FREE FEST: Albany Riverfront Jazz Fest Line-Up Announced
The City of Albany will present the 14th annual Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 12. This all-day, free concert event takes place at Jennings Landing in the Corning Preserve from 1-9pm. In the event of inclement weather, the festival will be held at the rain site, the Corning Preserve Boat Launch Parking Lot under the I-787 overpass.
Since its debut in 2002, the free festival has featured an eclectic array of musical greats, critically acclaimed up-and-coming artists and Local 518 favorites. In addition to the music, there’s food, beverages, vendors and a festival-closing fireworks display.
Here’s the schedule of bands for the 2015 Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival:
1pm: LARRY MOSES’ LATIN JAZZ EXPRESS
A seven-piece Hudson Valley band dedicated to keeping the sounds and spirit of this music alive, Larry Moses’ Latin Jazz Express is what happens when the sophisticated sounds of jazz mix it up with the red-hot Latin rhythms of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the streets of NYC. Trumpet player, bandleader and arranger Larry Moses has performed with Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, the Eddie Palmieri Orchestra, Machito Orchestra and the Buddy Rich Orchestra. Members of Moses’ all-star Latin Express band have performed alongside legendary artists Gil Evans, Billy Cobham, the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra, George Duke, Clare Fischer’s Grammy-winning Salsa Picante, Pancho Sanchez and many more.
2:30pm: THE JOEY THOMAS BIG BAND
On July 2, 1976, the bands of Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson performed at the Saratoga Jazz Festival. Inspired by this convergence of jazz legends, bandleader Joey Thomas gives his nod to these jazz masters as the 16-piece Joey Thomas Big Band makes their Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival debut. Perpetuating the modern big band, the Great American Songbook and swing dancing has been the Joey Thomas Big Band’s driving mission for 23 years. Highlighting the swing of Kenton with an all-time favorite like “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” to the jumpin’ and jivin’ of Woody Herman’s take on Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be” to the high voltage of a Ferguson chart, the Joey Thomas Big Band will
have any jazz lover falling in love with the big band all over again. Anyone new to the big band will savor the introduction.
4pm: KEITH PRAY’S SOUL JAZZ REVIVAL
Saxophonist and composer Keith Pray is a native of upstate New York who returned to the Local 518 in 2006 after a lengthy tenure in New York City. He performs regularly with the Keith Pray Quartet, the Soul Jazz Revival and the Big Soul Ensemble and freelances in many other groups in the area. He has shared the stage with hundreds of gifted musicians, including Paul Anka, Benny Golson, the Temptations, Ray Vega, David “Fathead” Newman, Lew Soloff, Mark Vinci, Ralph Lalama and Jerry Weldon. Pray’s unique style and talent has allowed him to perform and record across the spectrum of today’s music, including performances on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” and “The View,” Food Network’s “Food Nation,” the Newport Jazz Festival and numerous high-profile local festivals and events. An in-demand jazz educator,
Pray has taught at SUNY Oneonta, Schenectady County Community College, the Schenectady City School District and Proctor’s Theater Summer Jazz Institute.
5:30pm: KATE DAVIS
The music of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kate Davis has been turning heads in New York’s music scene since 2012. Whether she’s crooning rootsy ballads or plucking bright riffs from her bass, the gutsy songstress from Portland, Oregon puts a fresh spin on the standards and brings a canonical sensibility to her own lush tracks. Lauded by MTV as one of 2014’s “15 Fresh Females Who Will Rule Pop,” Kate grew up with an instrument in her arms and a head full of inventive lyrics. She’s performed at such illustrious venues as the Kennedy Center, the Bowery Ballroom, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and shared the stage with such diverse artists as Alison Krauss, Josh Groban, Michael Feinstein, Ben Folds, Joshua Bell, Wynton Marsalis and Renee Fleming. Upcoming projects include an appearance in the Disney film “The Finest Hours” and her debut album release for the Concord Records label. She was a featured artist and served as music director the Sundance Festival’s tribute to Nina Simone, and her cover of “All About That Bass” with PostModern Jukebox has received over 13 million YouTube views.
7pm: BOOKER T. JONES
It can be argued that it was Booker T. Jones who set the cast for modern soul music and is largely responsible for its rise and enduring popularity. On classic Stax hits like “Green Onions,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time Is Tight” and “Melting Pot,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient pushed the music’s boundaries, refined it to its essence and then injected it into the nation’s bloodstream. Following up a pair of Grammy-winning solo recordings, Booker T’s new album Sound the Alarm finds the Hammond B3 organ master looking ahead yet again, laying down his distinctive bedrock grooves amid a succession of sparkling collaborations with some of contemporary R&B’s most gifted young voices. Sound the Alarm also marks Booker T’s historic return to Stax Records, the Memphis soul label the instrumentalist, bandleader, producer and songwriter helped put on the map during the 1960s with his brilliant band, the MGs.
ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2015:
Bang On a Can Summer Music Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 7/15-8/1/15
The Black Arts and Cultural Festival @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, 8/1/15, FREE
The New York State Food Festival @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, 8/12/15, FREE
Hispanic Heritage Celebration @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/12/15, FREE
The Plaza at 50 Festival @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/16/15, FREE
FreshGrass @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/18-20/15
American Music Festival for the Lake @ Wood Park, Lake George, 9/26-27/15