Idle Chatter

The month of July is about to get jazzed up.

The Trend, circa mid-1980s, with Paul Dougherty, the late J. MArc Patenaude and Larry Roux. Michael Davis photo

Spillett Branches Out

As an aperitif to this weekend’s free Syracuse M&T Jazz Fest, two M&T Bank branches will offer lunchtime shows with local saxophonist John Spillett. The music man will perform sets for brown baggers at high noon on Wednesday, June 29, at M&T’s 101 S. Salina St. downtown location (Hanover Square entrance) and Thursday, June 30, at the 3701 W. Genesee St. branch. M&T Bank has been a Jazz Fest sponsor for more than 20 years. Visit for details.

Murphy’s Law

There will be even more jazz during the July 4 weekend. Nate Felty and J.J. Murphy of the popular Nashville band Dynamo will return to town with the J.J. Murphy Trio. Merging classic Americana with contemporary jazz, the group features guitarist Murphy, drummer Felty and Alec Newnam on bass.

They’ll perform Friday, July 1, 6 p.m., at Ish Guitars, 410 S. Franklin St. The all-ages show has a $10 cover. On Saturday, July 2, 1 p.m,, the threesome presents a free, all-ages clinic at Saxby’s Coffee Shop, 37 Lebanon St., Hamilton., followed later with a 9 p.m. free show for the over-21 crowd at No. 10 Tavern, 10 Utica St., Hamilton. And on Sunday, July 3, 3 to 5 p.m., the trio hosts a free, all-ages jazz jam at Funk N Waffles Downtown, 307 S. Clinton St.

Catching Another Wave

Syracuse’s punk music-power pop scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s spawned the nostalgic get-together known as Bright Lights, an event that took place in July 2014 at the Lost Horizon. Two years later, the inevitable sequel has arrived, as Bright Lights: A Syracuse New Wave Rock’n’Roll Reunion will blast off on Sunday, July 3, 7 p.m., at Funk N Waffles Downtown, 307 S. Clinton St.


The Flashcubes, circa late 1970s, with Gary Frenay, Tommy Allen, Arty Lenn and Paul Armstrong. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Hosted by Dana Bonn and Carl Cafarelli, the co-deejays of Syracuse Community Radio’s This Is Rock’n’Roll Radio Internet program, the evening will feature The Flashcubes with still-manic musicians Paul Armstrong, Tommy Allen, Gary Frenay and Arty Lenin. Allen, Frenay and Lenin will also splinter off to recreate their pop unit Screen Test.

The Dead Ducks will reunite guitarist Danny Bonn with fellow quackers Paul Stevenson and Jim Spagnola, while a super-group created specifically for the occasion will be Maura Kennedy and the Bright Lights, also featuring husband Pete Kennedy, Flashcubes Frenay and Lenin, and drummer Cathy LaManna.

Also on the bill: New wave kingpins The Trend return with surviving members Paul Doherty, Larry Roux and Ekendra Dasa (lead singer J. Marc Patenaude was killed in a 1985 car accident); a tribute to the late rocker Norm Mattice (Dress Code, 1.4.5, The Richards) will feature Richards members Paul Armstrong, Steve Steele, Ed Steele and Mark Doyle, with Ronnie Dark filling in for Mattice; and SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon voice Tom Kenny will recall his era with The Tearjerkers.

Advance tickets to Bright Lights will be $12, with $15 ducats available at the door.

Jazz and Wine Fest Announces Slate

The annual Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival returns to downtown Syracuse’s Clinton Square for a two-day program on Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30. Larry Luttinger, founder and director of the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation, the organizer of the free festival, made the announcement June 23 at Jazz Central, 441 W. Washington St.

The jazz showcase anchors the annual downtown Artsweek, which attracts more than 66,000 visitors to enjoy the Arts and Crafts Festival, the popular Syracuse New Times Street Painting event and the Stage of Nations Blue Rain ECOfest.

Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band (1)

Jazz and Wine Festival headliners Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band.

The wide-ranging lineup even had longtime fest supporter Sen. John DeFrancisco admitting during his remarks that it was “eclectic.” Still, headliners such as the funky Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band (Friday, 6 p.m.) and neo-soulster Scott “Bugs” Allen (Saturday, 6:30 p.m.) should lure music fans. Also on hand will be Brownskin, Soulplay, Soda Ash Six, Prime Time Funk, Atlas XXXVI and Utica’s Easy Money Big Band, plus jam sessions and plenty of wine tastings.

DeFrancisco also got the biggest laugh during the presser when Luttinger introduced Eagle Newspapers music scribe Russ Tarby as “a dean of local journalism.” The senator quickly commented, “Whenever someone refers to you as a dean, that means you’re old!”

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