We can measure how much summer is left by counting shows. SPAC once closed before Labor Day, until Herb Chesbrough stretched the season for a Prince show that didn’t happen. Now, SPAC lists five shows after Labor Day and some warm-season festivals remain. Alive at Five and the Empire State Plaza’s Capital Concert Series have closed. Music Haven has just one show left, Jazz on Jay has two and Freedom Park four.
Today, Trio Lingo plays Jazz on Jay, a classic-style piano trio of regional jazz stars: Linda Brown, bass; Wayne Hawkins, piano; and Bill Jensen, drums. Noon. Free. Rain Site: Robb Alley at Proctors
Tonight, the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra joins forces with the Philadelphia Orchestra onstage at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center, routes 9 and 50) in the Swing Symphony of trumpeter and Jazz at Lincoln Center impresario Wynton Marsalis. He calls this, his third orchestral opus, “a symphonic meditation on the evolution of swing.”
Marsalis’ vivid remarks in Ken Burns’ “Jazz” PBS series reveal lucid scholarly depth, and he played with the New Orleans Philharmonic at 14. But “meditation” suggests a more academic, cerebral examination than the swinging way this construction will likely feel in the skilled hands of the 15 virtuoso players in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The program begins with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra playing music of Duke Ellington. 8 p.m. $113, $105, $95, $85, $75, $65, $55, $45 inside; lawn $35.00. 518-584-9330 www.spac.org
Afterward, at 10 p.m. tonight, pianist Chuck Lamb stars in “Live at the Jazz Bar” in the Hall of Springs.
On Saturday, Alex Torres brings His Latin Orchestra to Freedom Park (5 Schonowee Ave., Scotia). A tremendously fun hybrid band, this Orchestra jazzes up Latin Caribbean dance tunes. 7 p.m. Free. 518-312-8646 www.freedomparkscotia.com
Sunday at Music Haven (Central Park, Schenectady), two Afro-pop bands from the Democratic Republic of Congo close the season. Jupiter & Okwess headline, Nkumu Isaac Katalay opens. Son of a diplomat, Jean-Pierre Bokondji, aka Jupiter, grew up in Germany listening to American soul, jazz and R&B before returning to Kinshasha to blend the hometown rumba style with American imports. A New York resident since 1996, Katalay also hybridizes rumba with American sounds and ideas. 7 p.m. Free. Rain site: Niskayuna High School auditorium. www.musichavenstage.org
Multi-EVERYTHING folk veteran Judy Collins (a Grammy and four other nominations, an Academy Award nomination, a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award, a Library of Congress National Recording Registry selection) plays three shows at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) Saturday and Sunday; all are sold out.
The Caffe also offers top attractions Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys tonight and Bill Staines Friday. Gaudet and the Boys recently introduced his solo album at the Caffe; they play tonight to benefit Hope Soars, supporting Parkinson’s research and treatment. 8 p.m. $25. 518-583-0022 www.caffelena.org
A Caffe fave for 50 years, Staines has toured nearly 2 million miles; a road-dog supreme, and troubadour just as supreme. 8 p.m. $20 advance, $22 door, $11 students and children
Collins isn’t the only folk giant playing here this weekend. On Sunday, The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) presents Janis Ian and Livingston Taylor. Ian burst on the scene “At Seventeen” with songs of brilliant, brave candor, continuously adding to a songbook bulging with those same strengths. Taylor has some famous musical siblings but makes his own mark in understated, often humorous fashion. 7:30 p.m. $45. 518-473-1845 www.theegg.org
Paid by the note at Music Haven Sunday, Cimarron from Colombia and Sten & Maria Z from right here would bankrupt a small nation.
Playing almost faster than we could listen, both bands celebrated diversity in dazzling transcontinental string-band zip. Cimarron’s Anya Vedo sang or spoke only in Spanish.
They easily bridged the language gap (though the crowd included many Spanish speakers whose homey shout-outs charmed the band) with sheer show-biz pizzazz. They amazed in a can-you-top-this cajon duet-duel, dizzying dance breaks, solos that seemed to seed the sky with stars. Pulsing poly-rhythms shifted and scrambled every few nearly frantic bars; dense beats that would challenge most jazz bands.
Behind Vedo, flying-fingered harpist Carlos Rojas led a young, cowboy-hatted crew of hugely infectious energy in music whose restless rhythm changes and virtuoso skill hypnotized the crowd.
Their dance-y complex riffing felt beefy but brisk. Percussion (mostly cajon, with cymbals and a big tom played with kick-pedal below and sticks above) meshed with resonant tones of a sci-fi bass. Spread on top — chocolate sauce of low notes, melodic whipped cream of lightning treble runs — wove four-string guitar, mandola or 12-string, plus occasional sprinkles of hand percussion.
Fans who usually dance at Music Haven stood in feet-anchored awe; in fact, more folks danced to openers Sten and Maria Z, weaving their own dazzle. Their main language was flamenco, fiery finger-picked lead runs or emphatic rhythm chops with fingernail backs. But they went all jazzy-bluegrass when Sten set aside his seven-string guitar to flat-pick mandolin. They played tributes to John Hartford, Italian tarantella, the Hudson River, Augustine Barrios, their friendship; sounding at times like J.S. Bach playing “Name That Tune” with Luiz Bonfa or Bill Monroe in some happy honky-tonk of our dreams.