Nipper’s News: Michael Benedict & Bopitude, Bailiwick, Aficionado……

Jazz drummer-bandleader Michael Benedict isn’t wasting any time. Bopitude’s debut album was released in June, and it’s been popping up on a number of Best-of-the-Year lists. Last week, however, Benedict and the rest of the band – bassist Mike Lawrence, tenor saxman Brian Patneaude, trumpeter Chris Pasin and pianist Bruce Barth – were back at Cotton Hill Studios in Albany to record their sophomore album. And for this one, they brought along super baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan, winner of Downbeat magazine’s 2011 critics’ poll as Best Baritone Saxophonist. Benedict describes the upcoming album as “hard bop at its best with a couple surprise arrangements by Bruce Barth, as well as two more Gary McFarland gems.” The album is slated for release in March on the Planet Arts label out of Catskill. Bopitude and special guest Smulyan will celebrate the album’s release with a hometown concert at the Greenville High School auditorium in Greenville at 7:30pm on Friday, April 6. In the meantime, you can catch Benedict at 74 State in Albany at 8pm on Saturday (January 7) as he slips out from behind the drums and over to the vibraphone to lead his other band, Michael Benedict Jazz Vibes.

Coming straight outta Saratoga Springs, the Skidmore College-based chamber-folk ensemble Bailiwick uncorked their sparkling debut full-lengther in the waning moments of 2011, which features both of their well-received singles – “Static” and “Blue Ribbon” – released earlier in the year… and lots more fine stuff. The self-titled album can be downloaded here for a name-your-own-price.

In support of their self-titled album on No Sleep Records, Albany’s Aficionado is currently in the midst of a European tour with End Of A Year and Self Defense Family. Over the course of the next two weeks, the band will be hitting Germany, Austria, Belgium and the UK before wrapping up their trans-Atlantic jaunt in Greece on Tuesday, January 17.

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