PETE LEVIN TRIO
The Rosendale Cafe
March 26, 2011
by Rudy Lu
I have asked many times in the last few weeks, “Where can I go to hear jazz in upstate NY?” The readers of albanyjazz.com know that there are quite a few venues locally. We have had jazz here in everything from concert halls, nightclubs, churches, coffeehouses and even bookstores. The adjacent Hudson Valley also has establishments that host jazz on occasion as well as the Falcon, a club further southeast in Marlboro that features jazz on a regular basis.
I took a little road trip southwest of Kingston to Rosendale, NY to hear Pete Levin’s latest trio project featuring Dave Stryker on guitar and Lenny White on drums @ the Rosendale Café, a small vegetarian café at the west end of town (By the way, there is a unique selection of draft beers and the food is excellent).
This was second of the 2 gigs in the US that this trio is playing this year to support the new CD Jump (Pete Levin Music). Pete decided to keep the US leg of the tour close to his home in Woodstock by opening at the Falcon in Marlboro.
The all star billing of this band certainly lived up to the reputations of its individual players.
Pete has an impressive resume as a band member as well as leader. He has played with Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Lenny White, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Robbie Robertson and John Scofield. This was after a long stint as a French Horn player with Gil Evans. He played leads, melodies and comped with ease.
Dave had been a sideman for Brother Jack McDuff and Stanley Turrentine as well as a band leader in his own right. Dave Stryker displayed an amazing range of tones and range ranging from the Wes Montgomery sound, to funk and out right rocking out.
Lenny White needs no introduction. A house drummer for the CTI label, drummer for Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” Band and with Return to Forever, he played with incredible fluidity and left no doubt why he has been noted as one of the most influential drummers in jazz.
The standing room only crowd of avid jazz aficionados was treated to an evening of fun evening of covers and originals.
Funky danceable originals such as “Jump” and “ The Big Dog Is Always Right “ were mixed in with covers of Freddie Hubbard’s ”Little Sunflower” and Charles Mingus’“Nostalgia in Times Square”. The one cover that I never dreamed I would hear a jazz organ play was the Paul Winter Consort/Oregon new agey classic “Icarus”.
I felt privileged to be one of the few to witness this combo live stateside. Café owner Mark Morganstern thanked me for coming to his café and asked me to come back. With music of this caliber and the nice laid-back vibe, I certainly will. Hopefully not solo next time but with a carful of Tech Valley jazz fans.
Rudy Lu is a safety consultant by day , fine arts photographer nights and weekends and an occasional music critic. He has had a passion for jazz since his college days when he was a dj for WRUC (Radio Union College). He is a frequent contributor to nippertown.com as well as albanyjazz.com. His work has been exhibited locally and has been featured by both nationally known and local musicians. He lives in Niskayuna, NY.