Posts Tagged ‘Zankel Music Center’

LIVE: The Bad Plus Joshua Redman @ Zankel Music Center, 10/23/15

Thursday, November 12th, 2015
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

The stage set at the Zankel Music Center for tenor master Joshua Redman and jazz provocateurs The Bad Plus (aka The Bad Plus Joshua Redman) was pretty bare-bones: drums, stand-up bass, piano, a tall stool and big mic for Redman… and a mahogany lectern with a simple green-and-gold “Skidmore College” banner hanging from the top of the dais. Did this show come with a lecture? Was this going to be on the Final? As it happened, the podium hadn’t been left out after an afternoon symposium. Skidmore President Dr. Philip A. Glotzbach used it to welcome the SRO crowd to the fifth anniversary celebration of the opening of Zankel Music Center.

Honestly, I was shocked; aside from the fact that I hadn’t known this was a special night, it seems like Zankel has been around forever, even though I was there opening night when Redman and piano icon Brad Mehldau christened the stage with an amazing set of mind-blowing duets. The Bad Plus also played Zankel during that opening season, though I missed that show. Now, these two major forces were back here, together, and thanks to the Zankel NOT being the Corning Preserve, we were able to hear every riveting syllable of the new musical language they have created.

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LIVE: The John Pizzarelli Quartet @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, 6/13/15

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Pizzarelli1

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Jazz-pop guitarist-vocalist John Pizzarelli and his band – drummer Kevin Kanner, bassist Martin Pizzarelli and pianist Konrad Paszkudzki – took the stage of the the Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College last month, playing the centerpiece concert for the annual and, at least in this format, final SaratogaArtsFest.

If you missed him, you’ll have another chance next month, when Pizzarelli, his band and his wife Jessica Molasky step into the spotlight at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall in Lenox for a live taping of their syndicated radio show “Radio Deluxe” at 4pm on Sunday, August 23. Ticket prices range from $19-$64.

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LIVE: Eric Harland’s Voyager @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Center, 9/26/14

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Walter Smith III and Eric Harland

Walter Smith III and Eric Harland

Review and photographs by J Hunter

I shouldn’t have been surprised at the half-house that greeted uber-drummer Eric Harland as he led his band Voyager out onto the vast stage at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center. Just in terms of jazz alone, it was a busy Friday night; George Garzone was headlining the second show in the at A Place For Jazz series, while the Chronicles were throwing a fifth anniversary party at the Albany Barn. But I was surprised, if not a little outraged – but then I decided to take the selfish viewpoint: “More mind-bending music for me!”

When I say “mind-bending,” I’m not just plumbing my thesaurus for something sensational-sounding. Whether it’s with SFJAZZ Collective or James Farm, Harland’s compositions have always had an element of the spiritual to them, but Voyager bumps that zeitgeist up a few levels. “We like to start with our mantra,” Harland intoned, grinning, playing his kit with one drumstick as the band eased into “Relax,” the opening number from the band’s second release Vipassana (pronounced “Vih-PAH-sin-nuh”). Other bands may claim their music can take you to another place, but as Harland told us before introducing his partners, once Voyager kicks into gear, “we actually voyage!” And when the group transitioned from “Relax” into the big waltzing pulse of “Raghavan,” that’s when our voyage really began.

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LIVE: Duncan Sheik @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, 6/13/14

Monday, June 30th, 2014
Duncan Sheik

Duncan Sheik

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Back in 1996, singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik released his self-titled debut album. The album went gold and spawned the smash hit single, “Barely Breathing,” which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

In recent years, he’s focused his songwriting talents on musical theater projects, penning songs for the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of “Twelfth Night,” the Tony Award-winning hit Broadway show “Spring Awakening” and most recently “American Psycho,” which opened in London last year.

Earlier this month, following opening act the Costellos, Sheik was the headlining performer for the SaratogaArtsFest, and with the help of bandmates, a string quartet and special guest vocalists, he combined both of his musical careers with a concert at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs.

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Linda Eder, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
Linda Eder

Linda Eder

“That’s a tough question. I don’t think I can remember. It was probably a Barbra Streisand album, but I can’t really say for certain.”

Singer and Broadway star Linda Eder steps into the spotlight at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs at 8pm on Saturday (June 21). The concert will be recorded for her upcoming in-concert album, “Linda Live.” Tickets are $65.

LIVE: The Kurt Rosenwinkel New Quartet @ Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center, 4/11/14

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Kurt Rosenwinkel, Orlando LeFleming and Kendrick Scott

Kurt Rosenwinkel, Orlando LeFleming and Kendrick Scott

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Albert Brooks, Andrzej Pilarczyk

“Welcome to Winterfest, 2014,” Kurt Rosenwinkel said drily to the almost-full house at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs. It seems that the guitarist and his epic quartet – pianist Aaron Parks, drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist Orlando LeFleming – got stranded in a flash flood and caught in a blizzard after arriving in the area the previous day. Their surprise is quite understandable: It’s true Rosenwinkel has played in this area before while Parks and Scott have visited Saratoga Springs multiple times; however, those trips mostly happened during the summer, not during a spring season that’s doing its best to disprove the assertion that climate change is only a myth.

When the quartet took the stage, it wasn’t as cold as it had been the previous day, but it was definitely coat-and-sweater weather. Happily, the Zankel warmed up almost immediately as Scott led the charge into the grooving opener “Our Secret World.” This piece was older than most of the set, which came almost exclusively from Rosenwinkel’s 2012 release Star of Jupiter. But even though the soundman was obviously scrambling to find the proper mix for this group, Rosenwinkel was already swinging for the fences as he stood at center stage and struck “The Pose” (right foot forward, knee slightly bent, eyes down at his axe) and filled the house with a tough, hollow-body sound that could have melted a foot of snow.

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LIVE: The Aaron Parks Trio @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, 12/6/13

Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Aaron Parks

Aaron Parks

Review and photographs by J Hunter

Aaron Parks didn’t just look like a young college professor as he led his trio onstage at Zankel Music Center last Friday night (December 6). James Farm’s piano man had actually been teaching master classes at Skidmore College the day before, so the “mentee” of Terence Blanchard was now the mentor. Just one more step in an ever winding, always interesting creative journey that started when Blanchard plucked a teenage Parks out of Manhattan School of Music and showed him the world. And, as we saw on this night, that journey is far from over.

Given the prodigious nature of Parks’ compositional skills, having him start the night with a straight-down-the-middle take on Jimmy van Heusen’s “Like Someone in Love” was a bit of a shock. It’s true that Parks’ early recordings touch on the Great American Songbook, but we’ve become so used to Parks doing his own thing that it’s kind of weird to hear him doing anybody else’s tunes. More to the point, Parks eschewed the young musician’s urge to deconstruct an older piece, giving van Heusen’s music the loving touch it deserved.

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New Release Rack: The 5 Browns’ “The Rite of Spring”

Monday, November 18th, 2013

The 5 Browns: The Rite of SpringNo, the 5 Browns aren’t a new Local 518 punk-jazz collective. They aren’t local at all.

But the Utah-based, five-sibling family band of classical pianists – Desirae, Deondra, Gregory, Melody and Ryan Brown, whose average age is 30, by the way – did make a Nippertown tour stop back in the spring at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center which has resulted in their new album, The Rite of Spring, on the Steinway & Sons label.

It’s the quintet’s first live album, following five previous studio albums, and it was recorded in concert at Skidmore in conjunction with the annual Saratoga ArtsFest on May 29, exactly 100 years to the day after the iconic Igor Stravinsky composition had its riotous premiere in Paris. The Browns’ Saratoga performance also served as the world premiere of Jeffrey Shumway’s new five-piano arrangement of the thunderous orchestral masterwork.

With Grammy-Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse at the helm, the album also features Greg Anderson’s five-piano arrangements of three movements from Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” and “Danse macabre” by Camille Saint-Saëns.

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