LIVE: The Julian Lage Group @ the Van Dyck, 10/23/09

October 30th, 2009, 11:11 am by Greg

Julian Lage

Julian Lage

Guitarist extraordinaire Julian Lage and his quintet rolled into Schenectady last Friday to play two outstanding shows at the Van Dyck. With a broad grin and a nod of his head, Lage launched the band into uncharted jazz waters filled with mostly impassioned originals and a few standards. The music was all over the jazz map – one minute it was the bebop of a Joe Pass, the next the rocking interludes of a Mike Stern with a Latin tinge to boot.

His fingers traversed the fret board with childlike ease bringing to mind Pat Metheny, Larry Coryell and even John Scofield, all of whom he shares a kinship with, having been a part of vibraphone jazz-legend Gary Burton’s past quartets.

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LIVE: Murali Coryell @ the Van Dyck, 10/17/09

October 21st, 2009, 3:08 pm by Greg


Murali Coryell, the blues-playing son of jazz guitar legend Larry Coryell, made a stop at the Van Dyck last Saturday night, and it wasn’t long before the Schenectady nightspot was hopping. Fronting a trio featuring bassist Steve Aldin and Dorian Randolph sitting behind the traps, Coryell wrestled his Strat’s fretboard, bending strings and sending notes screaming out into the audience.

Blues-drenched tunes from Coryell’s about-to-be released “Sugar Lips” CD featured prominantly throughout two powerful sets that mixed originals tunes with other songs written by, among others, Buddy Guy. The highlight of the evening’s performance was friendly guitar battle between Coryell and special guest George Boone on Z.Z. Hill’s “Down Home Blues.”

Playing for more than two hours over the course of the night, Coryell wrapped up the evening with a riveting and soulful version of the old Curtis Mayfield classic, “People Get Ready.”

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk


LIVE: Spider Saloff @ the Van Dyck, 10/10/09

October 16th, 2009, 9:26 am by Greg


Vocalist and sublime interpreter of the Great American Songbook, Spider Saloff performed a special memorial concert for her late husband Bob “Drake” Dudrakey at the Van Dyck in Schenectady last Saturday night. Accompanying her were regional jazz veterans Sam Farkas on guitar, acoustic bassist Otto Gardner and Leo Russo on saxophone.

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LIVE: Rachel Vogt @ the Van Dyck, 9/26/09

October 2nd, 2009, 1:01 pm by Greg

rachelVogtRachel Vogt is on her way to stardom by way of hard work and loads of talent. She’s not selling herself through “American Idol” claptrap; she’s doing it with blood, sweat and tears and the help of a hand-picked back-up band that includes inspired R&B/jazz saxophonist George Kurtz, guitarist Mark Tremante, drummer Mark Hollis, bassist Carl West and super pianist Azzaam Hameed (better known regionally as Saratoga jazz singer Judy Wyle’s steady musical partner).

In addition, Vogt’s gorgeous voice – which falls somewhere between the pop stylings of Mariah Carey and the blues-soul power of Joan Osborne – is nestled between two superlative back up singers Tomika McDougald and Danielle Vitullo.

Vogt’s live repertoire is drawn from a wide range of classic nuggets that go back to the 1930’s with Fats Waller’s “I’m Gonna Sit Down Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” through the 1970’s with Tavares’ “Heaven Must be Missing An Angel,” and into today with her own originals that have a timeless quality.

Her debut album, “On My Way” on DreamSpun Recordings, is a fine introduction of what she is capable of as a songwriter, but seeing her perform in front of an audience is the real proof of her talent. Last Saturday at the Van Dyck in front of a sold-out house, Rachel Vogt delivered the goods with a powerful vocal delivery on ballads, jazzy tunes, rocking numbers and funky R&B.

Review and photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Weekend Roundup

September 16th, 2009, 3:29 pm by Greg

This just might be the single busiest weekend of the year, so we really don’t want to hear a single peep out of anyone complaining that there’s nothing to do in Nippertown. Seriously.

Here are just a few suggestions:

Los Lobos

Los Lobos

Lecture and opening reception for Jennifer Dalton‘s “Is It Just Me?” @ the Teaching Gallery @ Hudson Valley Community College, Troy (FREE)
“Capital Region’s Got Talent” @ Revolution Hall, Troy (FREE)
Colleen Pratt & Friends @ the Van Dyck, Schenectady (FREE)
3rd Thursday arts walk @ various locations in Pittsfield, Mass. (FREE)
Los Lobos with Jonah Smith @ the Calvin Theater, Northampton, Mass.
Discussion with Annea Lockwood, Margaret Cogswell and Ian Berry @ the Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs (FREE)

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Real Good for Free: Colleen Pratt @ the Van Dyck

September 16th, 2009, 9:06 am by Greg

Growing up in a musical family, it’s no surprise that Colleen Pratt turned into an exquisite jazz vocalist. It’s also no surprise that Pratt spent an awful lot of time at the venerable old Van Dyck.

And now that the Schenectady nightspot has re-opened under new management, it’s a thrill to discover that Pratt and the Van Dyck have found each other once again.

Colleen Pratt & Friends now have a monthly residency at the Van Dyck, stepping into the spotlight there on the third Thursday of each month – including Thursday, September 17.

The music gets underway at 7pm, and there is no admission charge.

Real Good for Free: Eddie Money @ Monument Square (9/19)
Real Good for Free: Tuesdays @ Revolution Hall (Tuesdays)
Real Good for Free: The Uncle Brothers @ East Greenbush Community Library (Sept. 26)
Real Good for Free: Capital Region’s Got Talent @ Rev. Hall (9/17)
Real Good for Free: Happy Traum @ the Crandall Library (Various days)
Real Good for Free: CRUMBS Nite Out @ The Linda (4th Thursdays)
Real Good for Free: Albany’s September in the City Art Fair (Wednesdays)
Real Good for Free: Lake George Jazz Weekend (9/19-20)
Real Good for Free: LarkFEST!!!!!!!! (Sept. 19)
Real Good for Free: Rock-It in Schenectady (Fridays)
Real Good For Free: Halfmoon (Wednesdays)
Real Good for Free: Albany Public Library (Third Fridays)
Real Good for Free: At The Plaza, Albany (Wednesdays)

LIVE: David Lindley @ the Van Dyck, 7/23

July 27th, 2009, 2:17 pm by Greg


One of the most charmingly eccentric musicians and human beings, David Lindley returned to the recently reopened Van Dyck in Schenectady on Thursday, July 23, dazzling fans with two solo performances that showcased his bottomless musical talent and his seemingly endless array of musical instruments.

His setlist included:
favorites: “King of the Bed” and “Methlab Boyfriend”
covers: Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road,” Springsteen’s “Brothers Under the Bridge”
tunes from his latest album, “Big Twang”: “The State of Arkansas,” “Revenge Will Come”

And, yes, as predicted here at Nippertown first, there was a special guest in the house. Lindley’s longtime pal and employer Jackson Browne rolled into town a day early for his SPAC show in order to catch Lindley’s shows at the Van Dyck. Unfortunately, he didn’t perform, however, preferring to rest his voice on his off-night.


Photos by Andrzej Pilarczyk

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