Here comes a big weekend for jazz at the Van Dyck in Schenectady.
This full slate of shows starts off tonight with the traditional-minded singer Colleen Pratt and Friends, a straight-ahead hometown quartet. Pratt can swing anything and proves it by tackling not just jazz standards but also pop tunes, including Motown.
Colleen Pratt and Friends perform at the Van Dyck (237 Union St.) tonight at 7. Admission is free. Phone 348-7999 or visit www.vandycklounge.com.
On Friday, Doc Scanlon’s Pan Atlantic Swingsters take over the Van Dyck stage for an 8 p.m. show. Scanlon plays bass and sings, with the brilliant he-plays-everything guitarist Graham Tichy, best known as a rockabilly riot all by himself but also a skilled jazz player, representing our neighborhood, along with Scanlon.
Also in this frequent-flier crew: New York City-based clarinetist Dan Levinson, seen with the Nighthawks in “Boardwalk Empire”; and singer Stephane Seva, visiting from France. These guys play from an even older songbook than Pratt’s. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 on Friday.
On Saturday, guitarist Stanley Jordan returns after too long an absence, to play two Van Dyck shows, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Jordan came on the scene with a bang in 1985, instantly famous for refining the two-handed “tapping” technique of using the hands independently, like a pianist, that Charlie Hunter and others have emulated.
A classical pianist first, Jordan elevated “tapping” to a fine art, developing a keyboardist’s ability to play melody and chords simultaneously; in fact, he sometimes plays two guitars at once.
He worked his way through Princeton by playing with Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie, recorded some highly praised albums and played numerous impressive local shows, including several milestone concerts in the 1980s at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. But he hit some career headwinds after these early successes, turning his back on performing for some years and studying music therapy.
Now, he’s back on tour and guitar fans can once again gawk and marvel at his skill and musicianship. Just don’t get the wrong idea: Jordan is not all tricks and flash. He’s a highly evolved musician who happens to wield magic hands. Stanley Jordan plays on Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at the Van Dyck. Admission is $22 in advance, $26 on Saturday.
Sounds of New Orleans
New Orleans rockers The Revivalists open for Van Ghost, featuring trumpeter-singer Jennifer Hartswick (the Trey Anastasio Band), on Saturday at the Bayou Café (79 N. Pearl St., Albany), while the Joe Krown Trio plays Red Square (388 Broadway, Albany).
Formed during jams at Tipitina’s, The Revivalists were named Best Emerging Artist at Gambit Magazine’s Big Easy Awards last year and were nominated this year as Best Rock Act. They are: drummer Andrew Campanelli, guitarist Zack Feinberg, singer David Shaw, bassist George Gekas, saxophonist Rob Ingraham, pedal steel player Ed Williams and multi-instrumentalist Michael Girardot.
You can tell they’re from New Orleans mainly by the beats and the effortless way they flow from funk to soul, for example. But they’re a rock band in every way that matters.
Van Ghost is singer-trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick, singer-songwriter and guitarist Michael Berg, guitarist Grant Tye, drummer Greg Marsh and bassist Klem Hayes. Each of these relatively new bands (though both are staffed by veterans) has a debut album and a strong performing reputation.
Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Phone 462-9033 or visit www.bayoucafe.com.
Half a generation older than their fellow New Orleans players The Revivalists, the Joe Krown Trio features Krown (organ, with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown for years, until Gate’s death), Walter “Wolfman” Washington (guitar and vocals, with Johnny Adams, until Adams’ death) and Russell Batiste (drums and vocals, now also with the Funky Meters and Porter Batiste Stoltz). They tear it up night after night in Big Easy bars — and at Jazz Fest where they nailed it in a big way this May, despite their daylight-in-the-rain slot. Show time for the Joe Krown Trio is Saturday at 8 p.m. at Red Square. Admission is $12 in advance, $15 on Saturday. The Sunny Side of the Street Band opens. Phone 465-0444 or visit www.redsquarealbany.com.
These days the Nields are usually sisters Nerissa and Katryna Nields, without the band on their previous tours and albums. They’ll sing on Saturday at the Eighth Step Underground at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady) as a duo, but their new album “The Full Catastrophe” (their 16th) features guest players. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Admission is $22 in advance, $24 at the door. Phone 346-6204 or visit www.proctors.org.
Arlo at The Egg
Folksinger Arlo Guthrie sings at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., celebrating the centennial of his late, great father Woody with “Here Comes the Kid,” a new presentation of songs we love and stories we may not have heard before. He has about a million of them, and some may feature his late wife, Jackie, who died Oct. 14 at 68. They had been married 43 years and raised a family of musicians.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at firstname.lastname@example.org.