Just a block away from Congress Park, the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs will be hosting the first of its popular Jazz at the Spring series this year on Thursday, January 31, at 7:30pm. The show will feature the impeccably smooth, Saratoga-based Jeanine Ouderkirk Trio, composed of Jeanine Ouderkirk (vocals), Scott Bassinson (piano) and Lou Smaldone (bass).
A vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Ouderkirk is known for her rich scat singing and vocal improvisations. An alumnus of Saratoga Springs High School and SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, Ouderkirk also studied scat singing and circle singing (another improvisational style) with the legendary, Grammy Award-winning singer Bobby McFerrin, author of the timeless feel-good anthem, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Bassinson, the pianist in the trio, began studying piano at just the age of four at the St. Louis Institute of Music and later attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Smaldone, also an alum of the Crane School of Music, is a fixture in the Albany jazz scene and was inspired by the bass playing of greats like Paul Chambers and Charles Mingus. This is the Trio’s first time performing at Jazz at the Spring. “I’m very excited because I’ve seen so many different kinds of music performed in this very intimate space,” says Ouderkirk.
The inspiration for Jazz at the Spring was to mine the wealth of local jazz talent already in Saratoga. “As a performing jazz guitarist myself, I wanted to have a listening room environment in our community to connect jazz musicians with audiences,” says Mark Kleinhaut, one of the three founders of the monthly jazz series. “The Spring Street Gallery is the perfect venue, [because] it gives us the intimacy of a small club with exceptional acoustics. And [performances] surrounded by cool artwork [are] inspiring for both musicians and listeners.”
Kleinhaut started Jazz at the Spring in August 2017 with Erika Aberg and Bill Schilling, and the performances are sponsored by Capital District Jazz (CDJ), a local, nonprofit music initiative formed by practitioners and fans of jazz (both Kleinhaut and Schilling are board members). The music series is held on the last Thursday of each month, and has drawn some Northeast jazz favorites such as bassist John Menegon, saxophonist Joel Frahm and clarinetist Brad Terry. The 2019 schedule hasn’t been finalized yet, but Kleinhaut says fans of the series can expect shows by trombonist Phil Allen and cellist Ed Green, as well as return performances by Menegon, Frahm and/or Terry.