Jazz at the Lake 2016 Announces Schedule of Bands
By J Hunter
Well, it seems like the icy grip of winter has finally (knock wood) been removed from the throat of Greater Nippertown. That means it’s time to turn our gaze to September, when the icy grip of winter starts to let us know it could show up at any moment… but that’s the down side. The up side of September is that one of the best free jazz festivals in the country – Jazz at the Lake – happens at Shepard Park in Lake George, and the Lake George Arts Project has released the schedule for the 2016 edition, which takes place on Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18.
Check it out:
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
1pm: THE BRUBECK BROTHERS QUARTET
Multi-instrumentalist Chris Brubeck and drummer Dan Brubeck have been bringing their generation’s take on jazz to Greater Nippertown for decades now, with recent appearances at Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival and Saratoga’s Universal Preservation Hall. With a blend of acoustic and electric music that features their own originals as well as great takes on some of their late father’s best known tunes, the Brothers Brubeck should get the weekend off to a beautiful start.
2:45pm: CHARENEE WADE SINGS THE MUSIC OF GIL SCOTT-HERON
One of the best discs of 2015 was Charenee Wade’s Motema album Offering: The Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson. With a supporting cast that included Albany’s own Stefon Harris and up-and-coming sax player Lakecia Benjamin, the NY-based vocalist introduced the powerful words of the late Gil Scott-Heron to a new generation. I’ve seen Wade rock the San Jose Jazz Festival and NYC Winter Jazzfest with her dynamic voice and razor-sharp interpretations, so trust me: Missing this set is not an option.
4:30pm: LAO TIZER QUINTET with KAREN BRIGGS
Keyboardist Lao Tizer has been rocking the contemporary jazz scene for over 15 years, appearing with outfits as diverse as Spyro Gyra and Zappa Plays Zappa. The Boulder native is a former Best New Jazz Artist nominee, and his band TIZER was a Jazz Group of the Year nominee in 2011. African-American violinist Karen Briggs has a pretty varied resume of her own, with stints alongside Stanley Clarke and Chaka Khan. The energy these artists bring to this music will definitely put an exclamation point on Saturday afternoon.
7:30pm: THE DIVA JAZZ ORCHESTRA
Birthed from a simple idea in 1990, DIVA has been making the jazz world swing since 1993 with a vibrant all-female orchestra that’s included such genre luminaries as Anat Cohen, Claire Daly, Ingrid Jensen, Natalie Cressman and Sharel Cassity. Led by drummer Sherry Maricle, DIVA may be the swingingest thing Lake George has ever seen. There’ll be no problem keeping warm until the fireworks show with this group on the job.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
1pm: EDMAR CASTANEDA WORLD ENSEMBLE
The Colombian harpist’s axe may live in the “Miscellaneous” category of jazz awards, but there’s nothing miscellaneous about the insanely beautiful noises Castaneda has been hypnotizing us with since his first solo album Cuarto de Colores dropped in 2006. Frequently performing with his wife, vocalist Andrea Tierra, Castaneda’s World Ensemble was recently captured on the 2015 Arpa y Voz Records release Live at Jazz Standard. Don’t be late for this show, because Castaneda’s music is a sight to see and hear.
2:45pm: THE GARY McFARLAND LEGACY ENSEMBLE with SHAREL CASSITY
Anyone familiar with drummer/educator Michael Benedict knows his love for the music of star-crossed jazz wunderkind Gary McFarland. However, the world found out about that love (and about McFarland, too) through the 2015 PlanetArts release Circulation: The Music of Gary McFarland – a disc that made more than a few “Best Of” lists at the end of last year. With hard-charging reed player Sharel Cassity joining the group, McFarland’s compositions live, breathe and jump again.
4:30pm: AMINA FIGAROVA SEXTET
From Azerbaijan by way of the Netherlands, this new New Yorker has been recording her rich, detailed compositions since 1995; however, Figarova really caught everyone’s ears with her jaw-dropping 9/11-inspired 2005 release September Suite. Since then, she has released four outstanding discs, including her late-2015 In+Out Records release Blue Whisper. With a lyrical sense akin to Maria Schneider and a piano style that can capture both the subtle and the stunning, Amina Figarova proves why this nation should continue to be a nation of immigrants.
ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2016:
HIGH MUD COMEDY FESTIVAL @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, Friday & Saturday, March 11 & 12
MOVE MUSIC FESTIVAL @ various locations, Albany, April 22-24
ROCK ‘N DERBY FESTIVAL @ Schaghticoke Fairgrounds, Schaghticoke, May 20-22
MOUNTAIN JAM @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, June 2-5
A TASTE OF COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, June 10-12
CLEARWATER’S GREAT HUDSON RIVER REVIVAL @ Croton Point Park, Croton-On-Hudson, June 18-19 UPDATE: This festival has been cancelled.
OLD SONGS FESTIVAL @ Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, June 24-26
FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, June 25 & 26
GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL @ Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, July 8-10