A Place for Folk

October 25th, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg

For years now, many Capital Region music fans have known the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady’s wonderful Whisperdome as A Place for Jazz, but that’s about to change…

No, A Place for Jazz isn’t moving on to a new venue. It’s staying right there. But now jazz will be sharing the space with folk music, as a new concert series, A Place for Folk, has also moved into the Whisperdome.

A Place for Folk has scheduled a series of six concerts for their inaugural season, which kicks off on Saturday with the Chicago trio, Sons of the Never Wrong.

Tix are $16; students $14. A season ticket – providing one ticket for each of the six concerts – is also available for $84.

Doors open at 7:30pm; music begins at 8pm.

Here’s the line-up for A Place for Folk’s 2012-2013 inaugural season:

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LIVE: Mary Stallings @ A Place for Jazz, 9/28/12

October 16th, 2012, 3:00 pm by Greg
Mary Stallings

Mary Stallings

A Place for Jazz launched its fall concert season with a knock-out performance by trumpeter Tom Harrell last month, and it seemed that the series just wouldn’t be able top it.

But that assumption was proven oh-so-wrong when jazz vocalist Mary Stallings took the stage at the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady’s Whisperdome just two weeks later.

I had missed her in concert last year when she took the microphone with Jimmy Cobb’s Coast to Coast Septet at the Tanglewood Jazz Weekend, but I wasn’t about to make that same mistake again.

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Tom Harrell, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

September 12th, 2012, 10:00 am by Greg
Tom Harrell (photo by Angela Harrell)

Tom Harrell (photo by Angela Harrell)

“I think the first album I bought was The Charlie Parker Story: Volume 1. It was an anthology on Verve with a really nice cross-section of styles. There were the things with strings, big band stuff and the quintet with Kenny Clarke. And also with Machito and his orchestra.

I didn’t really understand what he was doing. His music wasn’t accessible to me right away. It took me a while to see the logic in his playing because it’s so complex. But at the same time, it’s so human. It’s just incredible.

I think that before I bought that album, I had heard ‘Relaxin’ at Camarillo’ at home, and that was my first exposure to Charlie Parker.”

In support of his new album, “Number Five,” jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell leads his band into the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady’s Whisperdome at 7:30pm on Friday (September 14), to kick off the fall season of A Place for Jazz concerts. Tix are $15; students $7; kids under 12 FREE.

INTERVIEW: Dave Gleason of Sensemaya

October 27th, 2011, 2:00 pm by Greg
Dave Gleason

The first (and last) time I saw Sensemaya was when they played Riverfront Park in Troy back in 2005. Mind you, I haven’t “stayed away” from the band; as I recall, I enjoyed their performance very much. It’s just that the band and I haven’t crossed paths since then. That’ll change on Friday night at A Place For Jazz, when I attend the CD-release party for the group’s new disc “Havana Before Dawn.”

Pianist Dave Gleason is the band’s leader, as well as someone who’s actually living his education: He studied the folk and popular music forms of Puerto Rico and Cuba while working on his M.A. in Music at Tufts University. He also studied ethnomusicology and composition while playing gigs and jam sessions around the Boston area. So when he was gracious enough to give me a few minutes as he prepared for the drop party, I knew what question I’d ask him first:

Q: What the heck is an “ethnomusicologist,” and when did you know you wanted to become one? 

A: It just means someone who studies world music. You could also say it’s a anthropologist who focuses on the relationship between music and culture. An ethnomusicologist does field work and participant observation. They live in the culture they study and learn their music by playing it. Many ethnomusicologists focus on Africa, India, China, etc., but my focus was Cuba and Puerto Rico. I knew I wanted to study ethnomusicology on about the second day of my freshman year at the Crane School of Music. We read about it in an Intro to Music Studies class. I remember calling my parents that afternoon and telling them that I knew this was going to part of my future. Dr. Marsha Baxter at Crane is an ethnomusicologist, and she helped me get my start; later I pursued it in graduate school.

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LIVE: The Tia Fuller Quartet @ the First Unitarian Society’s Whisperdome, 9/30/11

October 4th, 2011, 4:00 pm by Greg
Tia Fuller and drummer Rudy Royston

Tia Fuller and drummer Rudy Royston

In the wake of her tour de force performance at Freihofer Jazz Festival at SPAC earlier this summer, larger than life saxophonist Tia Fuller returned to town on Friday for her second Nippertown appearance in just three months. And once again she served up an explosive evening of jazz.

While Fuller may be best known as the saxophonist in pop star Beyonce’s touring band, she is an undeniable jazz talent in her own right. And her virtuoso quartet – featuring her sister Shamie Royston on piano; brother-in-law Rudy Royston on drums and bassist Mimi Jones – is every bit as impressive as their bandleader, dazzling the audience with their command of standards (“Body and Soul,” Charlie Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce”) and originals (“Clear Minds” and the title track of her latest album, “Decisive Steps”).

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Happy Birthday to A Place for Jazz

March 15th, 2011, 2:09 pm by Greg
Houston Person

Houston Person

A Place for Jazz is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and members of the not-for-profit jazz organization are getting a special gift – a free ticket to the special anniversary concert by veteran tenor saxman Houston Person at 8pm on Friday, April 15 at the First Unitarian Society’s Whisperdome in Schenectady.

Tix for the general public are available for $15 – or you can become a member and get a free ticket.

A Place for Jazz has also announced its schedule of concerts for the fall season, which kicks off on Friday, September 14 with a quintet co-led by saxman Dick Oatts and trumpeter Terell Stafford. Flutist-saxophonist Tia Fuller – who is also playing at SPAC’s Freihofer Jazz Festival in June – takes the stage with her quartet on Friday, September 30, while piano great Kenny Barron leads his trio on Friday, October 14. David Gleason leads Nippertown’s Latin jazz groovesters Sensemaya on Friday, October 28, and Grammy nominated pianist-vocalist Freddy Cole and his band wrap up the concert series on Friday, November 11.

A Place for Jazz concerts take place at the First Unitarian Society’s Whisperdome in Schenectady. Tickets are $15; students $7; and children under 12 are free if they’re with an adult.

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