8

Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, Saratoga Springs, NY, June 29-30, 2013

R.J. DeLuke By

Sign in to view read count
The baritone sax stalwart Gary Smulyan played his typical set—typically outstanding—searing through the jazz mainstream with Mike LeDonne on the Hammond organ, Paul Bollenback on guitar and Joe Farnsworth on drums. He never fails to please. Another guy who's also showing he never fails when he gets a chance to get his own group on the stage, is bassist Ben Williams. He's one of the great young bassists on the entire scene, and as such keeps quite busy. But his Sound Affects group does everything from swing to groove. The rhythm pocket is so solid, it must be a great ride for all the soloists, which included Matt Stevens, the guitarist who's known for his work with Christian Scott. Stevens may not be as well known as some of his colleagues, but don't go to sleep on him. He's a guitar slinger and played his butt off.



Pianist Fabian Almazan is a fiendish pianist who's been plying his trade with the Terrence Blanchard band, interacting with cats like the great drummer Kendrick Scott. He played a set with some equally fine representatives of the younger age group in jazz, the wonderful Rudy Royston on drums and the strong and flexible Linda May Han Oh on the bass. They played great together, interpreting some very cool music from the pen of Almazan.

A bit disappointing was the Chris Bergson band led by a guitarist who had spent time with Levon Helm, and whose band played some good blues, but somehow seemed underwhelming. Good voice, nice guitar, not much pizzazz from the bandstand. For example, Chris O'Leary a singer and harmonica player who cut his teeth with Helm, was a blessing to the roofing industry in Saratoga a few weeks prior when he played three sets of high-voltage, fun stuff that tore the lid off and left the town shaking. Same lineage, different effect. Singer Brianna Thomas had a strong voice and a good band, but she relied too much on power and detracted from sections of her songs. Good and, good choices. Perhaps more seasoning will do the trick.

The 2013 edition of the Saratoga Jazz Festival will be hard to top, but the anticipation will have people looking forward to The Hang.

Photo Credit: Richard Conde

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017 Live Reviews Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 17, 2017
Read AJAZZGO Festival in Cali, Colombia Live Reviews AJAZZGO Festival in Cali, Colombia
by Mark Holston
Published: October 13, 2017
Read CEO Experiment With Kurt Rosenwinkel at The Sugar Club Live Reviews CEO Experiment With Kurt Rosenwinkel at The Sugar Club
by Ian Patterson
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Steve Winwood at the Space at Westbury" Live Reviews Steve Winwood at the Space at Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "WAR with Malo At Stern Grove" Live Reviews WAR with Malo At Stern Grove
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Vossajazz 2017" Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.