The three pianists of Trifecta opened a roomful of ears last Thursday in Jazz at the Spring (See REARVIEW); this week also brings surprising attractions including a guitarist of menacing mien, a piano duo and a rock re-Root — all three at the Van Dyck — a film/music mash-up at Skidmore and an eloquent turn to rock optimism at the Hangar.
MORE VAN DYCK ANNIVERSARY
The Van Dyck’s (237 Union St., Schenectady) Anniversary rocks on.
Tonight, Popa Chubby rocks the blues. Fierce-looking as a Pirate of the Caribbean, wide as Derwin “Big D” Perkins, he’s New York as Lou Reed, outside as Jimi Hendrix. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. $22. 518-348-7999 www.vandycklounge.com.
The music moves outdoors Friday with Dueling Pianos and Saturday with Uprooted. Dueling Pianos (usually two keyboards and a drummer) plays all-request, singalong parties. 7 p.m. on the brewhouse patio. Suggested donation is $10.
With Rusted Root on hiatus, leader and main songwriter Michael Glabicki formed Uprooted: Zil Fessler, drums; Dirk Miller, guitar; Bobby Schneck Jr., bass; Daisie Ghost Flower, keyboards; and Emily Victoria, guitar.“When Uprooted plays, we do about three-quarters re-envisioned Rusted Root material and then I do about a quarter of the new material I’m working on in the studio,” Glabicki told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “…more improvisational … more groove-oriented.” Richie Ortiz opens. 5 p.m. $15.
MUSIC/FILM AT SKIDMORE
Hoboken indie-rockers Yo La Tengo play live with Sam Green’s film “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller” tonight in Skidmore’s John B. Moore Documentary Studies (MDOCS) forum at the Zankel Music Center (615 Broadway, Saratoga Springs).
“Made in Hoboken, their songs sounded like Cowboy Junkies playing Talking Heads tunes, like Michael Franks fronting the Velvet Underground, like Wussy after chilling on a beach for years, all in a very good way,” I wrote of their September 2015 show at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. 8 p.m. $25. 518-580-5321 www.skidmore.edu. This mixed media show is part of the MDOCS five-week Storytellers’ Institute — this year’s theme: “Humor: Laughing With Reality.”
BOTTLE ROCKETS TONIGHT AT THE HANGAR
St. Louis roots-rock quartet the Bottle Rockets play tonight at the Hangar (675 River St., Troy). They filter a realist/optimist yin/yang through everyman bedrock authenticity — Crazy Horse channeling Woody? — on their new “Bit Logic” album (their 13th). Noting the need to fight widespread depression and anger, main writer/singer Brian Henneman says, “These songs are views from the moments when you’re mostly succeeding at it.”
Henneman sees the band as “reporters from the heartland,” but Brooklyn’s Eric “Roscoe” Ambel produced “Bit Logic.” Other Rockets: Mark Ortmann, drums; John Horton, guitar; Keith Voegele, bass. Sarah Borges opens. 8 p.m. $20. 518-272-9740 www.thehangaronthehudson.com.
GAUDET’S TALL TALES
On Friday, singer-songwriter Jim Gaudet introduces new songs from his album “Real Stories & Other Tall Tales” at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs).
The Albany troubadour played solo for years in area coffeehouses and clubs before forming his Railroad Boys powerhouse acoustic band to play “hillbilly rock & roll.” He went home and back to basics on “Real Stories & Other Tall Tales,” reclaiming tunes he’d written over time but which hadn’t made it into Railroad Boys’ setlists.
He recorded these tall tales in his childhood bedroom with a small crew of friends and production by Greg Anderson on portable gear. “It was in this room that I first heard Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice’ along with so many other magical musical discoveries,” he wrote in the CD booklet, recalling late night radio from as far away as Indiana and West Virginia.
Gaudet originally planned to sing Friday in a duo with fiddler Sara Milonovich, but when she had to bow out; Gaudet regrouped and will play with Railroad Boys stalwarts Sten Isachsen, mandolin; and Bobby Ristau, bass; plus pianist Rich Pagano. Gaudet dedicates the album to the memory of Caroline “MotherJudge” Isachsen (Sten Isachsen’s late wife) and Greg Haymes (also departed, a master of many arts), and he cautions in the CD booklet: “The stories you are about to hear are REAL STORIES, not to be confused with the truth.” The full Railroad Boys crew last played the Caffe February 24, 2018. 8 p.m. $20 advance, $22 door, $10 students and children. 518-583-0022 www.caffelena.org.
We had to look and listen sharp as pianists Wayne Hawkins, Rob Lindquist and David Gleason teamed up last Thursday as Trifecta at Jazz at the Spring, as if Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett lugged keyboards onto a carousel and spun into song in whirling ear-glimpses as they sped past.
Or was it Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson and Joe Zawinul?
Jimmy Smith, Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson?
Opening in a packed house with “Just in Time,” Hawkins went cerebral, Lindquist lyrical and Gleason fiery. Next, in “Maiden Voyage,” they shifted style-roles as sorting out who played what became increasingly futile and unnecessary. They evolved dynamically, playing as multi-faceted individuals, exploring together.
With no drummer or bass player in sight, electronics filled in the blanks. Hawkins and Gleason glided low most often, first in Lindquist’s “Waltz for Nick” (Brignola, natch) that swung robustly with beefy bass. Lindquist charmed alone in “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” a nervy move considering how completely Fred Hersch owns that these days (on “Alone at the Village Vanguard.”) Jazz at the Spring impresario Mark Kleinhaut announced that Hersch plays Caffe Lena Friday, June 28, intro’ing Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival Saturday and Sunday.
Hawkins led everybody south in tight formation with a breezy Brazilian bossa, all playful handoffs, zippy glissandos and helpful decoration. They tag-teamed three Monk tunes in “Three Head Blues” — Gleason romping through “Straight No Chaser,” Hawkins organ-izing “Blue Monk” and Lindquist knocking “Mysterioso” out of the park.
Similar variety, velocity, veracity and voracious riff zip popped in the second set. Gleason rocked the playful swing of his own Oscar Peterson tribute “Oh, Please,” Hawkins went church-y on sanctified organ riffs in Lindquist’s “Life Worth Living,” a gospel blues with no solemnity in sight. Gleason’s Lee Shaw tribute contrasted his purest, prettiest piano tones against Hawkins’s acoustic guitar synth runs as Lindquist dropped basslines under his own Chick Corea-like lead before Gleason guided things home. Bud Powell’s “Crazy Rhythm” mixed angular bebop zigs with stop-and-go zags and busy chord swapping to exuberant effect in closing, an exciting synthesis of cerebral tune-crafting/owning with plenty of fun in fellowship.