LIVE: The Chronicles @ the Van Dyck, 3/21/14

March 31st, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Bryan Brundige, Jeff-Nania and Justin Henricks

Bryan Brundige, Jeff-Nania and Justin Henricks

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

Okay, let’s review what we “know.” We “know” that the Chronicles are the best party band in Greater Nippertown: Doesn’t matter what the critics say or what the Readers’ Poll says (unless, of course, they agree with what we “know”); it’s just a “fact.” The Chronicles’ last album – the hard-hitting vinyl/digital release Spanning the Gap – was produced by Alan Evans, the engine behind Soulive and its horn-intensive offshoot Lettuce. Put the Chronicles in a club like Red Square or the Hollow Bar + Kitchen and real estate on the dance floor disappears in a heartbeat. The funk is delicious, the horns are killer, and the beat is undeniable. That’s a party band, my friend, and don’t you forget it!

So why were the Chronicles playing the upstairs concert space at the Van Dyck? I mean, you can’t dance in front of the stage unless you’re really, really, really skinny! Besides, even though the McDonalds have booked many different types of bands since taking over the place a few years ago, the Van Dyck will be known as a jazz club now and forever, Bird without end, ay-men! Maybe trombonist/leader Bryan Brundige got cabin fever. Maybe he’s as addicted to the Van Dyck’s pulled pork sliders as I am. The reasons don’t matter, and what we “know” DEFINITELY doesn’t matter. The night was tremendous, and so was the band – THAT’S what matters!

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LIVE: The Chronicles @ Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 2/22/14

March 6th, 2014, 1:00 pm by Greg

The Chronicles

Photographs by Timothy Reidy

If you’re looking for a party on a Saturday night, just follow the sounds of the Chronicles and their heady jazz-funk-hip-hop groove. The horns were blowin’ up a storm once again recently at Troy’s Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, the perfect soundtrack for digging into a plate of ribs or kicking up your heels for an all-night dance party.

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A Few Minutes With… Bryan Brundige of the Chronicles

October 30th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg
Tyrone Hartzog, Daniel Lawson and Bryan Brundige

Tyrone Hartzog, Daniel Lawson and Bryan Brundige

Interview and story by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu from the Chronicles’ record release party at Red Square, 10/25/13

Here’s a tip: If you want to see the Chronicles in concert (and I mean really see the actual band members do their funked-up live thing), get next to the stage right before the show, because once trombonist-bandleader Bryan Brundige counts his partners in, the crowd floods the dance floor like pea-soup fog on a dark night in London.

That wasn’t so bad at last year’s drop party for the Chronicles’ eponymously titled debut disc because the stage at the Bayou Café (now the Hollow Bar + Kitchen) is somewhat raised. But the drop for this year’s model – the digital & vinyl-only release Spanning the Gap – took place at Red Square in Albany on Friday night (October 25), and while that NOLA-flavored downtown club is some kind of awesome, its performance space doesn’t have a stage as much as it has a three-sided cubicle with monitors and speakers. Thirty seconds into the Chronicles’ opening number, the band had disappeared behind a major chunk of the most diverse fan base in Greater Nippertown. If he’d brought a stool with him, Brundige could have stage-dived and never touched the floor!

You can fight it if you want, but my second tip would be to find a space of your own and proceed to dance your ass off. It won’t be too difficult, given that the Chronicles’ heady mix of jazz, hip-hop and funk is the freshest thing on the menu. One moment you’ll have saxman Jeff Nania name-checking the late great J. Dilla and rapping as well as he plays on the title track of Spanning, and the next, the sextet is laying down a monster take on Grover Washington Jr.’s “Mister Magic” that brings new life to Smooth Jazz radio’s version of “Stairway to Heaven.”

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New Release Rack: The Chronicles’ “Spanning the Gap”

October 24th, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg

The Chronicles: Spanning The Gap

WITH: Richard James & the Name Changers
WHEN: Friday (October 25), 9pm
WHERE: Red Square, Albany
HOW MUCH: $10 (including a digital download of the new album); +$5 for ages 18-20

The Chronicles weren’t about to fall victim to the infamous sophomore slump. Even though they released their self-titled debut album less than a year ago, they leapt right back into the recording studio, upping their game considerably with the addition of producer Alan Evans, drummer for the soul-jazz groovemeisters Soulive.

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LIVE: Big Sam’s Funky Nation @ Red Square, 9/5/13

September 18th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg

Video and photographs by Timothy Reidy

If you were up at the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC back in June, then you already know that New Orleans’ Big Sam’s Funky Nation pump out a mighty blend of jazz, funk and hip-hop that has everyone within earshot shakin’ their booty.

And when you squeeze the powerhouse combo into an intimate setting like Red Square in Albany, you just know that they’re gonna raise the roof, especially if Local 518 funkateers the Chronicles are signed on to open the evening’s festivities. But when bandleader-trombonist-vocalist Big Sam Williams slid onstage to wail with the Chronicles, well, let’s just say that the funk bomb was detonated early, and the party was in full force before the Funky Nation even took the stage.

Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Big Sam’s Funky Nation

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LIVE: The Chronicles @ Riverlink Park, 8/24/13

August 28th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Jeff Nania and Bryan Brundige

Jeff Nania and Bryan Brundige

Review by Stanley Johnson

The Chronicles brought an excellent mix of jazz, blues, funk, rock and more to the Riverlink Park on a beautiful Saturday evening along the banks of the Mohawk River.

The seven-member group performed a number of tracks from their debut album, The Chronicles, as well as selections from their upcoming October release, Spanning the Gap, produced by Soulive’s Alan Evans.

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LIVE/JAZZ 2K EXTRA: “The Chronicles” & CD Release Party @ the Bayou Cafe, 12/14/12

December 21st, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg
The Chronicles: Brian Brundige, Jeff Nania, Philippe Chow and Justin Henricks (photo by Rudy Lu)

The Chronicles: Brian Brundige, Jeff Nania, Philippe Chow and Justin Henricks

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu
More of Rudy Lu’s photographs at Albany Jazz

The Chronicles
(Monkfish Music Group

Okay, let’s say you’ve never heard the Chronicles play. You’ve never been to one of their club shows, and you missed their opening set at this year’s Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival. Their debut release The Chronicles is an outstanding taste platter of what this exciting sextet is all about, which is serving up the richest musical gumbo in Greater Nippertown. The band’s base is jazz, but from there it goes in so many different directions – the souped-up funk of saxman Jeff Nania’s “Purple Diesel”; the in-your face blues of trombonist/leader Bryan Brundige’s “Triumph”; and the so-cool soul of Jason Panucci’s “Suburban Grind” and Phillipe Chow & Kendra Jones’ “Rain Drops.” (Jones adds bright vocals and evocative piano to the date, as well.)

It’s all linked by skin-tight arrangements, sterling production values, and a dedication to be unlike anything else on the scene. You even see that in the dynamic layout of the CD booklet. The overall look evokes ’60s and ’70s Blue Note albums; a more recent example would be the last two releases by the monster all-star band the Cookers. But the band photos on The Chronicles tell a different story, putting out a vibe that comes closer to what we see from hip-hop groups or jam bands. There’s also an undeniable vibrancy that comes from the smiles on both the inside and outside of the booklet. The message is, “This is gonna be fun!” And you know what? It is!

The ChroniclesBut here’s the thing: A taste platter only gets your mouth excited about what you might experience if you ordered the full meal. Therefore it follows that once you’ve had your taste of The Chronicles, you’re going to want to see the band in their prime element – on stage, playing live. While they did themselves proud during their too-short Albany Riverfront set, that relatively small space was actually too big for the band. To really make the connection with the Chronicles, what’s required is a small club with a big dance floor and a nice long bar at the back. Happily, the Bayou Café has all these things, and the combination of band and venue worked like a charm.

It ain’t nuthin’ but a party at the Bayou on a Friday night, and since this was a celebration as well as a commercial event, it required a party band to get it all started. Nyack’s own Mr. Breakdown filled the bill there, mixing their own originals with rocked-out takes on music by a bevy of ’70s soul bands. The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” gave way to a hopping medley of tunes by Tower of Power. Over by the merch table (where The Chronicles was being sold on disc and USB stick), Brundige happily sang along as Mr. Breakdown nailed the chorus to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star.” It makes sense Brundige would dig EWF, since they (and the other bands Mr. Breakdown championed) all had the kind of laser-focused horn charts the Chronicles dish out on every chorus.

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LIVE: The Chronicles @ the Bayou Cafe, 12/14/12

December 20th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg

The Chronicles (photo by Brian Tromans)

Review and photographs by Brian Tromans

The Chronicles released their long-awaited, self-titled, debut studio album last Friday (December 14) at the Bayou Café in Albany. Combining jazz, hip-hop, funk, soul and gospel, the Chronicles have been a staple on the Capital Region since their founding in 2009 by upstate horn heavyweights Bryan Brundige and Jeff Nania.

They have appeared at many regional music festivals including the Riverfront Jazz Festival, Albany Tulip Festival, Bella Terra, African American Heritage Day, the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and the BeatShot Music Festival.

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