They can see you, but you can’t see them.
The Brian Patneaude Quartet kicked off the new “Look Up” concert series on the balcony above Johnny’s restaurant in downtown Schenectady Monday evening.
The musicians’ heads poked out from under the balcony’s roof overlooking the dozen people sitting below on State Street, who were tilting their necks up to catch a look at the band.
“We’re having a blast playing for you up here,” Patneaude said after peeling his lips away from his saxophone’s mouthpiece. “I know you can’t really see us, but I can see your smiling faces down there.”
Patneaude is an adjunct professor at Schenectady County Community College. He teaches students what he plays best — the saxophone. He performed on the balcony with other members of the band who played bass, drums and keyboard.
People on State and Jay streets bopped their heads to the smooth jazz flowing its way from Patneaude’s saxophone. Meanwhile, waiters at Johnny’s talking with customers outside danced to the music while serving martinis.
The concert series will run every Monday in August from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. SCCC alumni Jeff Nania and Lecco Morris organized the event as a way to bring more music onto the city’s streets.
“I’m happy with how it turned out,” Nania said while watching the band play. “I’m hoping more people stop by as they drive by and see what’s going on. I’m looking to attract close to 100 people. If not this week, maybe next Monday.”
Other bands scheduled to play include No Hands (Aug. 11), Dylan Perrillo Orchestra (Aug. 18) and The Chronicles (Aug. 25). Nania and Morris are members of the band No Hands and all of the bands include people who attended SCCC.
Martha Asselin, SCCC’s acting president, stopped by to check out the concert halfway through the show. She looked up and smiled, taking photos with her phone while swaying to the music.
“I love it,” she said smiling.” This is so great. I could actually hear them from all the way down the street while I was driving up here.”
Several people walking on the sidewalk and even driving down State Street stopped to see where the jazz music was coming from. People in their cars honked their horns while driving by, waving in the direction the music was coming from.
“How’s everyone doing down there,” Patneaude asked after wrapping up a song. “I don’t think we have ever performed this far away from our audience before.”
Halfway through the concert, the band stopped to take a break, grateful to go inside SCCC’s second floor of Center City to feel the blast from the air conditioner after having the sun beaming down on their faces while playing.
“It’s different but we’re having fun playing up here,” Patneaude said. “It’s the most unique situation we have ever played in. We love this because we think there could never be too many events in the city.”
Will the Brian Patneaude Quartet play in next year’s “Look Up” concert series? Absolutely.
“I’m playing in Jazz on Jay in a couple of weeks,” Patneaude said. “But I can’t wait to get up here and play again.”