classically trained vibraphonist/percussionist Stefon Harris
is playing his home turf this weekend with a show at the
Egg tomorrow (Friday). Two years ago, the Grammy-nominated
jazz artist performed a commissioned piece at the Troy Savings
Bank Music Hall, and the 11-movement suite received such
praise that Harris got a 12-piece group together in the
studio a month later to record it. The Grand Unification
Theory was the outcome.
Albany native Harris claimed Charlie Parker as the reason
he turned toward jazz from classical, and he first became
known as a session guy in the mid-’90s for Charlie Hunter,
among others. He gathered steam and found his own style
through his first two albums, A Cloud of Red Dust (1998)—voted
best debut at the NY Jazz Awards—and Black Action Figure
(1999); and his third, Kindred, was a jointly
led session with similarly gifted pianist-arranger Jacky
Terrasson. He quickly earned kudos as “one of the most important
young artists in jazz,” as the Los Angeles Times
Grand Unification Theory finds the artist expanding
and exploring. It was the first time Harris composed and
arranged for a large band—not to mention leading one. And
the subject matter of the piece, which initially was going
to be a 15-minute work for his quartet but ended up a 75-minute
opus, delves into Harris’ personal philosophy, a meld of
physics (hence the album’s title), religion and art.
Stefon Harris and his newly formed quintet, Blackout, will
perform selections from The Grand Unification Theory
as well as new compositions tomorrow (Friday, June 6) at
the Egg (Swyer Theatre, Empire State Plaza, Albany). Red
Clay Jazz will open the show, which starts at 8 PM. Tickets
are $24. Call 463-0775.
June, artists, artisans, musicians and entertainers from
all over the Capital Region gather together on Albany’s
downtown bohemian Lark Street for a day of family fun, entertainment
and sampling a wide variety of arts and crafts. The time
is here once again: On Sunday there will be all sorts of
jewelry (like the necklaces pictured, by Elissa Halloran),
artsy and crafty things to browse, there will be all kinds
of musicians performing to delight fans of most genres,
and there will be various workshops and games for the kids.
However, there has been a huge change to this year’s event:
Due to the of reconstruction of Lark Street currently in
progress, the festival will take place on Washington Avenue,
on the blocks between Lark and Swan streets. So really,
it’s Art on Lark on Washington. But we won’t be nit-picky.
One of the highlights of the event is the annual People’s
Choice Art Show (usually held in the Trinity Methodist Church,
this year the show will be held in the Albany Public Library),
showcasing the works of area artists. This show also features
the People’s Choice Award, where festivalgoers can vote
for their favorite piece of artwork.
A new feature of this year’s Art on Lark is a series of
screenings of Albany Independent Film Forum short films.
Three new films—More Than Friends? by Jeff Burns;
Frenzy by Heather Blossom Brown; and Graceland
by Dan and Joe Masucci—will be shown, as well as three of
the best films from AIFF events earlier in the year, including
The Situationist by Dean Giagni. The films will be
shown throughout the day; visit the library when you arrive
to catch the schedule.
Art on Lark (on Washington) will take place Sunday (June
7) from noon to 5 PM. The event is free and open to the
public. For additional information, contact the Lark Street
Business Improvement District at 434-3861.
is rare, and then there is rare. The Capitol Chamber
Artists will present the latter Saturday and Sunday when
they perform a chamber-ensemble arrangement of Beethoven’s
Symphony No. 9, the “Choral Symphony.” Prepared by
Frederic Kalkbrenner, a colleague of Beethoven’s, this transcription
took three years to track down. The original German publisher
had no copy of the score, and no record of its publication.
The folks at CCA didn’t give up, however. After searching
around the world—via “extensive” correspondences with music
libraries—one copy of Kalkbrenner’s arrangement was found.
This transcription is scored for flute, violin, cello and
fortepiano, with four singers performing both the solo and
choral parts in the final movement.
This music had its contemporary “re-premiere” at the Beethoven
Society in Vienna last year, and immediately created a stir
in classical music circles. The European Society for Arts
and Culture weighed in with this pronouncement: “Who among
us have ever imagined [Beethoven’s Ninth] as chamber music?
. . . One can almost be sure that a whole new debate . .
. will have begun.”
Capitol Chamber Artists will present the U.S. premiere of
the chamber version of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9
on Saturday (June 7) at 7 PM at the First Congregational
Church (405 Quail St., Albany). The program will be repeated
on Sunday (June 8) at 2 PM at the Community Hall in Benson,
Vt. Tickets are $18 general admission and $8 for students.
For more information, call 458-9231.