When Dave Lambert put down his clarinet to sing “Hello, Central, give me Dr. Jazz” Sunday in Proctors’ Robb Alley, the call connected in a big way.
The Schenectady-Amsterdam Musical Union presented the show as a free celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month with drummer Michael Benedict’s straight-ahead quintet Bopitude and the six-piece traditional jazz band Ragtime Windjammers. (More in REARVIEW below.)
Looking ahead, the Albany Musicians’ Association presents its own celebration this Sunday at the Colonie Elks Club (11 Elks Club Lane, Latham). It’s a big local lineup — 1:30 p.m.: Steel Pier Jazz Quartet; 2 p.m.: The Maggie MacDougall Quartet; 2:45 p.m.: Steel Pier Jazz Quartet; 3 p.m.: Trio Lingo; 4 p.m.: The Joe Finn Quartet; 4:45: presentation to Honor Hal Miller; 5 p.m.: The Phil Allen Concert Jazz Band. Allen closing the show is good news for fans missing this combustible big band since building repairs sidelined its monthly gig at the Renaissance. 1:30 p.m. Free, cash bar and snacks. 518-669-2163 www.albanymusiciansunion.com
We can get our jazz on starting tonight when our own saxophone colossus Leo Russo plays Jazz at the Spring (Spring Street Gallery, 110 Spring St., Saratoga Springs). Hitting hard or subtle, this no-drums-no-piano trio features Russo, tenor sax; Mike Novakowski, guitar; and Lou Smaldone, bass. They boast a deep songbook and the experienced chops to swing anything. 7:30 p.m. $15 advance, $20 door. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4076412
BAD news for jazz fans: At the same time, trumpeter Wallace Roney plays a few blocks away at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs). Roney’s quintet features Dominic Modeste, sax; Oscar Williams, piano; Curtis Lundy, bass; and Eric Allen, drums. Roney came up in the hard-bop style of Clifford Brown, but when Miles Davis mentored him, Roney added soul, funk and hip-hop influences. 7 p.m. $30 advance, $35 door, $17.50 students and children. Roney also presents a 4 p.m. master class. $10. 518-583-0022 www.caffelena.org
Also tonight, as if that weren’t conflict enough, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band plays opening night at the Skyloft in Crossgates (1 Crossgates Mall Road, Suite 200, Albany). Since the Allman Brothers unplugged their amps for the last time (Jaimoe, born Jai Johanny Johansen, and Dickey Betts are the last surviving founders), the Allmans’ drummer has led a tight jazz-rock fusion combo with a somewhat elastic lineup of guitar, bass, keyboard and horns that has played The Egg. Jaimoe’s handful of albums since 2008 includes “From the Roots to the Sky” co-starring bassist Joe Fonda and fusion luminaries from Italy and Finland. 8 p.m. $25 advance, $30 door. 518-869-5638 www.skyloftny.com
Traditional jazz (called “Dixieland” everywhere but New Orleans, where it started) was the first music I loved, so I was happy to see the Ragtime Windjammers Sunday at Proctors’ Robb Alley; happy also to see openers Bopitude hard-bop the place first.
Talented troopers, Bopitude revved up even before traffic-delayed Dylan Canterbury rushed in during the third number. “Billie’s Bounce” bounced indeed, as a tight trio number to open; Benedict’s drums, David Gleason’s piano and Mike Lawrence’s bass swinging this upbeat blues. Tenor saxophonist Brian Patneaude took over in the next number (“Invitation”?) before Canterbury arrived on a dead run, unpacking his gig bag with one hand while fingering his trumpet with the other on “Cheesecake.” Patneaude lent him his chart as Canterbury joined on the bandstand and contributed staccato scalar runs before Patneaude bopped it home; the band at full and impressive force.
Elmo Hope’s “Soul Nice,” Curtis Fuller’s “Ala Mode,” Freddy Hubbard’s “Crisis” and Kenny Dorham’s “Uno Mas” showed off the band’s sensitivity and swagger, Benedict directing traffic with emphatic blasts and rolls, everybody on their toes, following close and crisp. Canterbury more than made up for lost time.
Jazz fans note: saxophonist Harry Allen’s show Friday at The Egg with Benedict’s trio is canceled.
Loose, lively, leaning toward each other to cue solos, the Ragtime Windjammers reached back further than the ’50s and ’60s hard-bop Bopitude celebrated, conjuring a cozy antique show echoing the ’20s and ’30s.
Their openers, a spunky “At the Jazz Band Ball” and a mellow “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” set the tempos early in their set; later the aptly-named “Fidgety Feet,” pulse-racing “Avalon” and the melancholy “Blue Turning Gray Over You” went further into the energetic and the slow.
Everybody got solos, two Lamberts distinguishing themselves in the band’s easy swing. Father Dave Lambert sparkled on agile clarinet and trumpeter/son-leader Dave Lambert honored Louis Armstrong’s lighter-than-air delight. The younger Lambert solos some in Keith Pray’s modernist big band, but he seemed more at home leading such timeless tunes as “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” and “Tiger Rag.”
Took me right back to my parents’ 78s and “Dixieland Classics” by Pee Wee Hunt, first LP we ever had in our Guilderland home.
Patty Larkin has it all: powerful guitar, subtle and surging songs, a warm persuasive voice and the stage presence of a confident master. She plays Caffe Lena Saturday. 8 p.m. $25 advance, $28 door, $14 students and children
The Ronstadt Brothers play the Caffe Sunday. This Ronstadt generation mines a rich family tradition of borderlands music dating from 1840. 7 p.m. $18, $20, $10
Earlier, Eddie Award winner Garland Nelson leads the Caffe’s “A Joyful Noise! Gospel Concert.” 1 p.m. $18, $20, $10
WAMC’s The Linda (339 Central Ave., Albany) is busy this weekend, too.
The Rochmon Record Club Listening Party dives deep into Steely Dan’s “Aja” album tonight. 7:30 p.m. $10. 518-465-5233 www.thelinda.org
Friday, blues guitarist John Primer (a smash at the Upper Room in late 2017 and since) brings his Real Deal Blues Band to the Linda. Misty Blues opens. 8 p.m. $25 advance, $30 door
Wednesday, eight-string guitar/bass virtuoso Charlie Hunter plays The Linda with singer Lucy Woodward and a drummer TBA, previewing new tunes from an album due soon. Hunter has played the Parish Public House and other jam-inclined venues, usually venturing far past the jazz-rock frontier, while Woodward sings everything from straight-ahead pop to way-over-there jazz. $20 advance, $25 door
Frank Zappa launched his last-ever concert tour at Albany’s Palace Theatre (Feb. 2, 1988, if you’re scoring at home), so it makes some strange sort of sense that he “returns” Sunday in hologram form to the Palace (19 Clinton Ave. at North Pearl Street) with an all-star band (featuring Zappa alums) playing his complex and driving tunes in “The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa.” 8 p.m. $79.50, $69.50, $59.50, $44.50, $34.50. 800-745-3000 www.palacealbany.com
Country artists seldom play the Van Dyck, but Tony Lucca has more going for him than most Nashvillians. Supplier of songs to TV shows including “Parenthood,” “Felicity,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Brothers and Sisters”; third-place finisher on “The Voice”; and frequent visitor to Carson Daly’s house band, Lucca plays the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady) on Saturday. 8 p.m. $20. 518-346-7999 www.vandycklounge.com