Big Band

Friday, September 13th, 2013

NAME: Dave Liebman
BAND AFFILIATION: The Dave Liebman Big Band
INSTRUMENT: soprano sax

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … not sure of THE first, but something like “Herbie Mann at the Village Gate”

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … at Birdland Xmas week of 1961, the Count Basie Big Band and Gerry Mulligan Nonet


Five Firsts: Joel Harrison of the Joel Harrison/Anupam Shobhakar Quintet

Thursday, September 12th, 2013
Joel Harrison

Joel Harrison

NAME: Joel Harrison

BAND AFFILIATION: Joel Harrison/Anupam Shobhakar Quintet

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WASRubber Soul, the Beatles

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The Supremes and “Little” Stevie Wonder


A Few Minutes With… Michele Rosewoman

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Interview and story by J Hunter

It’s not a rare thing to live your dream. Depending on the dream and the person dreaming it, it happens every day. But how many people get to live that dream for three decades – and then get the chance to share that dream with the rest of the world?

Pianist Michele Rosewoman had a dream: To build a band big enough and talented enough to present Cuban music in a way that truly exposed its roots – both spiritual and international. That band was New Yor-Uba, and it’s been doing the job for 30 beautiful years. The group has toured the world, so it’s not just New Yorkers who’ve had the pleasure of seeing Rosewoman’s creation. But now, thanks to (one more) successful Kickstarter campaign New Yor-Uba gets to find the people who couldn’t make it to the shows with her new double-CD 30 Years: A Celebration of Cuba in America.

Alumni of New Yor-Uba include jazz stalwarts like Rufus Reid and John Stubblefield. And you might know some of the names in the current 12-piece unit; in the case of multi-instrumentalist Howard Johnson and conguero Pedrito Martinez, you might have seen them play somewhere in Greater Nippertown. But even if you knew none of the names and knew nothing about Cuban music, the light, the fire, the beauty and the spirituality that radiates from each piece on the two-disc set would still touch your heart and soul.

30 Years was released on Tuesday (September 10), and the big “drop party” to celebrate the double-disc just happens in the middle of Jazz at the Lake 2013’s Saturday afternoon show (September 14) at Lake George’s Shepard Park. Rosewoman took time out from preparing for that show to answer a few questions for Nippertown:


Festival Fever: Jazz at the Lake @ Shepard Park, Lake George

Monday, September 9th, 2013
The Brian Patneaude Quartet

The Brian Patneaude Quartet

Story by J Hunter
Photograph by Rudy Lu

JAZZ 2K Extra: Jazz at the Lake Celebrates its 30th Anniversary!

I’ve called the Lake George Art Project’s annual jazz weekend at Shepard Park “The Happiest Place on Earth,” and there isn’t a single drop of irony or sarcasm in that statement – which, if you know me at all, is quite unusual. In many ways, “Jazz at the Lake” is (for me, anyway) the perfect festival. Yeah, I know, I could paint cathedral ceilings with that reach, but hear me out before you call the guys in the white coats.

No other festival offers the same mix of intimacy and integrity – the latter ingredient being an outgrowth of the uncompromising, quality-over-quantity booking policy of JATL curator Paul Pines. There are no wannabes, no time-wasters, and (most importantly) no crossover acts whose only reason for existing is to bump up the gate. That doesn’t mean JATL displays the sort of musical and political “purity” required by hardcore jazz Old Schoolers. Every aspect of the global brilliance that fuels this genre has been displayed on Shepard Park’s arts-and-crafts-style stage in recent years: The straight-ahead goodness of Delfeayo Marsalis and Warren Wolf; the sultry Latin spice of Emilio Solla and David Sanchez; the party-hearty righteousness of Donald Harrison Jr. and Dave Valentin; and the genre-busting madness of John Ellis & Double-Wide and Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra.

In an age where jazz festivals have become “all about ‘The Hang,’” Jazz At The Lake stands up pretty well. No, there’s no big back lawn where people graze on buffets inside massive tents and only think about the festival occasionally. However, there’s nothing to complain about sitting under tall, full trees and listening to weapons-grade music while looking out at the beauty that is Lake George on the cusp of Fall. Throw in the fact that it’s put on for free, and the case for perfection is pretty damn hard to refute. Jazz At The Lake has been doing it right for 30 years, and here’s how they’re doing it this weekend:


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