After days of hot, humid weather, Sunday’s lower temperatures and gentle breezes welcomed concertgoers to the inaugural concert of the 38th annual Buffalo News Jazz at the Albright-Knox series. The number of years this particular concert series has survived is a tribute to founder Stan Lipsey’s vision of an outdoor jazz concert and the people who’ve helped to make it so.
A few boats glided across the surface of Hoyt Lake and trees cast their shadows over clusters of lawn chairs and picnic trappings as the musicians in the Brendan Lanighan Sextet prepped for the first gig of the season.
Lanighan is an up-and-coming player whose skill set is solid and evolving. As an arranger, he has some decent chops. As a trombonist, he pays homage to classic players like Jack Teagarden and Trummy Young but is versatile enough to list working with a ska band on his resume.
In this lineup, bandleader Lanighan has worked with trumpeter Mark Filsinger, saxophonist Elliot Scozzaro and pianist George Caldwell in a number of settings while also spending some time (along with bandmate Scozzaro) in the Glenn Miller Band. Then there’s bassist, Wayne Moose, who was one of Lanighan’s high school instructors. Rhythm anchor Dan Hull has played drums in so many regional groups that even he might find it difficult to list them all.
The group’s playlist featured pop standards (“I’ve Never Been In Love Before”, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “Walk On By”), a sprinkling of jazz classics (“Nica’s Dream," “Boperation”), some soundtrack fare (“Emily” from “The Americanization of Emily” and “Baby Mine” from the animated version of “Dumbo”), and teased the ears with a couple interesting original tunes by Scozzaro and Filsinger.
“Triste,” the Brazilian classic written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, received a swinging yet reverential performance in tribute to the singer/guitarist João Gilberto, who released the seminal version of that bossa nova classic and who died earlier this month.
The remaining concerts in this series have plenty of promise, including a return engagement by Don Rice backed up by the Bobby Jones Trio on Sunday, July 14, 2019. Also featured will be Greg Millar Quintet, the Nancy Kelly Quintet (featuring Bobby Militello), and, to close out the season, the Don Menza Septet.
Buffalo News Jazz at the Albright-Knox series
Brendan Lanighan Sextet
Next up: Don Rice and the Bobby Jones Trio, 2 p.m. July 14