FEST: The Hudson Jazz Festival @ Hudson Hall This Weekend


Photograph of Sheila Jordan and Cameron Brown by Rudy Lu

It’s a bad news/good news situation for Greater Nippertown’s jazz fans this winter…

First the bad news – after three years of marvelous performances at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and the College of St. Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts, there will be no Bridge Jazz Festival this year. Hopefully, we might see a return in 2019.

And as for the good news – the inaugural Hudson Jazz Festival has sprung up to provide jazz fans with a serious dose of music. The fest takes place this weekend – Friday-Sunday, February 16-18 – at Hudson Hall’s historic 1855 theater, curated by notable Hudson-based jazz pianist Armen Donelian.

“I see this festival as a rare opportunity both to raise regional jazz awareness as well as to reward loyal jazz fans with a first-rate presentation”, says Donelian. “We are extremely proud to grace this first-rate venue with this exceptional lineup of world-class performers. Sit back and enjoy this cross-section of today’s amazing jazz talent, from emerging artists to established jazz masters.”

While some events are free, tickets for festival concerts start at $25. And a three-day, all-weekend pass (including priority seating) is also currently available for $90.

Here’s the complete schedule for the Hudson Jazz Festival this weekend:

7pm: SOUNDS FROM THE SILK ROAD: The Ara Dinkjian Quartet with Armen Donelian
The festival kicks off with the entrancing sounds of the Ara Dinkjian Quartet with , an instrumental collaboration rooted in Turkish, Armenian and Macedonian Roma music headed by world-renowned oud player Ara Dinkjian. Festival curator and notable jazz pianist Armen Donelian supports the quartet with a solo performance of Armenian-inspired selections from his EP, Songs Of My Ancestors.

3pm: PIANO SUMMIT: JoAnne Brackeen, James Francies and Aaron Goldberg
For lovers of jazz piano, a rare chance to hear three great musicians in one afternoon. 2018 NEA Jazz Master JoAnne Brackeen hits the keys with young lion James Francies and “post-bop pianist of exemplary taste and range” (The New York Times) Aaron Goldberg.

5pm: SCREENING: “Thomas Chapin, Night Bird Song”
Stephanie Castillo’s award-winning 2016 documentary draws an intimate portrait of saxophonist Thomas Chapin, who was on his way to becoming one of the country’s greatest jazz talents when leukemia claimed him at the age of 40. Followed by a post-screening Q&A with Armen Donelian.

7pm: TAKE TWO: Sheila Jordan and Dominique Eade
The legendary Charlie Parker often introduced vocalist Sheila Jordan as “the singer with the million dollar ears” – and she’s got a priceless voice to match. She’ll be joined by her longtime accompanist Cameron Brown on Bass. Jordan shares the stage with the “impossibly versatile” (New York Times Magazine) vocalist, composer, lyricist and instrumental arranger, Dominique Eade, accompanied by Armen Donelian.

11am: HUDSON JAZZ FESTIVAL WORKSHOP: Armen Donelian and Marc Mommaas
For intermediate-level middle-school age or higher
Pianist Armen Donelian and his fellow Hudson Jazzworks founder Marc Mommaas for a free, hands-on immersion in jazz improvisation and composition based on the curriculum and methods of the annual Hudson Jazz Workshop for intermediate-level middle-school age students or higher. To register, please fill out this PDF and send it to [email protected]

Led by multi-faceted guitarist, vocalist, composer, educator, musicologist and four-time NEA Jazz Performance Fellow Richard Boukas, Quarteto Moderno synergizes traditional Brazilian genres like samba and baião with a rich melodic and harmonic vocabulary drawn from contemporary jazz and chamber music. Formed in 2008, this innovative group – also featuring bassist Gustavo Amarente, woodwind player Lucas Pino and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli – offers fiery, spontaneous interactions driven by daring improvisations and perpetual rhythmic explorations.

A TASTE OF COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, June 8-10
MOUNTAIN JAM @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, June 15-17
CLEARWATER’S GREAT HUDSON RIVER REVIVAL @ Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson, June 16 & 17
OLD SONGS FESTIVAL OF TRADITIONAL MUSIC & DANCE, Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, June 22-24
FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, June 23 & 24
COUNTRYFEST @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs

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