Up until a couple of years ago, it was an annual tradition for one of the military bands to play the fabled Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on the eve of the annual Troy Flag Day Parade, and The Record would sponsor the distribution of free tickets to the event.
On Saturday night, the US Army Field Band's Jazz Ambassadors brought their current tour to the Music Hall. Tickets were free, either available at the box office or online. Of course, that all but ensured a sellout, as there were a handful of empty seats.
In the course of 85 minutes, the Ambassadors played an eclectic selection of jazz standards by legends such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and George Benson. Master Sgt. Marva Lewis, on her farewell tour, sang the national anthem, and put a jazzy spin on the Carpenters' "(They Long to Be) Close to You". She closed the evening with a cover of Lee Greenwood's patriotic anthem, "God Bless the USA".
In between, a trio of students from LaSalle Institute joined the Ambassadors on stage for a rendition of "Mister Timmons", off one of the Ambassadors' "Perspectives" CD's. Tom Hoffman, Jr., father of saxophonist Patrick Hoffman, uploaded the following video:
Patrick Hoffman, Tom Ryan, and Michael Corlew blended right in with the Ambassadors. There just wasn't a down moment in the entire show. Sgt. Lewis, however, all but stole it with a 3-song mini-set that included "Close to You" and "On The Street Where You Live".
All I can say is, let's make this an annual tradition.