The string of exceptional Proctors jazz shows that started last week with Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber keeps rolling with two shows this weekend: Branford Marsalis on Friday on the Mainstage and Frank Vignola in the GE Theatre on Saturday in an Eighth Step presentation.
Saxophonist Branford Marsalis — yes, of those New Orleans Marsalises — leads his longtime quartet after a duo performance with pianist Joey Calderazzo, a member of Marsalis’ quartet and a composer and recording artist in his own right. Marsalis and Calderazzo have played duets during quartet shows for years, and their new album “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy” showcases their interplay.
This step follows Marsalis’ extraordinary career milestones, playing with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, brother Wynton Marsalis’ first band, Sting’s Blue Turtles, The Tonight Show Band and collaborations in all directions with jazz, classical and rock groups, including the Grateful Dead and Public Enemy.
Branford Marsalis has released 13 albums in addition to the new collaboration with Calderazzo, who replaced the late, great Kenny Kirkland in 1999. In 2004, Marsalis and his quartet recorded a live re-creation of John Coltrane’s immortal “A Love Supreme” album, a tremendous challenge and achievement: They nailed it.
The Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo Duo and the Branford Marsalis Quartet play at 8 p.m. on Friday on the Proctors Mainstage. The quartet also features bassist Eric Revis (who replaces Robert Hurst) and drummer Justin Faulkner (who replaces Jeff “Tain” Watts). Tickets are $55, $45, $35, $30 and $20. Phone 346-6204 or visit www.proctors.org.
When the late, great guitarist Les Paul names a fellow guitarist to his “Five Most Admired Guitar List” in the Wall Street Journal, that’s big — one of the many honors the dazzling but unassuming Frank Vignola has collected.
On Saturday, Vignola brings fellow-guitarist Vinny Raniolo to the Proctors GE Theatre in an Eighth Step presentation.
Vignola has played here with bands of various sizes and instrumentation and once opened at The Egg on consecutive nights for Jane Monheit and someone else: Vignola was so terrific, I can’t remember who headlined.
If Vignola had been in town last week, he could have joined guitarist Stephane Wrembel’s Django A Go Go tribute to Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt at The Egg. He would have stolen the show.
Vignola has tremendous technique, notably the ability to hold a tune together when it’s rolling so fast you fear the wheels might fly off. He makes it all swing, too. Vignola also has exceptional warmth as a performer, giving each song both a personal touch and a respectful re-creation of its essentials. In short, he’s tremendous.
Frank Vignola performs with Vinny Raniolo at Proctors GE Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. His most recent recordings are “100 Years of Django” in 2010 and the brand-new “Scheherazade.” Tickets are $24 in advance, $26 at the door. Phone the Eighth Step at 434-1703 or visit www.eighthstep.org; or Proctors at 346-6204 or www.proctors.org.
The youngest Marsalis (after trumpeter Wynton, saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo, poet Ellis III and Mboya, who doesn’t play), Jason Marsalis brings his Vibes Quartet to the Van Dyck on March 16. Check back for details.
Apologies to Burnt Sugar, their fans and readers of my review of their show last week at Proctors.
I got some names wrong: The keyboardist is Bruce Mack and the bassist is Jared Michael Nickerson. I hate getting things wrong any time, but I really loved this band so I feel doubly bad to have messed this up.
Also, I should have noted that Burnt Sugar launched Proctors’ “Party Horns NYC” — the start of a jazz outburst there — and that the series continues on Feb. 18 with Brooklyn Qawwali Party and wraps up on March 24 with Dead Cat Bounce. Stay tuned for details.
Of Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, I wrote in my Gazette review: “Thrilling, funky, complicated, compelling: the awkwardly named hybrid hyperactive hipster band Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber threw down and all around at Proctors GE Theater on Saturday.”
New York Voices sing on Friday at the Lydia C. Tobler Performing Arts Center at Voorheesville High School (432 New Salem Road, Voorheesville). Formed at Ithaca College in 1987, the Grammy-winning quartet features Shaker High School grad Kim Nazarian, along with Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge and Lauren Kinhan. (See story, D1.) Show time is 7:30. Tickets are $25. Phone 765-3314 ext. 423.
On Sunday, New Orleans trombonist Glen David Andrews (cousin of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews) presents the New Orleans Bad Ass Jazz Brunch at Club Helsinki (405 Columbia St., Hudson). The Treme neighborhood native leads a seven-piece crew inspired by Big Easy marching bands and all kids of funk. Brunch starts at 10 a.m. and the music hits at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. Phone 828-4800 or visit www.helsinkihudson.com.
Last, and by no means least, the Keith Pray Big Soul Ensemble plays on Tuesday at the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady). Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is free. Phone 348-7999 or visit www.vandycklounge.com.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at firstname.lastname@example.org.