THE DOZEN: December’s Must-See Concerts
By Greg Haymes
You could call it Best Bets, Prime Picks, Top Tips or whatever. We call it The Dozen, whereby we offer a monthly round-up of 12 (or so) of the shows around Greater Nippertown that have got us jazzed the most. Only one entry per venue. Of course, your results may vary, so please feel free to comment below and let us know what you think we missed or overlooked.
Here’s The Dozen for the month of December:
TODAY (THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1): John Gorka @ Caffe Lena at the Washington Inn, Saratoga Springs. The veteran singer-songwriter rolls into town in support of his new/old Red House Records album, Before Beginning: The Unreleased I Know – Nashville 1985. 7pm. $27.
SATURDAY (DECEMBER 3): Chris Botti @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. The trumpeter is often mistakenly lumped in with the “smooth jazz” crowd, but Botti knows how to play the real-deal jazz. And he also has a top-notch band. 8pm. $29, $49, $69 & $79.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9: Jack DeJohnette Trio @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany. The legendary jazz drummer is joined by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and bassist Matthew Garrison. With the Indo-Pak Coalition led by saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa. 7:30pm. $36.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10: Dinosaur Jr. @ MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center, North Adams. Led by frontman J Mascis, the band’s screaming, crunching guitar sound ushered in an era and helped define the alt-rock of the 1990s. And they’re still at it with Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, which dropped this summer. With Sub Pop labelmates Luluc. 8pm. $28 in advance; $36 at the door; $46 preferred.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10: Del & Dawg @ EMPAC at RPI, Troy. Bluegrass legends Del McCoury and David “Dawg” Grisman played their first duo gig 50 years ago at RPI, and now they’re returning to celebrate their golden anniversary. With special guests Jerry McCoury and Chris Warner. 8pm. $36, $46 & $59.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11: Maceo Parker @ the Bearsville Theater, Woodstock. Best known for his tenure with James Brown and George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic, he’s simply the funkiest saxman alive. 8pm. $38, $48 & $53.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18: Buck-Stock @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy. A celebration of the life and music of the late Buck Malen, hosted by Scotty Mac and Joe Mele and featuring Mac & Harrison, Super 400, Matt Mirable Band featuring Jill Hughes, Big Frank & the Bargain Bingers, Chris Busone Band, the Lustre Kings, Soul Sky, Johnny Rabb & the Tichy Boys, Frank Daley, Luke McNamee, Dave Schachne and more. 2pm. $10 minimum doantion to benefit Buck’s family.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30: The Weight Band @ The Egg’s Hart Theatre, Albany. Jim Weider, Randy Ciarlante, Brian Mitchell, Marty Grebb and Albert Rogers are joined by the King Harvest Horns to perform the music of the classic 1971 Band album, Rock of Ages. 7:30pm. $34.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31: First Night Saratoga @ various locations, Saratoga Springs. Bigger and better than ever the 21st annual celebration features 71 acts at 30 downtown venues over the course of six hours, including Wild Adriatic, Sirsy, the Figgs, Ramblin Jug Stompers, Darling Valley, the living Roots Trio and more. 5:30pm. $15 through December 25; $20 thereafter; FREE ages 12 & under.