Category Archives: Jazz

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/willyoumissme.com)

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

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.

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Ron Wasserman builds his big-band dreams on a classical bass

Ron Wasserman, front left, with the New York Jazzharmonic. (Mihyun Kang)

Ron Wasserman, front left, with the New York Jazzharmonic. (Photo by Mihyun Kang)

This article was first published on NyackNewsandViews.com. GO HERE to read it in its original form.

By Steven P. Marsh

Ron Wasserman fell in love with the seductive syncopations and improvisations of jazz as a young musician, but the relationship faded and he abandoned tiny, smoky jazz clubs in favor of the New York State Theater in 1988, when he landed a permanent job playing double bass in the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

Nearly three decades later, sparks are flying again between the 54-year-old musician and his youthful obsession: He started a 17-piece big band, the New York Jazzharmonic, last year, and is presenting its next concert, featuring famed violinist Lara St. John and tango artist J.P. Jofre, this Sunday at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in Manhattan.

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Riding in The General took Tom Wopat far beyond Hazzard County

Tom Wopat brings his vast songbook to Rockwells in Pelham, N.Y., on Friday night. (Handout photo)

Tom Wopat brings his vast songbook to Rockwells in Pelham, N.Y., on Friday night. (Handout photo)

‘Dukes of Hazzard’ star will show off his vocal chops at Rockwells in Pelham Friday night, May 9

It’s difficult to hear Tom Wopat’s name without thinking of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the hit TV show that made the dark-haired Wisconsin native and his blond co-star John Schneider pin-up boys for teens for years.

Find out what Wopat’s has to say about his days in The General and where his career has taken him since then in my interview with him for The Journal News/lohud.com. Check it out online now by tapping or clicking here. To see it in print, pick up a copy of The Journal News on Friday.

Jen Chapin brings her warm, wonderful sound to Piermont’s Turning Point

Jen Chapin

Jen Chapin

You might think that Jen Chapin simply had no choice but to become a musician.

More than most American families, hers was full of musicians.

While her dad, the late Harry Chapin, may today be the best known of the lot, he was just one of many. Harry and his brothers, Tom and Steve, performed as the Chapin Brothers long before Harry found his breakout fame as a singer and writer of songs like the enduring “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Tom Chapin remains a regular performer and the Steve Chapin Band still plays from time to time as well. (Tom’s daughters Abigail and Lily perform as The Chapin Sisters.) And her grandfather, Jim Chapin, was a big-band drummer. Continue reading

Dave Van Ronk gets his long overdue time in the spotlight

Terri Thal and Dave Van Ronk at their home at 190 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, in August 1963 (Photo by Ann Charters, courtesy Terri Thal)

Terri Thal and Dave Van Ronk at their home at 190 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, in August 1963 (Photo by Ann Charters, courtesy Terri Thal)

Moviemakers Joel and Ethan Coen have gone to great lengths to let us know that their new movie, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” is not about Greenwich Village folksinger Dave Van Ronk.

The movie, which has been making the rounds of film festivals throughout the year and started playing in major cities a couple of weeks ago, opens nationwide  this Friday.

LEARN MORE about the real Dave Van Ronk

Terri Thal (© Martus Granirer 2013)

Terri Thal (© Martus Granirer 2013)



Check out the interview with Terri Thal I wrote for The Journal News.  Thal, a Rockland County woman who was married to him during the period covered in the film, and don’t miss her first-person account for the Village Voice.  And read Van Ronk’s memoir, “The Mayor of MacDougal Street.”





Yes, Llewyn Davis, as played wonderfully by actor and talented singer Oscar Isaac, affects a Van Ronk look of sorts with his facial hair. And yes, many people, me included, took to calling the flick in early days the “Dave Van Ronk movie.” (That probably was before it had gotten a formal title.) Continue reading

New collection skims the cream of Caffè Lena’s rich musical history

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Live At Caffè Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013 is slated for release on Sept. 24.

A review of Live At Caffè Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013, with buying and streaming links after the jump

I’ve always meant to visit the legendary Caffè Lena, the tiny coffeehouse at 47 Phila Street in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Devonsquare, the sweet-harmonizing folk-rock trio, first piqued my curiosity about Lena and Bill Spencer’s cafe (or caffè, as they dubbed it, using two f’s) with their song “Caffè Lena” on the  1987 album Walking on Ice.

Caffè Lena was a place of mythical proportions to me then. For one reason or another, I never found myself in Saratoga Springs.

After all, I live close to The Turning Point in Piermont, N.Y., a music cafe that is, while 16 years younger than Caffè Lena, has a similar mission and musical profile.

And then there was the Towne Crier in Pawling, N.Y.,  from 1972 until closing in June with plans to reopen soon in Beacon. That gave me a backup option just a bit farther afield than The Turning Point.

So  I never got myself motivated sufficiently to make the trek to Saratoga Springs.

I should have known I was missing out. And now the Tompkins Square record label has  shoved into my face some very real evidence of exactly how much I’ve missed. Continue reading

Stew stirs things up with fantastic new songs at Barbès

The hat was more crumpled at Barbès on July 25, but Stew's energy was at a peak. (Photo © 2012, Steven P.  Marsh)

The hat was more crumpled than this at Barbès on July 25 and Stew’s energy level seemed higher than usual. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

By the time his latest gig in his musical living room (aka Park Slope, Brooklyn, boîte Barbès) rolled around Thursday night, July 25, singer-songwriter and Tony Award winner Stew had dumped his original staged plan to play versions of his songs from Passing Strange and other numbers from his extensive repertoire.

Instead, he launched into a tight song cycle “inspired by recent events.” In other words, songs about George Zimmerman and the Trayvon Martin case. If yoy don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s time to get out from under that rock where you’ve been living and catch up on the news!

If you’re a Passing Strange fan who passed on the show for one reason or another and are thinking now that this make you feel OK about missing, hold that thought. I’m here to tell you differently. Continue reading