When Bernie Williams came from Puerto Rico to the Capital Region to play for the Albany-Colonie Yankees minor league baseball team at age 17, he brought his love of music with him.
The New York Yankee great will do the same when he returns to the Capital Region this summer, this time to headline SummerNight in Schenectady as a Latin Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist.
Williams, the Yankee’s beloved and retired centerfielder who played 16 years in New York City beginning in 1991, is set to play at the downtown event that runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 10.
Schenectady County announced Williams and his All-Star Band as the headliner at 5 p.m. Wednesday on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio, according to its Facebook page.
Shortly after, the county posted on Facebook: “Schenectady County is proud to announce that Yankee Great and Grammy Nominee Bernie Williams will headline Schenectady County SummerNight on July 10, 2015.”
The night will also feature performances by local bands The Refrigerators, Stockade Kids, #2 Band, Moriah Formica, Crush and The Charles Smith Blues Band.
Williams released his first album, “The Journey Within,” featuring fusions of jazz, rock and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ home island, in 2003 after years of playing guitar in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse and on team flights, according to a biography on Williams’ official website, www.bernie51.com.
“Whether acoustic or electric, a guitar was a constant presence in the star’s locker or equipment bag, and it was no surprise in 2003 when he demonstrated how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his first album,” the bio reads.
His second album, “Moving Forward,” featured guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada, Dave Koz and renowned studio musicians and was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2009.
Williams started playing guitar at age 8 when his merchant-marine father came home from Spain with a flamenco guitar, according to his bio. Around the same time, he picked up his first baseball bat. He went on to attend Escuela Libre de Musica, a special performance arts school in Puerto Rico, at 13.
Williams was a four-time World Series champion in his 16-year career with the Yankees, as well a five-time All Star and a four-time Gold Glove winner.