LIVE: Holly Bowling @ the Massry Center, 10/28/15

November 17th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg

Holly Bowling

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

One woman. One piano. Ten fingers. 88 keys…

Holly Bowling took the stage at the College of St. Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts recently and delivered a solo piano recital quite unlike anything that you’ve ever seen or heard before.

The repertoire for her nearly three-hour concert was culled primarily from the songbag of Vermont’s jam-band kingpins Phish, although she did slip the Grateful Dead’s “Cassidy” into the mix during the second portion of her concert.

While many of her interpretations were re-inventions of Phish faves, there were also a number of selections that she had painstakingly transcribed from renowned live performances, like the epic, show-closing rendition of “Tweezer” from Tahoe in July, 2013, which clocked in at a sprawling 37 minutes. See the video below…

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LIVE: Bridge Jazz Festival @ the Massry Center, 2/28/15 (Day Two)

March 18th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Cecile McLorin Salvant

Cecile McLorin Salvant

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

To my mind, a really great jazz festival should give you a lot more than terminal heartburn and a farmer’s tan; it should give you the biggest picture possible of what this genre is all about. If the second night of the inaugural Bridge Jazz Festival is any indication, we may be seeing the first blooms of a really great jazz festival! While Night One at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall featured some of the best concert jazz around, Night Two at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts would show that jazz could have a beautiful intimacy while maintaining (to steal from the late Leonard Nimoy’s signature character) infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

Gretchen Parlato and Alan Hampton have been developing their own sense of intimacy for a number of years now, with the vocalist and the multi-instrumentalist writing for – and singing on – each other’s projects. Recently, they decided to see what they could create when they didn’t have other musicians to make room for, either onstage or in the mix. As such, it was just Hampton with his various axes (including ukulele, which he played on his opening composition “Every Living Part”), Parlato with a few shakers, and a joint harmonic that was as gorgeous as it was unique that led us into this relatively early evening. Hampton’s vocal style won’t ever be confused with Kurt Elling; he’s more like Paul Simon with a little more steel. Between that and his seemingly infinite range, he’s a perfect vocal partner for Parlato, who almost always stays within her sultry alto.

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Terrance Simien, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

March 10th, 2015, 10:00 am by Greg
Terrance Simien

Terrance Simien

“I’m going to have to think hard on that. You know what? I think the first album that I ever bought was by Chuck Mangione. I think that was it.

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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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Win FREE Tickets to This Weekend’s Bridge Jazz Festival

February 24th, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg
The Marcus Roberts Trio

The Marcus Roberts Trio

Two nights. Two different venues. Six diverse jazz bands heating up this long, cold winter… This weekend the inaugural Bridge Jazz Festival takes over the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Friday and the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts on Saturday.

FRIDAY (FEBRUARY 27), 7:30pm
at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy
Featuring the Marcus Roberts Trio, the Anat Cohen Quartet and Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius & Heard
Tickets: $28, $36 & $42; $15 Test Drive tickets are also available to people who have not previously purchased tickets to the Hall.

at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts, Albany
Featuring the Fred Hersch Trio, Cécile McLorin Savant and Gretchen Parlato/Alan Hampton Duo
Tickets: $40; $30 students

All-festival tickets are also available for both nights priced at $60; $40 students.

BUT WAIT… We’re giving away a pair of FREE ALL-FESTIVAL TICKETS – that’s two tickets to Friday AND Saturday night. To enter, just post a comment below. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The deadline to enter is 12noon on Friday (February 27), and the winner will be selected at random and notified on Friday afternoon. Don’t delay, enter today! And good luck!

Here’s more about the musicians:

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LIVE: Mary Lambert @ the Massry Center for the Arts, 10/17/14

November 12th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg


Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to imagine anyone walking out at the end of a Mary Lambert concert and not feeling oh-so-much better than when they walked in. Just ask anyone who was fortunate enough catch her Albany concert debut last month at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts

Lambert is a total charmer. She’s like your best friend that you’re just meeting for the first time – thoroughly engaging, outspoken, honest, a bit naughty and seemingly without any governor on her mouth, as though she’s willing and eager to share out-loud whatever thoughts pop into her head – sometimes wildly witty, sometimes deadly earnest, sometimes completely silly. And that’s just her between-song patter.

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LIVE: The John Pizzarelli Quartet @ the Massry Center, 9/27/14

October 17th, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg

John Pizzarelli Quartet

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Jazz-pop singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli knows how to charm an audience, and he did just that last month when he brought his quartet to the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts for a concert, as well as a student workshop.

Back by his brother Martin Pizzarelli on stand-up bass along with drummer Kevin Kanner and pianist Konrad Paszkudzki, the fab seven-string guitarist romped through a big batch of American Songbook classics from “How High the Moon” to “Skylark,” from “Satin Doll” to “Route 66.”

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LIVE: Chick Corea @ College of St. Rose’s, Massry Center, 4/11/14

May 1st, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg

Chick Corea

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Rudy Lu and Andrzej Pilarczyk

I haven’t heard it on any of WNYT-TV’s evening news reports yet, but the folks at News Channel 13 got quite an unexpected gift when jazz great Chick Corea composed a theme song for them during his recent concert at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts in Albany.

It was everything that a good television news theme should be – catchy, full of energy and urgency, engaging and yet all business. And Corea didn’t even realize what he was doing…

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