After a two-year hiatus, the Schenectady-based concert series known as A Place For Jazz is slated to return this year with some changes.
“APFJ’s last two seasons were canceled due to covid concerns,” said Albert Brooks, APFJ president. “Prior to that, APFJ had presented a jazz concert series every fall for 33 consecutive years – a remarkable feat for a small, totally volunteer-led and operated not-for-profit organization.”
This year, starting in April with a concert featuring Ann Hampton Callaway, APFJ will be working with the SUNY Schenectady School of Music to present shows at the college’s Carl B. Taylor Auditorium.
The series was previously presented at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady, which has an intimate concert space. While the building is beautiful, it’s a bit too small to maintain social distancing and break even on APFJ shows.
“It’s really hard to socially distance and have enough of an audience to be able to pay the musicians and have something left over to present the next concert. We are . . . and always have been volunteer-led [and] run operation. We exist on our ticket revenue and grants,” Brooks said.
Organizers found the right balance in a partnership with SUNY Schenectady, working with Christopher Brellochs, the dean of the School of Music.
This fall, they hope to present the artists that they planned to host back in 2020, including The Peg Delaney Big Band, Vincent Herring and the Celebration of Life Ensemble, the Geoffrey Keezer Trio featuring Gillian Margot and the Steve Davis Sextet. They’re seeking out artists for one other concert in the fall. Show dates will be announced in the coming months.
When it comes to COVID-19 precautions, APFJ will adhere to any rules SUNY Schenectady mandates, which are subject to change between this time and their first concert of the season. However, the APFJ board determined that, regardless of whether or not the venue requires it, APFJ will also require proof of vaccination for shows.
“We would certainly want to make these events as safe for our audience as possible,” Brooks said.
“It’s been heartbreaking not to do this because it’s been 33 years and we really have a dedicated audience.”
Callaway will mark the series return with a show at the Taylor Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. April 29. The singer, pianist, composer and producer is known for her Tony-nominated performance in “Swing!” and for writing and singing the theme song to the TV series “The Nanny.”
For updates and more information visit aplaceforjazz.org.