Proctors Robb Alley
Schenectady, NY
April 17, 2011

By J Hunter (

Notes from the Schenectady Musical Union’s latest contribution to Jazz Appreciation Month (now in its 10th year of celebration):

IN MEMORIAM – I never had the pleasure of meeting Sam Farkas, or seeing him play guitar, but he was one of the names you had to know about the Capital Region jazz community. His footprint on the scene was as big as that of Jack Fragomeni, another friend we lost too soon. In announcing a fundraising effort for a scholarship fund in Farkas and Fragomeni’s memory, Joe Barna described them both the same way: “A teacher, a father, and an educator.” Emotions ran high all afternoon long, especially when union president Mark Anthony presented a memorial plaque to longtime Farkas friends. Forget “He will be missed.” Sam Farkas is missed.

TAKING RISKS – One thing that kept coming up was how Farkas had no problem with taking it out on the ragged edge in concert. Terry Gordon went out on the edge on this afternoon, though it wasn’t ragged – at least not in the “nasty” sense. After an eye-popping set that let guitar wizard Joe Finn go where he’s rarely gone before, Gordon augmented his quintet with a string quartet for “Contemplations”, which Gordon dedicated to Farkas. The piece itself was both beautiful and intricate, and all participants did well. However, in the face of the Gordon Quintet’s electric power, the un-mic’ed strings were practically inaudible beyond the first row. Still, Gordon gets points for trying to go the extra mile on behalf of a friend and peer.

Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library
Clifton Park, NY
October 13, 2013

By Glenn Griffith (Clifton Park Community News)

The live sounds of cool jazz are not something one often associates with libraries.  Biographies or autobiographies of jazz musicians certainly.  CD’s of course.  But live tunes?  Never.

But that is exactly what took place last Sunday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, 475 Moe Rd.

The five-piece Terry Gordon Quintet drew 60 jazz enthusiasts to the library’s second floor program room to hear a free, mid-day jazz set without the extraneous noise found in a nightclub.

Gordon’s appearance was the second in a four-part musical series called the Second Sunday Series.  Last month all-female Irish band Triskele played the same room.

November and December will see two more groups.  The funding comes from the Friends of the Library in partnership with the Clifton Park Arts and Culture Commission.

Gordon is a local trumpet player and is well-known in the area.  Sunday’s set consisted of eight tunes ranging from straight ahead bebop to bossa nova.  This was jazz in the truest sense.  There were no vocals.

Playing with Gordon were Michael-Louis Smith on hollow body amplified guitar, Lou Smaldone on standup bass and Bob Halek on drums.  Sitting in for this performance on tenor and soprano saxophone was well-known area musician Brian Patneaude.

As with all good musical performances the talk between numbers was sparse allowing the musicians’ instruments to do the conversing.  After introducing the group Gordon gave the name of each number.  Occasionally he expanded to explain how it was written or how it came to be in the set.

Most numbers followed a standard jazz arrangement with full ensemble openings, individual spots for the musicians to stretch out with solos, and full ensemble closings.  Each solo brought a round of applause from the mostly older audience.

Gordon and Patneaude were up front preferring to stand next to each other on the carpet and let the others use the riser to their rear.  At times the two men switched back and forth musically from playing with each other to playing against each other. When playing in tandem their horns rode over and around the melody like a single fine tuned machine.  At other times they chased each other around it like a dog after a rabbit.

Smith, Smaldone, and Halek kept the rhythm pushed to the edges and took turns demonstrating their knowledge of their instruments and the tune when it was their time to solo.  Each musician took at least one solo on each tune.

The group’s bossa nova number, “The Sound”, was dedicated to the late sax player Stan Getz.  The title of the song was Getz’s nickname.  Halfway through the bouncy bossa tune Patneaude tossed in a few bars of “The Girl From Ipanema”, Getz’s most well-known number.

The longest introduction from Gordon came prior to the group playing a tune called “Blues For Tanner”, a number he wrote for a young boy who died from leukemia.

“It was the drummer’s gig,” Gordon said, “and he asked me to write a song for Tanner (Zullo).  I wrote it on the back of my car 30 minutes before the gig.”

Rather than a slow melancholy tune as one would expect, the song had an upbeat tempo.  It swung.  It was reminiscent of New Orleans jazz funerals where the musicians turn away from the cemetery and switch from slow drags and dirges to hot numbers like the traditional send off, “Didn’t He Ramble.”