Posts Tagged ‘Shepard Park’

LIVE: Cyrille Aimee @ Shepard Park, 8/12/15

Thursday, September 17th, 2015


Photographs by Richard Brody

The irresistibly charming French jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimee made quite an impression in her Greater Nippertown concert debut a year ago at the annual Jazz at the Lake festival. But the weather forced the performances to the rain site at the Lake George High School auditorium.

So it was fortunate indeed that the fine folks at the Lake George Arts Project brought her back to town to headline one of their weekly Wednesday evening summer concerts last month, and she finally got her chance to sing in Shepard Park with the lake shimmering behind her…



A FEW MINUTES WITH… Paul Pines, Curator of Jazz at the Lake

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
Paul Pines

Paul Pines

Interview and photographs by J Hunter

I’ve emceed a few concerts in my time, and it’s a pretty cush gig – tell a joke or two, give a shout-out to sponsors and/or dignitaries, and try not to mispronounce the name of the act you’re introducing. No heavy lifting is involved, there’s usually food & drink backstage, and occasionally you get a free t-shirt out of the deal. You gotta love that, right? Well, as I discovered when I first attended Jazz at the Lake in 2005, Paul Pines definitely takes the other road.

Sure, the Brooklyn native tells jokes, and he always gets the artists’ names right. But Pines takes the job three steps further – he educates the audience about what they’re about to see, and how it relates to what has come before in jazz. When I first saw Pines do his thing at the jazz fest in Lake George’s Shepard Park, he talked about how one of that day’s acts – vocalist Giacomo Gates – sang “in the spirit of Eddie Jefferson.” Forget that I didn’t know Jefferson was one of a cadre of jazz royalty who played the Tin Palace, a jazz club Pines ran in the ’70s just down the street from CBGB’s; I didn’t know who Eddie Jefferson WAS… but you can be damned sure that I found out, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who did some digging into jazz history after the show was over.

It’s not just that Pines is one of the best minds I know when it comes to this genre; his stage patter isn’t about showing off how much he knows. As the longtime curator of the free Jazz at the Lake festival – which returns to Shepard Park in Lake George this Saturday and Sunday (September 19 & 20) – Pines has taken great pains to make his weekend as far from the “standard jazz festival” experience as possible, and part of that is avoiding the kind of lightweight, commercial fare that’s come to dominate your typical mega-festival. Unlike the bookers for those shows, Pines assumes his audience is of more than average intelligence, so he books bands that don’t insult that intelligence. That said, because of the death-defying – and, occasionally, ear-piercing – qualities of some of his acts, Pines’ introductions are sometimes less about education and more about preparing the crowd for the coming storm.


LIVE: Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys @ Shepard Park, 8/5/15

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
Kevin Wimmer and Steve Riley

Kevin Wimmer and Steve Riley

Photographs by Rudy Lu

This summer the weekly Wednesday night concerts in Lake George’s Shepard Park have had a decidedly Louisiana-centric focus – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Following earlier shows by second generation zydeco master C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band and the Gulf Coast boogie woogie of piano pounder Marcia Ball, the Lake George Arts Project’s free concert series hosted the captivating Cajun sounds of Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys last week.

And while there’s still more Louisiana music on tap for Shepard Park (the soulful squeezeboxer Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience close out the series on August 26), this week’s show takes a different spin with the irresistibly charming French jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimee stepping into the spotlight at 7:30pm on Wednesday (August 12). And, yes, admission is free…


LIVE: Marcia Ball @ Shepard Park, 7/8/15

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015


Photographs by Rudy Lu

The rollickin’ Gulf Coast pianist Marcia Ball and her band brought their tasty party-time gumbo of Louisiana blues and Texas honky-tonkin’ to Lake George’s Shepard Park last week for the second installment of the Lake George Arts Project’s weekly free Wednesday night concert series.

The series continues at 7:30pm tonight (Wednesday, July 15) with the homegrown Celtic band Get Up Jack.

GO HERE for the complete schedule of concerts…


LIVE: C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band @ Shepard Park, 7/1/15

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015


Photographs by Rudy Lu

Carrying on the musical tradition of his father – Clifton Chenier, the late great King of Zydeco – accordionist C.J. Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band kicked off the annual Wednesday night concert series in Lake George’s Shepard Park last week.

And they were a most appropriate opener, too, because the free weekly concert series, sponsored by the Lake George Arts Project, features a cornucopia of Louisiana musical talent this summer – including honky-tonkin’ pianist Marcia Ball (Wednesday, July 8), Cajun favorites Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys (August 5) and the rollickin’ season closer Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience.

The free concerts begin at 7:30pm each Wednesday throughout the summer. GO HERE for a complete schedule… and let the good times roll!


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.


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