Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adirondack Arts: The Hills Are Alive…

There’s nothing quite like music in the mountains. This weekend the ever-ecclectic BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake offers up two bands with very different pedigrees that each swing to their own beat. First, on Saturday, October 22nd, local septet Crackin’ Foxy serves up three-part harmonies over a ukulele background for a vaudeville show dating back to the 20s and 40s. And on Sunday things take a jazzy turn with gifted pianist Larry Ham leading the Larry Ham trio.

Ham has been performing since the late 1980s, having started his musical journey with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and the Illinois Jacquet Big Band. Throughout his 3 decade career, Ham has played with jazz legends such as Junior Cook and Dakota Staton, and most frequently, as the leader of the trio. He was quite literally Jazz Ambassador for the State Department, bringing jazz to undeveloped countries in the early 2000s, after which he toured the US, Russia, Greece and Italy as pianist and director of the U.S. Tapdance Festival.

Ham has performed his music around the world, touring frequently, and has made appearances on NPR and the Today Show, and even performed at the White House for President Ronald Reagan. And on Sunday, October 23, 2011, Larry Ham returns to BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, with Bill Moring on bass and Graham Hawthorne on drums, for a special concert to benefit Keene Valley Flood Relief. As he has done at several venues this past year, Ham is donating 50% of the proceeds.

An accomplished composer, in 2007, Ham released his first jazz CD with his trio, Carousel, featuring seven original compositions in addition to five standards. His first solo effort, Just Me, Just You, followed in 2008. Despite a clever swing approach, jazz purists will still enjoy Ham’s easy style and his obvious reverence for traditional jazz lines.

You can look forward to hearing the distinctive renditions of the Larry Ham trio live at BluSeed Studios Sunday at 7pm for $15 admission. Tickets for the Saturday Crackin’ Foxy show (7:30pm) are $14.

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Linda Peckel is an arts blogger who hits the roads in the Adirondacks each summer to follow the art. She visit the ArtsEnclave blog for more.




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