The Empire State rarely receives plaudits for its contributions to American roots music, but we'll set the record straight on Sunday, Jan. 23, when the January Jam Fest is staged at Eastwood's Palace Theater.
Two of New York state's best roots'n'blues bands - the venerable Commander Cody Band and the vanguard Professor Louie & The Crowmatix - will headline the Jam Fest also featuring ten area acts such as Isreal Hagan, Andrew Carroll, Mark Hoffmann, Los Blancos, Todd Hobin and Doug Moncrief, the Mojo Band and Jeff Stockham & The Jazz Police. The music will fill the theater from 1 to 8 p.m., climaxing with a 7 p.m. jam session spotlighting members of the CNY Jazz Orchestra.
Co-sponsored by Eagle Newspapers, the January Jam Fest benefits CNY Jazz Central (formerly known as the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation) which presents jazz in concert, cabaret, scholastic and festival settings.
Admission costs $15 in advance and $30 VIP tickets are on sale now by calling 435-2121. Admission at the door costs $20 and VIP admission $35, ($30 for holders of CNY Jazz, JASS, WAER and student ID cards).
Cody & Crowmatix
Having risen to prominence as leader of Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airman in Ann Arbor, Mich. in 1967, the Commander (a.k.a. 66-year-old keyboardist George Frayne) has lived in nearby Saratoga Springs since 1997. Cody's big hit was a cover of Charlie Ryan's "Hot Rod Lincoln," but the Airmen also made their own contributions to the counter-culture with songs like "Stems and Seeds Again Blues," named one of the top 25 pot songs of all time by High Times magazine.
The Commander's newest disc is titled "Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers."
Besides being a consummate roots rocker, George Frayne is also a prodigious painter whose portraits of legendary musicians hang proudly in places such as Syracuse's Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. A fine art raffle will be conducted at the Jam Fest, including original pieces by Commander Cody.