Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring is here and Bird is back

Lots of great music available this week for fans of jazz music. Here's a rundown of this week's highlights and local offerings:

If you get into the city, catch the Teddy Charles All-Stars tribute to Bird at the Iridium through Tuesday. Special guests include Bob Cranshaw (bass) and Kenny Washington (remember when he was DJing at WBGO between gigs?). Other expected guests include altoist Chris Byars, Richie Vitale (trumpet) and Eddie Bert on bones.


Guitarist Dick Gratton will be at the Chambers Walk Cafe on main Street in Lawrenceville, with sets at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Trumpets Jazz Club in Monclair has the quartet led by saxman Baron Raymonde ( Kip Sophos, bass; Thierry Arpino, drums; Ed Bishai, keyboards and vocals) joining guitarist Gil Parris.


"This is Ragtime," conceived and performed Terry Waldo, will be presented at the Passage Theater, Front and Montgomery streets, Trenton. For ticket or general information, visit; email, or call 609-392-0766 and/or 609-392-0318.

Trumpets has jazz and bossa from Yashmin Charnet. She'll be backed by Paul Abler on guitar, John DiMartino on piano, Santi DeBriano on bassand drummer Tim Horner.


Rhythms of the Night, on South Main Street in Manville, has John Nobile's 17-piece Summer Swing Orchestra from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Dick Gratton makes his regular appearance at Hightstown's Sunday Jazz Brunch at Bistro Soleil, 173 Mercer St. Sets at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium hosts a jam session from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday at PJ's Coffee on Raritan Avenue in Highland Park.


Ed Joffe and the Jersey City State University Jazz Ensemble will be at Trumpets. The NJCU Jazz Ensemble has been performing and recording big band music ranging from Fletcher Henderson to Maria Schneider for 16 years. The band consists of students enrolled in the jazz performance degree offerings at New Jersey City University as well as alumni.


Rhythms of the Night hosts one part of the Somerset Jazz Consortium at 7 p.m. (there's no cover!), while other members of the consortium head to the Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison for a jam session from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Musicians: Check out the rules of the road for the sessions before going -- it's at


The New Jersey Jazz Society Jazz Film Series will show "Symphony in Riffs," a documentary on Benny Carter narrated by Burt Lancaster. The films will be shown at the Library of the Chathams, 214 Main Street in Chatham Boro, starting at 7 p.m.. There is no admission charge, and the programs are open to the general public.


Barge Music's Jazz Night will feature Randy Sandke and Friends (including Nicki Parrott on bass, and pianist Ted Rosenthal) at 8 p.m.Tickets are $25 regular, $20 senior, $15 student for the show on the barge conveniently moored at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn. For reservations and further information, call 718-624-2083 or go to

Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli will be at Shanghai Jazz in Madison. Check the Web site at for details.

The Afro Cuban All Stars, featuring singer and guitarist Juan de Marcos (of "Buena Vista Social Club" fame), will be at the Patriots Theater at The War Memorial in Trenton at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $18 to $45 -- go to to get yours.

Friday March 27

The Watchung Arts Center announces a dedication concert honoring Gerry Niewood and Coleman Mellett, performed by the Sarah Jane Cion Quartet at 8 p.m. The center reports "After learning of the tragic accident that took the lives of two celebrated musicians, Gerry Niewood and Coleman Mellett, it is with great respect that we will be dedicating this performance to their great and lasting memories. Both Mellett and Niewood have played at the Watchung Arts Center and were both to play again; Niewood to play with Cion and Mellett to play with wife Bryson in May. Cion will not be replacing Niewood but will continue on as a Trio.

"Sarah Jan Cion, a dynamically spirited pianist, appeared on the NPR radio show "Piano Jazz" with Marian McPartland in 2000. She was the First Place Winner of the 17th Annual Great American Jazz Piano Competition judged by Horace Silver, Kenny Barron, Ellis Marsalis and Benny Green (Jacksonville, FL, 1999). Cion performed in the Kennedy Center's "Women in Jazz Festival" in 1999 and at the Smithsonian Institute's Voice of America Stage in Washington, D.C. in 2001. She has performed with Clark Terry, Etta Jones, Bucky Pizzarelli, Anita O'Day among many others."
Tickets for the event are $20 ($18 if you're a member of the arts center).

Javon Jackson will bring his band to Shanghai Jazz for shows Friday and Saturday. The saxophone star has a new CD out, so this should be a great show.

Sunday March 29
The 10-piece Beacon Hill Jazz Band will be at the Watchung Arts Center at 3 p.m. Tickets are $16, $13 for members and $8 for students. Tickets can be purchased on line for this concert by going to

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