Story by Shelley R. Clapper
Jazz enthusiasts were able to enjoy over 40 jazz events throughout the Hudson Valley, many of which were free, during The Hudson Valley Jazz Festival which took place over four days from Thurs., Aug. 17 to Sun., Aug. 20.
This year was the eighth consecutive Hudson Valley Jazz Festival. When asked what distinguished this jazz festival from previous ones, festival organizer Steve Rubin said, “We are starting to broaden the style of music.” He said that this year there were more female jazz vocalists, including Gabriel Tranchina, Lydia Pidulsky, Antoinette Montague, and Alexis Cole. Another difference was that the performers themselves have become more involved in the organization of the festival.
“This year some musicians helped to reach out to venues for us,” said Rubin, who was very happy about this. Rubin also remarked that there were some local performers appearing who had not been in a jazz festival before, such as Lydia Pidulsky and Billie Stein.
Hudson Valley Jazz Ensemble
Festival newcomer Lydia Pidulsky sang vocals with the Hudson Valley Jazz Ensemble on Thurs., Aug. 17 at The Courtyard on Railroad Ave. in Warwick to open the Festival. Other performers with the ensemble were Bob Rosen on saxophone, John Arbo on double bass, Gabe Valle on jazz violin, Mark Minchello on keyboards, and Steve Rubin on percussion. They were introduced by John Desibia from The Village Courtyard Music Series.
The Stonehouse Jazz Project at Pennings
Penning’s Farm Market hosted a festival event once again this year. The Stonehouse Jazz Project performed with Michael Hickey, Rave Tesar and Mickey Kopchak.
It Had To Be You
It Had To Be You, Gypsey Jazz Band performed at Romer’s Alley in Sugar Loaf on Fri., Aug. 18. The event was well attended despite the heavy rain on Friday evening.
INNERrOUTe at the Tuscan Cafe
On Sat., Aug. 19 INNERrOUTe appeared at the Tuscan Café in Warwick. Steve Rubin introduced the group, saying that this was the third year that INNERrOUTe had played at the jazz festival. Rick Savage played trumpet, Joe Vincent Tranchino played keyboards, JP Heston played bass, and Eliot Zigmund played drums.
The Brian Kasten Trio
The Warwick Wine Garden and Piano Bar, located at 22 McEwen St. in Warwick, provided a relaxed and comfortable setting for The Brian Kasten Trio on Sat., Aug. 19. This was the first time that The Warwick Wine Garden and Piano Bar has hosted a jazz festival event.
Gabriele Tranchina at Greenwood Lake
The Gabriele Tranchina Group took the stage on Sat., Aug. 19 at the Thomas P. Morahan Park in Greenwood Lake. This concert was in conjunction with the Village of Greenwood Lake Summer Concert series. Tranchina performs at the jazz festival every year. She is a versatile and eclectic performer, singing in English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, Hindi, and her native German. She was accompanied on Saturday night by her husband, Joe Vincent Tranchina, on keyboards; Willie Martinez on drums; Carlo deRosa on bass and guitar; and Eric Person on flute and saxophone.
Visitors to the festival, Elsie Pettinato from Upper Greenwood Lake and Audrey Fox, visiting from Florida, agreed with their friend, Dr. Libby Kukoff, from Upper Greenwood Lake, when she said, “The panoramic view of the lake had been a perfect place for a musical event.”
Jazz Royalty at Warwick Community Center
One of the highlights of the 2017 festival was the Jeff Ciampa/Pete Levin Group performance at the Warwick Valley Community Center on Sat., Aug. 19. Steve Rubin remarked dubbed them “jazz royalty.” Performing with the group was drummer Lenny White, who has played with the likes of Miles Davis and Chuck Correa. Of special interest and truly an outstanding performer in his own right was Alex Foster on saxophone. Alex Foster plays with the “Saturday Night Show” band in New York City.
Iron Forge Inn Hosts The Dave Smith Group
The Iron Forge Inn, located at 38 Iron Forge Rd. in Warwick, has been a venue for the jazz festival for many years. Jazz enthusiasts were able to enjoy brunch while listening to the Dave Smith Group with Dave Smith, Mike Antonelli, Mark Hagan, and Steve Rubin on Sun., Aug. 20.
Tribute to Sinatra at Warwick Grove
Warwick Grove hosted Russ Kassoff’s Tribute to Sinatra on Sun., Aug. 20. Russ Kassoff toured with Frank Sinatra from 1980 to 1981 and humorously shared that after Sinatra shook his hand, he has not washed it since.
Kassoff introduced vocalist Alexis Cole, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Cole, who possesses a deep and rich voice, sang “Fly Me to the Moon,” “The Girl from Ipanema,” “Pennies from Heaven,” and “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” amongst other Sinatra songs. Tony Tedesco, who has toured with Peggy Lee and Perry Como, played drums.