Tunes for tipplers, vino for vocalists

Russ Tarby, Staff Writer 04/17/08More articles
For those who enjoy a tipple with their tunes, here’s some very tasty news:
Beer and wine are now available at Sophistications, the new jazz club located downtown in the Galleries of Syracuse.

Amherst recording artist Nancy Kelly is singin’ and swingin’ there from 8 to 11 p.m. every Saturday night through April. Now her audiences can enjoy a glass of vino with her vocals.

Operated by husband-and-wife Ken and Quontina Hill, Sophistications is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner is served Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Admission costs $10 when there’s live music on Friday and Saturday nights. A student open mic is slated for 7 to 11 p.m. on Thursdays.

The Galleries of Syracuse are at 441 S. Salina St. For info, call Sophistications at 372-0970.

Sleight of hand
Now you see it. And now you don’t.
But tell Wade that you saw it here first.
Wade Live will perform close-up magic from 9 p.m. to midnight every Thursday in the intimate setting of the Coffee Pavilion, 111 E. Water St., in Hanover Square, starting tonight, April 17.

Wade promises magic, mind-reading, illusions and enough comedy that “you’ll laugh your face off.” For info about the magician, visit wadelive.com.

The Coffee Pavilion has also resurrected its Friday night jazz jam sessions, from 8 to 11 p.m. On April 11, musicians from the Onondaga Community College Jazz Ensemble welcomed all manner of sitter-inners, from school kids to old Dixielanders.

To call the Coffee Pavilion, dial 422-4040.

Fiddlers’ Fling downtown
The New York State Old Time Fiddler’s Association Spring Fling is an indoor event that couldn’t be more informal. Old friends reacquaint themselves while greeting new friends who also cherish fiddle tunes. Musicians of all ilk flock to the stage.

The sound is country. The time is old. And the tradition continues.

Last year the flung out in Mattydale, but this year the fling flips downtown to the Syracuse Center 4 the Arts, 728 E. Genesee St., just west of Syracuse Stage (hint: there’s free parking behind the arts center and its affiliated credit union building).

An open fiddlers’ jam session complete with rhythm sections starts at 8 p.m. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. For Center 4 the Arts, dial 436-5541.
The old-time action continues with more jamming from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday April 19, broken up at 3 p.m. by the trio SueLynnJess. The threesome includes fiddler Susan Barrington of Cato, President of the Oswego Valley Fiddlers, Lynn Scoles, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Oswego, and guitarist Jessie Gotham of Camden.

Festivities will resume at 8 p.m. Saturday with a contra dance at the United Church of Fayetteville, 310 E .Genesee St. in Fayetteville. Fiddlers from the afternoon will join forces with the Syracuse Country Dancers and musicians George Wilson and Tom Hodgson for an evening of contra, square and round dancing with open mike for musicians and callers. Admission to the dance costs $7.

A call to arms
One of Syracuse’s top folk musicians, guitarist Harvey Nusbaum, really enjoyed hearing former NYS Fiddle Champ Hal Casey at last year’s fling.

“Oh, I was thrilled to hear the real old-time fiddle sound from the club members,” Nusbaum wrote in an e-mail. “Most familiar to me is Hal Casey. His playing is so authentic you can smell the sawdust on the dance room floor. And I heard Boots‘n’Shorts, a band of college-age folks that plays lots of fiddle-based music. And, my own duo, Joe and Harvey showed off by playing a whole bunch of styles, Celtic to American old-time to ragtime and jazz.”

Nusbaum points out that too many of us remain in our own little worlds, musically as well as personally.

“Why this event hasn’t already evolved to be the place to meet for all the normally separate playing circles isn’t clear to me,” he wrote. “The Spring Fling is the best place for all us people interested in fiddling to meet and hang out.”

With that goal in mind, Nusbaum blasted a mass-e-mail to all his banjo and guitar students, fiddling friends and the entire Syracuse Irish Session mailing list. Here’s hoping for a large and diverse turnout.

Road gig
The CNY Blues Orchestra with guitarist Mark Hoffmann took to the road for an April 12 concert in Nyack with brassman Tom “Bones” Malone. The local boys joined Malone to play the greatest hits from the Blues Brothers movies and more at the historic Riverspace Arts, on Main Street, in Nyack.

Road gigs and radio play
Los Blancos just came off a rollicking road trip which took them as far away as Vermont and Tennessee. Now they’re celebrating another artistic outreach.

The band’s cover of R.L. Burnside’s salacious “Biscuit Roller,” from Los Blancos’ most recent disc, “Just This Once,” is being played on the syndicated radio program, “Blues Deluxe.”

“The show is presently celebrating its 21st birthday, and it’s huge,” exclaimed Blanco keyboardist Mark Nanni. “It’s played on over 100 stations nationwide with a listenership of more than two million.”

The local boys, also including bassist Steve Winston, drummer Mark Tiffault and guitarist Colin Aberdeen, find themselves in some pretty heady company on the “Blues Deluxe” playlist, groups such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Rolling Stones and The Animals. Tune in online at: bluesdeluxe.com/.

White hot Los Blancos have a heavy schedule this weekend starting at 10 p.m. Friday April 18 at The Shire on Erie Boulevard East; followed by Shifty’s at 10 p.m. Saturday April 19; and finishing with brunch at Empire Brewing Co., in Armory Square, at 12:30 p.m. Sunday April 20. Whew!

Metro music
Mark Nanni plays with his jazz-oriented combo, The Intention, performing mostly originals at 9 p.m. Thursday April 17, at Metro Lounge and Sushi Bar, 505 Westcott St., on the East Side. Admission is free; 428-0815.

The Gonstermachers blend eerie originals and blues standards using odd instrumentations at Metro at 10 p.m. Friday April 18.

Next week, Los Blancos makes the Metro scene at 10 p.m. April 25.

Blues with Iroquois roots
If they didn’t win a Native-American Music Award, joked Corn-Bred bandleader Jerome Lazore, the five Central New York musicians planned to jump in a canoe and ride over Niagara Falls.

No need for such drama. The blues quintet won the 2007 Nammy for Best Blues Recording last fall at the ninth annual Native-American Music Awards staged at the Seneca-Niagara Casino and Hotel in Niagara Falls.

The winning disc, which topped five other nominees from across the hemisphere, is Corn-Bred’s self-titled CD on the Syracuse-based Hondo Mesa label.

Free concert Sunday
Corn-Bred brings their blend of blues and Iroquois roots to the Liverpool Public Library at 2 p.m. Sunday April 20.

The concert in the Carman Community is the last of three concerts in the library’s Folk Music Series supported by a grant from state Sen. John DeFrancisco administered through the Onondaga County Public Library and hosted by the Friends of LPL. Admission is free; 457-0310.

Sunday’s concertgoers can expect to hear tunes such as “Talk to My Baby,” the instrumental “Sweetgrass,” and “Shake that Thing.” If we’re lucky, Lazore will croon the Lone Star State favorite “Long Tall Texan.” Curtis Waterman’s haunting harmonica work will leave listeners shaking their heads in amazement. I promise: you’ve never heard the humble harmonica sound like this!

‘Going Down City’
Founded by rhythm guitarist Jerome Lazore, the band also features bassist John “J.B.” Buck, drummer Lenny Printup, harmonica master Curtis Waterman and lead guitarist Morris Tarbell. The former four are members of the Onondaga Nation, while Tarbell is a Mohawk.

The band’s second disc, “Mother Earth,” also deserves attention. Its tracks include “Going Down to Nashville” and “Going Down City.”

Wherever, it’s clear that Corn-Bred is going places!
For info, visit cornbred.com/.

Central New York journalist Russ Tarby has been writing about entertainment, crime, sports and politics since the 1970s.

Rating: 2.2/5 (15 votes cast)

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