With live music returning to Capital Region venues, Saratoga’s historic Caffe Lena is in a position to assist a popular jazz festival in a part of the world that is still restricted by COVID-19. With American musicians unable to cross the border for their gigs at Quebec Jazz In June, Caffè Lena will instead be producing the shows at its location in Saratoga and making it available to the Quebec Audience via livestream.
Quebec Jazz in June, a ten day festival that ushers jazz music to the streets of Quebec City has pivoted to a hybrid online, and in-person model as Canada keeps its southern border closed.
“This legendary venue has stepped up to ensure that world class American musicians will once again be a part of our annual festivities – this time through the magic of live streaming.” Says Simon Couillard, the Festival’s General Manager.
Three nights of the festivals headline artists will be live streamed from Caffe Lena to the Festival’s social media platforms. Capital Region audiences can also attend the concerts in-person, in the intimate listening room located in downtown Saratoga Springs.
“Standing in as Quebec’s USA Stage is a win-win-win. The artists get to play for the festival’s audience; Quebec Jazz can hang onto their American line-up; and Saratoga gets to experience the festival’s mainstage musicians in person,” says Caffe Lena’s Executive Director Sarah Craig.
The collaboration between Caffe Lena and Quebec Jazz in June is one to look forward to, and is a positive thing as a result of the pandemic. The historic venue has been regularly sharing their stage and live stream capabilities with a number of venues and organizations from around the region, including 2020’s Freihoffer’s Jazz Festival.
Producing more than 200 shows during 2020, the venue’s audience has expanded far beyond its 110-seat listening room, while providing more than $100,000 in income to musicians who were not able to play live shows in over a year.
“This event is a perfect example of the growth of the independent music world that happened over the past year. There was pain while it was happening, but the end result–greater access for all–is exciting for artists and audiences. This international collaboration with Quebec Jazz In June is truly exhilarating,” says Craig.
The American artists performing at Caffe Lena for this series will include Manuel Valera New Cuban Express on Thursday, June 17th, Sheila Jordan on Friday, June 18th, and the Chuck Lamb Trio featuring Chuck Lamb, Jay Anderson and Harvey Sorgen on Sunday, June 20th.
Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Valera, who has played with Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval, begins a three-night run with a scaled-down version of his New Cuban Express Big Band. Inspired by famed Cuban writer and independence hero José Martí, Valera has created a song cycle using traditional Cuban styles merged with contemporary Latin jazz.
Valera, who lost his wife in 2020, repurposed Martí’s powerful poems as a personal cry for freedom, justice and passion for life. Valera will be joined by Felipe Lamoglia on saxophone, Ricky Rodriquez on bass and Jimmy McBride on drums.
National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Sheila Jordan follows the next night. Widely regarded as one of the great jazz vocalists, she remains innovative and passionate, at the youthful of 92. Always eager to forge new connections, Jordan will be accompanied by Capital Region jazz artists Dylan Perrillo on bass, Nick Anderson on drums, and Tyler Giroux on piano.
Saratoga’s own Chuck Lamb closes out the festivities on Sunday with a trio featuring Harvey Sorgen on drums and Jay Anderson on bass. Lamb, best known as the pianist for the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, is the artist-in-residence for the acclaimed monthly “Jazz at Caffe Lena” music series. Each musician brings a wealth of talent and experience to the stage ranging from all corners of jazz music.
Caffe Lena offers a state of the art live stream experience with professional sound engineering and a multi-camera broadcasting system. Throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, the Caffe’s live stream capabilities became a lifeline for the organization as they shifted their programming to an entirely virtual experience. Now they are open for limited capacity live audiences, while also continuing to stream its nightly performances as a way to stay connected with music lovers far and wide.
Founded in 1960, Caffè Lena is a premiere concert venue located in Saratoga Springs, NY. Known around the world for fostering the preservation and growth of independent music rooted in tradition, Caffè Lena is the oldest continually running coffee house in the United States.
In person or virtually, Caffe Lena provides an unparalleled listening experience for renowned artists and breakout bands nearly every night of the week. The Caffe offers homemade desserts, locally sourced light fare, coffee, wine and beer to enjoy during the show.
To buy tickets, live stream a concert and view our schedule please visit www.caffelena.org
Summary of Events
Thursday, June 17, 7 PM – Manuel Valera New Cuban Express
Friday, June 18, 8 PM – Sheila Jordan Trio
Sunday, June 20, 7 PM – Lamb-Sorgen-Anderson