Getting 2017 off to a good start with the New York Jazzharmonic Trad-Jazz Sextet

New York Jazzharmonic Trad-Jazz Sextet at Union Arts Center, Sparkill, New York, on Jan. 6, 2017. (Photo © 2017. Steven P. Marsh/

New York Jazzharmonic Trad-Jazz Sextet at Union Arts Center, Sparkill, New York, on Jan. 6, 2017. (Photo © 2017. Steven P. Marsh/

In reflecting on my concert-going of 2016 and looking at what’s already on the docket for 2017, I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that I should be keeping  list of the concerts, shows, and other performing arts events I attend.

It’s not that I haven’t thought about this before. I used to dismiss it because I take photos at most shows and keep my tickets stubs, or what pass for stubs. But in the past year or so, more and more venues, at least in the rock world, are opting for total will call operations.

Granted, there’s usually a receipt generated for each faux ticket purchase, but a receipt is a poor substitute for a ticket in the scrapbook — even if, as in my case, it’s a shoebox with scrapbook aspirations.

So my logging begins in earnest in 2017, and kicked off Friday night with Rocklander Ron Wasserman’s New York Jazzharmonic Trad-Jazz Sextet in an uplifting, well-played program of early jazz at the Union Arts Center in Sparkill, New York. It was a marked contrast to my last show of 2016, a Brooklyn New Year’s Eve bash featuring Guided By Voices.

The tight band started with Scott Joplin rags and wandered through the first quarter of the last century — throwing in a couple of Wasserman originals that lovingly captured the spirit and sonic landscape of that bygone era without sounding like slavish imitations.

The band played without amplification — though microphones were present to record the performance for an upcoming album — and quickly captured the attention of the crowded house with toe-tapping rags, a bit of early swing, and even a little audience participation.

In addition to Wasserman on bass, the sextet included Jay Rattman on  sax/clarinet, Corey A. Wallace on trombone, Joseph Boga on  trumpet, Billy Test on piano, and Jay Sawyer on drums.

The sextet is a more portable subset of New York Jazzharmonic, the 17-piece big band that New City resident Wasserman founded  two years ago. That ensemble — with the full lineup and in subsets like trios — plays regularly at Symphony Space in Manhattan.




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