Adirondack Jazz Orchestra brings swing to Harborside | News, Sports, Jobs


The Adirondack Jazz Orchestra, “Big Band of the Adirondacks”, is under the musical direction of conductor Matthew Pray. (Photo provided)

PLATSBURGH – The Adirondack Jazz Orchestra has a great Saturday night swinging moment to the beloved jazz tunes of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, Maynard Ferguson at the Harborside Stage in Plattsburgh.

For 18 years, the famous “Big Band of the Adirondacks” brought together many of the Adirondack’s top jazz players to present professional-caliber concerts under the direction of trumpeter and conductor Matthew Pray.

Founded while Pray was on the verge of graduating from the Crane School of Music, the group has grown into one of the most sought-after groups of all genres across the region.

Over 130 songs fill the Adirondack Jazz Orchestra’s repertoire, masterpieces from the “Golden age” from big band jazz to catchy salsa and mambo numbers, including original compositions created by the members of the ensemble.

Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman, Little Brown Jug by Glenn Miller, Take The ‘A’ Train by Duke Ellington and Fly Me To The Moon by Bart Howard (made famous by Frank Sinatra) are just a few of the concerts from base of the group.

More contemporary classics such as Cubanismo’s Mambo UK, Gordon Goodwin’s Mueva Los Huesos, and Pray’s Lake City Blues may also feature in the group’s set list.

With a classic instrumental range of big band wind instruments – five trumpets, four trombones and five saxophones – joined by the added flavor of the tuba, and with a powerful rhythm section, the group offers plenty of space for creative improvisations from their soloists with the beautiful basic sound of the ensemble to support them.

Two of the band’s instrumentalists are also talented vocalists, adding an extra dimension to the band’s sound in their performances of precious vocal works, sometimes imbued with some fiery improvised scat solos.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities have been scarce for an ensemble of this size to perform live, making it one of the group’s few appearances since March 2020.

Last July, the Adirondack Jazz Orchestra performed the very first concert in the Curbside At Harborside series, featuring an acclaimed Independence Day program.

Now the ensemble returns to the Harborside stage by popular demand for a scorching encore performance.


WHO: Adirondack Jazz Orchestra at Harborside.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday August 21. Doors open at 6.30 p.m. for this concert.

ADMISSION: Tickets are $ 20 per full car (not per person) and will be available on the night of the show at the Harborside Lot entrance near the City of Plattsburgh Marina, behind D&H Station. (2 Dock Street is the best GPS address to use to find this lot). All profits from ticket sales are donated to the artists.

PROTOCOLS: Participants have the option to bring garden chairs or blankets and listen to music outside their car or stay in their vehicle and listen to music played on their car radio directly from the stage . People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear face masks outside their vehicles. Members of the public are respectfully requested to refrain from bringing alcohol or pets (service animals are welcome) into Harborside Park.

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Henry R. Wright

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