Crikey! After horrible, hateful weeks, we need to cheer up. In other words, we’re damn lucky the subdudes play The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) tonight.
For 25 years, they’ve stirred up a deep, spicy pot of soul, blues, funk and rock ’n’ roll, starting in New Orleans as a subdued acoustic subset of beloved R&B crew Little Queenie and the Percolators. One of our very best bands, the subdudes are Tommy Malone, guitar and GREAT voice; John Magnie, keyboards and accordion; Steve Amedée, tambourine and other percussion; and Tim Cook, bass, replacing late, great founder Johnny Ray Allen. They all sing; in fact, they sing in the audience, without mics at times, to spellbinding effect. Singer/songwriter Vance Gilbert opens. 7:30 $34.50. 518-473-1845 www.theegg.org
LAST CALL: A PLACE FOR JAZZ
Clarinet and sax goddess Anat Cohen riffs down the curtain Friday at A Place for Jazz (Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady, 1221 Wendell Ave.); last show of a superb season with three women-led bands (of five). Israeli-born Cohen is an intrepid improviser, fearless/hyperlogical soloist, multiple top award winner and generous collaborator, sometimes with brothers Avishai and Yuval, sometimes with all-woman band ARTEMIS. The charismatic/virtuosic Cohen led a combustible big band, her Tentet, at SPAC in June. She fronts a quartet Friday: Gilad Hekselman, guitar; Or Bareket, bass; and Adam Cruz, drums. Lately she’s been reaching to Brazil for inspiration. 7:30 p.m. 518-393-4011 www.aplaceforjazz.org
Bassist Scott Petito assembled Woodstock musical neighbors into an all-star crew to honor Joni Mitchell Friday at the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady). Ailing in recent years, mid-70s Mitchell has produced classic songs across fearless folk, exploratory fusion, big-band jazz — even a guitar-and-drums duo. It’s a rich repertoire for Petito’s capable crew: singers Gail Ann Dorsey and Leslie Ritter; sax-man Jay Collins; percussionist Roberto Rodriguez; keyboardist Rachel Z; and versatile multiple instrumentalist Danny Blume. 7 and 9 p.m. $25 advance. 518- 348-7999 www.vandycklounge.com
ROAD TRIP TO THE STRAND
When jazz pianist/accordionist Dan Dobek phoned last week about his show Sunday at the Strand Theatre (210 Main St., Hudson Falls), I went up to see the place and found busy volunteers skillfully rehabbing the 1923 theater, buzzing around the 12-foot Steinway grand onstage. With two-dozen events through the end of the year, the venerable, cozy venue is humming. Twice hailed in Metroland as Best Jazz Pianist, Dobek will play with Christopher Garabedian, drums; Ray Jung, guitar; Sherry Walkup, vocals. 3:30 p.m. $15. 518-832-3484www.mystrandtheater.com
Tonight, Mile Twelve plays Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) after a terrific July show at Music Haven. Young, well trained and energetic, they’re guitarist Evan Murphy; banjoist Catherine Bowness; bassist Nate Sabat; and fiddler Bronwyn Keith-Hynes. 7 p.m. $18 advance, $20 door, $10 students and children. 518-583-0022 www.caffelena.org
Friday and Saturday, North Country troubadour Bob Warren leads his versatile band into the Caffe. Ready to play anything from jazz to musical theater, they’re Tony Markellis, bass; Matt Donnelly, keyboards; Danny Whelchel, drums; Don Warren, guitar; and Joy MacKenzie, vocals. Oona Grady and James Gascoyne open. 8 p.m. $20 advance, $22 door, $11 students and children
Sunday, Montreal combo Shtreiml wields similarly broad reach, from eastern European Klezmer to Turkish folk via jazz. Think the Flecktones rocking an Istanbul bar. Pianist/harmonica player Jason Rosenblatt leads a bluesy quartet: Rachel Lemisch, trombone; Thierry Arsenault, drums; Tevet Sela, sax and bass; and Nicolas Royer-Artuso, oud. 7 p.m. $20 advance, $22 door; $11 students and children
Election night (Tuesday, in case you’ve luckily missed 256,759 campaign ads), the Caffe presents the cheerful, jazzy zip of the Hot Club of Saratoga, and Ivan Pena. 8 p.m. $12 advance, $15 door, $7.50 students and children
On Saturday, local folk-rock heroes Betty and the Baby Boomers play the Eighth Step at The Addy (third floor, 432 State St., Schenectady). 7:30 p.m. $25 advance, $27 door, $40 front and center. 518-434-1703 www.eighthstep.org
The Art D’Echo Trio honored the exuberant drive of Oscar Peterson and the reflective lyricism of Bill Evans last Thursday in the Jazz at the Spring series at the packed Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs.
However, this trio — David Gleason, piano; Mike Lawrence, bass; Pete Sweeney, drums — also infused their playing with modern touches and, more importantly, a resonant autobiographical authenticity.
Their music worked as pure sound, crisply cohesive through mutually supportive hyperlistening sensitivity. And it connected at a level of shared feeling that invited the audience inside the songs. The step-lightly swing of Oscar Pettiford’s “Tricotism” eased the crowd into the show gently; later, Bud Powell’s “Bouncing With Bud” danced bebop-wise, Benny Golson’s “Whisper Not” was a proud exclamation of funk while Chick Corea’s “Armando’s Boogie” swung forcefully with Latin beats and block-chord energy to close the show on a high, happy note.
Many of the two-set show’s best tunes were Gleason originals, however. “Shoe Shop Blues” both celebrated family and mourned how the Empire State Plaza erased that family business. “Casa Di Siderno” also honored lost heritage, with a similar melancholy.
Best of all, Gleason applied formidable ingenuity to clever deconstructions of classics. His “Oh, Please” sprang from Peterson’s “One O’Clock in the Morning” on wings of awe. He told us he exclaims “Oh, Please!” when he hears Peterson play something impossible, and his version’s rollicking energy was a big smile. Gleason handed off solos generously, both Lawrence and Sweeney muscling up when cued. But for all their balance in the groove, this was mostly Gleason’s show. He led most tunes with exposed intros, soloed hot or sweet; and the questing musical intelligence shaping the original compositions and reshaping the classics, that was his.
Gleason led the Art D’Echo Trio in Keith Pray’s serene waltz “A Mending with Time” last Thursday, and Gleason plays Tuesday, election night, at the Van Dyck with Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble. 8 p.m. Tip jar. 518-348-7999 www.vandycklounge.com
The past horrific week got personal for me: Longtime NRBQ stage tech John John Burke, jazz saxophonist Sonny Fortune and Ntozake Shange died.
Fortune played all the saxes, a solid journeyman who worked somewhat in the shadow of John Coltrane, mainly in bands of Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner, drummer and pianist, respectively, in ’Trane’s great quartet. Fortune played with joyful fire and confident force.
Playwright Shange wrote “For Black Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” a landmark proto-feminist play on race and gender.
I admired Fortune and Shange, but I really liked John John Burke, a steady, sweet and extremelyh capable stage tech who worked with NRBQ for 25 years and a similar duration with the J. Geils Band, ex-J.Geils singer Peter Wolf and other rockers.
John John was a good guy I’ve seen at 100-plus shows. Before many of them, when I’d show up early, he’d let me in to watch sound check, which he would start by personally tuning and playing, with skill, a bit on every instrument in the band. Later, he’d take me backstage for after-show hangs.
When John John showed up without a ticket to a Ryan Adams (he was a BIG fan!) show at The Egg in Albany a few years back, I took him to Peter Lesser, The Egg’s impresario, and explained the situation. Peter handed John John a ticket to a good seat in a sold-out show. I’m happy to honor both those guys here.
COUNTRY AND EAST-ERN
Fresh country face and big voice Anderson East plays The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) on Tuesday. The Alabama-born preacher’s grand-kid has released four albums, with his 2009 debut “Closing Credits for a Fire” under his birth name, Mike Anderson. “Flowers of the Broken Hearted” combines a Nashville hard-country CD and an LA rock CD. Nashville’s New Respects open: three siblings and a cousin who recently opened for Robert Randolph and the Family Band. They began as an acoustic quartet but now proudly rock. 8 p.m. $30, $20. 518-473-1845 www.theegg.org