Jazzstock Festival, as they are calling the initiative, will kick off Sunday, June 5 with a concert by New Pulse, a septet consisting of SUNY-New Paltz faculty members, at the Colony Café. The show begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10. New Pulse will be commemorating Miles Davis, who would have turned 85 on May 26. With a program dedicated to Miles, Roiger and Menegon are demonstrating their impeccable good taste in filling the Colony’s wooden interior hall with the sounds of the jazz master. They’ll also be highlighting the superb musical degree program at the college by having a student jazz band open up the show.
The couple have brought jazz to Woodstock before, having curated jazz events at the Kleinert and hosted a series of jazz performances at the Colony four or five years ago. “We’ve always thought about the possibilities of bringing more music to Woodstock, and the reason it’s happening now is that the owner of the Colony gave us a call about setting up another series,” said Menegon. They plan to host one concert a month, ending with a three-day Festival in October. On the schedule for sure is a concert on September 11 featuring vocalist Sheila Jordan and bassist Cameron Brown, two legendary musicians from the City who’ll be jamming at the Colony.
Menegon said that, while not all the performances will be held at the Colony, the opportunity to offer top jazz acts in the historic venue was definitely an inspiration for the Festival. Built in 1929 as a hotel, the Mission-style building at 22 Rock City Road features a historic, intimate ballroom, with the original bar and 360-degree chestnut-crafted balcony intact. “The ambience is like no room within a hundred miles,” said Menegon, noting that a restaurant is planned for the space.
New Pulse has been performing for more than a decade, with Menegon on bass, Mark Dziuba on guitar, Vinnie Martucci on piano, Jeff Siegel on drums, Rebecca Coupe-Franks on trumpet and David Savitsky on sax; Roiger is the vocalist. Menegon played with the late great saxophonists Dewey Redman and David “Fathead” Newman; Roiger, a lyricist as well as a singer – she composed her own lyrics to a Thelonious Monk composition on her first CD – received kudos for her most recently released CD, Still Life, which won Third Place in the Jazz category of the 2006 International Songwriting Competition.
Menegon and Roiger have been talking to Dan Leader, owner of Bread Alone, as part of their outreach to get support from local businesses for the Festival. The couple will be performing on June 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Bread Alone – but in Rhinebeck, not Woodstock.