A locally based musical ensemble will make its public debut with two performances this weekend. Alone Together: The Mollin-Clay Jazz Duo consists of bassist Rich Mollin and trumpeter Carleton Clay. They will be heard in concert at 5 p.m. Saturday at the State University College at Oneonta Fine Arts Center’s outdoor courtyard, between Goodrich Theater and the Martin-Mullin Arts Gallery. In case of rain, the concert will be moved to Room M201 of the Fine Arts Building. The concert is free and open to all as a walk-in event. The following day, the duo will play for brunch at the Autumn Café, with the music beginning at noon.
Mollin and Clay have been working together for nearly a year in anticipation of their debut weekend. The name of their group, Alone Together, refers to the fact that they play exclusively as a duo, without benefit of a keyboard instrument, or guitar or drums — a rare concept in the history of jazz. Alone Together also happens to be the name of their signature song, a ballad composed by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz in 1912.
Mollin, a jazz bassist who has played in locations throughout the world, moved to this area in 2003 and for nine years was leader of the house band at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown. An adjunct instructor at SUNY Oenonta, where he teaches bass and jazz studies, he also maintains a private teaching studio, performs regularly with several jazz ensembles in New York City and throughout the Northeast, and is a member of the bass section of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra. He has recently purchased the old church in Davenport Center, which he is converting into a performance space.
Clay is emeritus professor of music at SUNY Oneonta, where he taught for 40 years. A composer, and co-founder and president of the Catskill Conservatory, he has performed for nearly a half century as a trumpet player in the field of “classical music” with numerous organizations throughout Central New York and Northeast Pennsylvania. Beginning with the events of this weekend, he is returning to his original musical “love” — jazz — after nearly a 50-year hiatus, according to a media release. Clay lives with his wife, artist and retired musician Julia Hasbrouck Clay.
For additional information, call the Catskill Conservatory, the ensemble’s parent organization, at 263-5230.