Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lots of locals out this week

It's another great week for local fans -- we've got players from old to young and in-between this week ....

Thursday, April 30
The Highland Park-based Jim Lapidus Trio will be at Steakhouse 85 , 85 Church St., New Brunswick.
Pianist Rio Clemente will be at the Bernards Inn on Route 202 in Bernardsville, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday, May 1
The annual Cranbury-Princeton High School Jazz Dance begins at 7 p.m. Friday in the Cranbury School Auditorium, 23 N. Main St., Cranbury. The event will feature several area school jazz bands, including Princeton High School’s award-winning Studio Band and Jazz Ensemble. The $6 adult tickets ($4 for seniors and children) will help support Princeton bands; buy some refreshments to support Cranbury musicians. Tickets will sold at the door or by band members.

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.

The Trenton Marriott at 1 West Lafayette, always features live jazz music from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. No cover.

Saturday, May 2
James Stewart will be at the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St., Trenton, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday, May 3
Salt Creek Grille in Forrestal Village has a jazz brunch, with live music, starting this weekend. The brunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 2:30 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.

Monday, May 4
The incomparable Maria Schneider will be in concert with the New Jersey City University Jazz Ensemble, at 7:30 p.m. in the Margaret Williams Theatre at NJCU in Jersey City. $15 general admission; $10 students/seniors.

Thursday, May 7
The Princeton University Sinfonia will conclude its 2008—2009 season at 8 p.m. May 7 with the premiere of Princeton-area composer Laurie Altman’s jazz-influenced work "In Another Time," as well as several orchestra favorites. The orchestra, conducted by Ruth Ochs, will be joined by Fuma Sacra, a professional vocal ensemble directed by Andrew Megill, guitarist Nate Radley, and the Princeton University Concert Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Anthony D.J. Branker. "In Another Time" was commissioned and supported by the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Princeton University Jazz Program, and the Princeton University Music Department. Tickets for the concert are $5 and seating is general admission. For tickets call 609-258-9220 or order online at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When reviewing new releases for publications, one often gets smitten with a new release. Most of the time, the love doesn't last -- once you're not listening to something as closely, whatever beauty it had fades and when it's heard again ... well, it's like bumping into an old aquaintance you've forgotten about.

But every now and again, there's real gold among the thousands of new releases, and one of my favorites is Ray Barretto's "Time was -- Time is" from 2005 on O+ Music.

It was Ray's last studio release, and it's a fine tribute to this incredible musician who gave us "El Watusi" in the 60s, 1972's "Carnival" and this, before his death in early 2006. His contributions to salsa music is legendary -- but his jazz was also first rate.

I find the opening track of "Time was - Time is" -- "Drume Negrita" -- completely enchanting. With Barretto on shakers, pianist Robert Rodriguez outlines the harmonic structure with a series of whole-note chords.

Then, in a beautifully realized and powerful statement, Sean Conly's bass gives the tune's bottom end. It's a wonderful fulfillment of the rhythm and chordal presence, with a snaking rhythm moving down a descending melody line.

By the time the two horns -- Joe Magnarelli on trumpet and altoist Myron Walden -- join, the song balances on the interplay between the elements.

There are times I will crave another listen to this delicious serving the way some people crave ice cream -- it begins with the hypnotic shakers, then the bass line ...

Throught the CD, Baretto's percussion work is moved up in the mix, creating a more urgent feel to the music. It's not in-your-face percussion, but -- typical of Barretto -- perfectly placed and played.

The arrangements and perfomances here -- recorded over a three-day session at the end of November 2004 -- are sublime and fresh. The septet with two horns is an unusual combination, but it works -- they're light and nimble, and Magnarelli is fantastic here.

It's become one of my favorite recordings of the decade, one that earns repeated listens and deserves to become a classic. As a final effort, it shows what an immense talent Barretto was.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Finding a surprise on Saturday night

Last week, I mentioned Julian Lage and Tal Wilkenfeld, a couple of up-and-coming musicians who have been getting lots of attention and press. Saturday, I witnessed an impressive performance by some talented local youth while out and about in Princeton.
Unfortunately, I didn't catch the names of the keyboard-flugelhorn-drums lineup -- they were playing at the Carousel Luncheonette, as part of an event for the Princeton Young Achievers.
But they did a terrific job, listening and responding to each other. They played well, like mature musicians, although I don't think any of the trio I heard was more than 20 years old. Their arrangements on standards were tasteful and creative, and void of the usual over-playing young and inexperienced players often give.
I'll keep an eye out for these musicians -- and so should you -- they may be among the future stars.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We're having a heat wave ...

It’s getting hot this week … and we’re not talking about the weather! Lots happening for jazz lovers – get out and support local musicians.

Thursday, April 23
Alan Holdsworth
opens a four-night arpeggio-fest at Iridium in Manhattan. Tix are $30 – get some at, see him and be prepared to be amazed … he’s adding two shows at The Turning Point, Monday. That’s at 468 Piermont Ave., Piermont, N.Y. 10968; 845-359-1089

Friday, April 24
Trumpeter Gordon James will be at the Salt Creek Grille in Princeton Forrestal Village from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Gordon’s got a new release – "In Joy" on Caress Music – coming out and he’s booking dates in area clubs (he’ll be in new Brunswick Sunday).
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.
The Trenton Marriott at 1 West Lafayette, always features live jazz music from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. No cover.

John Scofield and Chris Potter’s Underground at McCarter Theater. ‘Nuff said. Check here for details.

Saturday, April 25
The Watchung Arts Center will feature Brazilian pianist Adriano Santos, with composer Helio Alves, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16; $8 for students. Click here, e-mail to, or call 908-753-0190 to reserve yours.
If you miss Santos’ Watchung show, don’t fret – he’s playing Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola from April 28 to May 3 in "Samba Jazz and the Music of Jobim," a tribute to Jobim. He’ll join Eddie Gomez, Claudio Roditi and Toninho Horta, Duduka Da Fonseca on drums, and singer Maucha Adnet. Click here for more details.
John Nobile's Summer Swing Orchestra will be at the Indigo Ballroom, 17 Division St. in Somerville at 8:30 p.m. There’s a $20 cover charge, but that includes a one-hour swing dance lesson, and refreshments. Call 908-218-9418 for more information.

Sunday, April 26
Salt Creek Grille in Forrestal Village has a jazz brunch, with live music, starting this weekend. The brunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 2:30 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.
Gordon James kicks off what he hopes will become a regular Sunday night event — Smooth Sensual Sunday — 6 p.m. at the Progressive Temple 186 Hale St. in New Brunswick. He’ll have his band, a light show and "visual motion photography" by Funkologist. Tickets are $15.
The New Jersey Jazz Society meeting will begin at 2 p.m. at Trumpet's Jazz Club, 6 Depot Square, Montclair. Today’s meeting will feature pianist-singer-educator Dena DeRose in the NJJS’s Intimate Portrait Series features. Click here for details.

Monday, April 27
The Justin Derman Jazz Trio will perform at the Bound Brook Library at 7 p.m. Monday. Justin Derman is a Bound Brook resident who studied at Kean University and New Jersey City University. The concert is free, thanks to the Friends of the Bound Brook Library.

Tuesday, April 28
Shanghai Jazz in Madison has Russell Malone – if you haven’t seen Malone on stage, you really haven’t heard him. He’s got a great musical presence on stage, playing with more energy than on many of his releases. There’s no cover charge, but $35 per person for food and drink minimum at all tables ($10 to sit in the bar). Call 973-822-2899 to make the required reservations.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Keeping up with the kids

Music can be a merciless taskmaster ... and jazz is the meanest mistress. Many spend their lives struggling to master the delicacies of a minor 7 with a flatted fifth ....
Of course, others aren't so hampered: they get it early on in life.
To wit: check out Julian Lage, an old-hand on the jazz circuit at 21. I first read about him five years ago, when Just Jazz Guitar did a profile on the 16-year-old phenom.
How about Tal Wilkenfeld -- here she is doing her rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Cause We've Ended as Lovers" with Jeff Beck. She toured Australia last year with Chick Corea. She's 21, too.
A quick search on Google finds links to articles from Maine to California about teenage and early-20-year-old jazz musicians ... and if you pursue it, you'll find there's a lot of good music coming from them.
Now, back to practicing those altered dominant sevenths ...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gordon James -- new release and new area dates

Middlesex resident Gordon James -- that's him at right in the photo with Ronnie Jordan -- has just released his third CD, "In Joy" on Caress Music, adding to his collection of nice funk and smooth jazz releases. His work covers a lot of territory within the genre, though -- I checked out several cuts from his ouvre, really enjoyed his take on "Grazin' in the Grass" on his 1999 release "Gordon James" -- he's punched up the bottom a bit and moved the melody back in the mix, making it funkier than say, Grover Washington's take on it.

Check out his Web site here , or jump over to CDbaby to hear cuts from "After Hours," "Gordon James" and "In Joy" -- and order yours.

Or, better yet, catch him live -- Gordon and his band are regulars in area clubs and venues. He'll be at the Salt Creek Grill in the Forrestal Village off Route 1 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday (April 24) , and at the Progressive Temple 186 Hale St.
in New Brunswick at 6 p.m. Sunday (April 26) -- the "Smooth Sensous Sunday" show!. Sunday's show includes his working band and a
visual motion photography and light show -- should be fantastic!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Favorites from "The House that Trane Built"

Finished Ashley Kahn's excellent "biography" of Impulse Records, "The House That Trane Built," and have been seeking out some of the iconic releases mentioned.

One of my all-time favs is Oliver Nelson's "The Blues and The Abstract Truth." Nelson's arranaging was always top notch, and no matter how many times I listen to "Stolen Moments," it still stuns me with the chromatic steps in the bridge, and the fantastic solos by Freddie Hubbard and Eric Dolphy.
I'm still doing some digging -- checked out John Handy's "Work Hard" last week, and several Archie Shepp tunes the week before.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brother, can you spare a dime?

If money were no object, there'd be no reaosn to pick and choose from the great jazz offerings around these days. It's hard to know what the best buy for your bebop bucks is ... but here are five hot buys I'd like to make:
1. Tickets to a John Scofield's "Piety Street" show. He's traveling with George Porter Jr., Jon Cleary and Ricky Fataar, doing shows that are getting raves all around. Sco's a great treat, consistently very good and when he's really on, hard to beat. I love how he always keeps one foot in the blues...
2. Brian Blade's CD "Mama Rosa": Due out next week, this sounds really intriguing ... know it or not, you've heard Blade drumming (unless you've avoided anyone in this list: Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Bill Frisell, and Seal and some guy named Dylan, Bob Dylan). BUT you've not heard him like this - a stripped-down collection of songs more Dylan than Shorter in style, with Blade singing and strumming a guitar. You've got to love a guy who seems to do it all ...
3. Tickets to the Blue Note 70th Anniversary shows: this would be steep, because I missed it at McCarter. Let's who is playing? Oh, yeah, it's Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Peyton, Bill Charlap and Steve Wilson.
4. A WBGO donation ... because it's a great station and I want to hang with Gary Walker.
5. A Livio radio. These $150 boxes offer WiFI and Ethernet Internet connectivity and use Pandora software for Internet radio service. You can plug in earbuds, give tunes a thumbs up or thumbs down ... and never have to listen to "Freebird" again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Debate ragin' for New Orleans festival cajuns

This week, Mac Rubinack ... aka, Dr. John ... was seen on Youtube expressing support for a plane that will be flying over next week's New Orleans Jazz Festival protesting Shell Oil Co.' s sponsorship of the event ... and oil exploration in Southern Louisiana.
Then, the good doctor had to issue a retraction, claiming he was exhausted and apologizing for reading someone else's words. In the retraction, Rubinack praises Shell for its sponsorship of the festival.
Oil is a big deal in Louisiana, and oil money does pay a lot of wages and for a lot of events in the region. It also is destroying the wetlands and environment.
The New Orleans festival is certainly the mac-daddy grandest of all festivals, probably in no small part due to the corporate largesse -- check out the schedule - there's almost 60 acts the first day.
No doubt many of the musicians are as conflicted as Dr. John. Maybe that's just part of the gumbo that makes New Orleans so damn funky, too.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jazz calendar for April 16

Trenton resident – and saxophonist extraordinaire -- Phil Woods will part of a special "Living Jazz Saxophone Legends" at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center 199 Chambers Street, between Greenwich and West Street tonight at 8 p.m. He’s mixing it up with Lou Donaldson, Michael Weiss, John Webber, Bill Goodwin – and Lew Tabackin. Tickets are $35 for this show, part of the Highlights in Jazz series at Manhattan Community College.

Friday, April 17
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.

The Trenton Marriott at 1 West Lafayette, always features live jazz music from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. No cover.

Head to the Creole Restaurant and Supper Club at 2167 Third Ave. in New York tonight at 8 p.m. for Grady Tate and Quintet
(John Di Martino, Noriko Ueda, Lance Murphy, Shinnosuki Takahashi and Chembo Corniel) and you may end up in the video being filmed for a documentary on the singer. If you don’t care about that, you can take in his 10 a.m. show or go Saturday night at 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. For information and reservations, call 212-876-8838, or check the Web site

Saturday, April 18
Dick Gratton
will be at The Farnsworth House in Bordentown from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday, April 19
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.

The new Jersey Jazz Society Afternoon of Jazz at the Morristown Community Theatre will feature the always-delightful Bucky Pizzarelli Trio, with Jerry Bruno and Aaron Weinstein, in a salutes to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Tickets are $15 and are available at the Community Theatre Box Office or by calling 973-539-8008.

Monday, April 20
West Coast trumpeter Bria Skönberg and trombonist Jim Fryer, who plays with the Nighthawks and leads his own bands, will be at the Bickford Theater in Morristown at 8 p.m. Monday. The duo’s Borderline Jazz Band includes reed player Anat Cohen, Mark Shane (piano), Gim Burton (banjo and guitar), Robbie Scott (drums) and Ed Wise (string bass). Tix are $15 in advance, $18 at the door (less for Morris Museum members) -- call 973-971-3706 to reserve yours.
They will also be at the Ocean County Library in Toms River Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 21
Pianist Tomoko Ohno has two shows at Shanghai Jazz tonight.

That’s all for this week – but next week is shaping up to be another dandy one for Central Jersey jazzbos – lots of local highlights and great shows.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bad idea or brilliant mashup?

Just read an article in the Detroit Free Press about an upcoming Kurt Elling performance there, where Mr. Elling plans to sing selections from John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. I'm not a fan of Kurt Elling, although I confess I've never seen him live and his reputation as one of the best these days is based more on his live performances than recordings.
But I'm still wondering if it's a good idea to bother doing something like this -- as much as I love the originals, many of them are standards Hartman could have sung anytime or anywhere. The legend goes Coltrane asked producer Bob Thiele to set up the recording, and when asked, Hartman demurred, feeling he wasn't up to singing with Coltrane.
Imagine trying to keep up with a force like John Coltrane in 1963!
The recordings work because, rather than use all of his power, Coltrane carefully chose his every note to bolster Hartman.
So, I'm wondering, what role does Elling see here? Is he the constrained uber-musician drawing emotion out by carefully avoiding playing to type? Or is he the self-effacing vocalist worried he'll be overshadowed by a powerful horn player?
Or is he is just picking six standards to sing with a featured sax player that coincides with the Coltrane-Hartman playlist?
I hope to have a chance to hear a clip from the performance ... maybe I'll become an Elling fan yet.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Freddie Hubbard tribute in Brooklyn

If you find yourself in Brooklyn April 19 ... stay for the tribute to Freddie Hubbard and Ronnie Mathews planned by the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium at SugarHill Restaurant & Supper Club, 609 DeKalb Avenue near Nostrand, in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn from 5 to 9 p.m.
Artists paying homage to Misters Mathews and Hubbard include: James Spaulding, Louis Hayes, George Cables, Dwayne Burno, Kenyatta Beasley and musical director Kiane Zawadi with a special poetic interlude by Louis Reyes Rivera plus other invited guest artists.

Ronnie Mathews' Brooklyn roots go back to his birth year of 1935. He has been compared by critics to Bud Powell and McCoy Tyner and the NY Daily News says of Ronnie, " . . . another stalwart figure who has yet to receive proper recognition". Jazz master Freddie Hubbard became a one name jazz icon while living in Brooklyn during the 60s and put the borough on the jazz map with his immortal live recording, "The Night Of The Cookers", in the jazz venue Club La Marchal.

This event is sponsored by Yamaha Corporation of America, Brooklyn Tourism and Visitors Center and the 47 members/organizations of Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Oh, dem bones

Listening to XM Radio's channel 70 this morning, when hostess Rhonda Hamilton played some J.J. Johnson and talked about Johnson's key role in making the trombone a vital instrument in jazz.
Johnson's virtuosity on his chosen instrument enabled him to hold the stage with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He died in 2001, and left a legacy that still echoes.
I hadn't really considered the trombone much before college, when our professor of jazz was a trombone player. After listening to him -- and checking out some of the recordings available -- I regretted my fateful decision in the third grade to not play the trombone in the school band.
Now, I can honestly say bones are a favorite. While there are many great players today, and many greats from the past, it seems the trombone is still not as commonly heard as trumpets and saxes.
But I can really dig the deep, full sound of trombones, and when in the right hands, I don't think anything swings like a trombone can. Check out J.J Johnson or Kai Winding ... Roswell Rudd ... Clifton Anderson ...Wycliffe Gordon ... ahh, there are too many!

Monday, April 6, 2009

D.C. al fine: Bud Shank

Saxophonist Bud Shank died yesterday at age 82 at his home in Tuscon, ending an amazing 60-year career.
I don't know where or when I first heard of Bud Shank, or heard Bud Shank, but he was the kind of jazzbo who seemed to always be around. He wasn't what one might consider an "A" list name, but his was an unforgettable name.
I plan to listen to his last release, 2007's "Beyond the Red Door" on Jazzed Media. Billboard gave it 4 out of 5 stars, and I'd agree. He would have been 79 or 80 at the time of the recording, but you'd never know it from his still-throaty sound. Bud wasn't the horn player to call for smooth fills, or soft backing -- I haven't heard all that much of his playing, but he always sounded like he was playing with energy and enjoyment. He was inventive when playing familiar lines, and dynamic when crafting his own solos.
Here's the Associated Press' report on Bud Shank:

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Bud Shank, a flutist and alto saxophonist who worked with such famous acts as the Mamas and the Papas, has died. He was 82.
Shank died Thursday of pulmonary failure at his home in Tucson, according to his Web site and JazzTimes magazine. No phone numbers were listed for Shank's home.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Shank worked with saxophonist Charlie Barnet in North Carolina before moving to California in the 1940s. There, he played with trumpeter Shorty Rogers and then pianist Stan Kenton.
Shank was one of the first jazz musicians to explore Brazilian music, and recorded a number for World Pacific, a world music label, from the 1950s to the 1970s, according to JazzTimes.
During his career, Shank worked with Sergio Mendes and the Mamas and the Papas. His flute work is heard in the latter's song, "California Dreamin.'"
Shank reached the Billboard charts in 1966 with his album Michelle, a collection of covers of pop hits.
More recently, Shank focused on his alto work and formed the Bud Shank Big Band in 2007. Shank was recording a new album in San Diego the day before he died.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A new jazz basement

There was a time when young musicians could play and practice as much as 18 hours a day -- in his biography "We called it Music," Eddie Condon said he and his pals in 1930s New York would get up in the middle of the afternoon, go to a paying gig, then head out in search of jams that would often last until daybreak.
Minton's Club in Harlem was a well-known after-hours destination for boppers in the late-40s and 1950s.
These opportunities gave rise to the great virtuosity of many musicians, and it's very difficult for players today to get anywhere near the same experience.
Up in North Jersey, Cory Dinkle is trying to hoping to create an open environment for jazz fans and players -- he posted an ad on Craigslist to see if anyone was interested. So far, he said he's gotten about a dozen responses -- now, they just need a location.
I wonder if anything like that would survive here ...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ever have a song get in your ear ...

...and you can't get it out? This happens to me most often when I'm working on a song, trying to get the melody and harmonic structure to stick. Earlier this week, I came a cross an arrangement of "Fly me to the moon" by Ted Greene, who was a phenomenal guitarist. After playing the song few times, I kept hearing the melody, singing it about the house and then digging out CDs with recordings of it ... a recording by Paula West on Verve is my favorite at the moment -- I love the way she plays with the melody.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Parents, teach your children well

And teach them jazz ... a great way to start is with the WBGO Kids Jazz Concerts series, Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. These free shows, held at a variety of venues, will introduce jazz and jazz culture to kids. Check out the schedule at, click on "events."

Thursday, April 2
Shanghai Jazz in Madison has a treat tonight: Gene Bertoncini will be onstage in the Bob Litwak Trio, with clarinetist Ron Odrich.
The Rowan University Lab Band and Big Band will perform in the school’s Pfleeger Concert Hall. The show is free; begins at 8 p.m.

Friday, April 3
Peddie School’s Jazz Friday series continues with Guillermo Nojechowicz and El Eco, hosted by the Community Arts Partnership at 8 p.m. in Hightstown. Tickets are $25 — call 609-490-7550 to reserve. Read more about El Eco here
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.
The Barry Levitt Trio, featuring guest saxophonist Zan Stewart, will be performing at the South Brunswick Jazz Café, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Herb Eckert Auditorium in the South Brunswick Senior Center, Friday. The trio is filling in for vocalist Marlene VerPlanck, who had to cancel due to an emergency. Admission is just $5, and light refreshments are available.
The Trenton Marriott at 1 West Lafayette, will have live jazz music from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. No cover.

Saturday, April 4
Dick Gratton
will be at The Farnsworth House in Bordentown from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The New Jersey Jazz Society is hosting a Night of Jazz at the Theatre at
Raritan Valley Community College in North Branch, featuring Five
Play, Rio Clemente,
vocalist Frank Noviello and Mark O’Connor at 7 p.m. April 4.
Tickets are $20 and $25 and are available at the box of´
fice by calling 908-725-3420.

Sunday, April 5

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.
Patriots Theater at the War Memorial presents "Red, White, Blue, Ragtime Revue," with Dave Wickerham, organ, and Dick Kroekel, piano, at 3 p.m. The show is being presented by the Garden State Theatre Organ Society. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 seniors and children – call the box office at 609-984-8400. For more information, click here

Monday, April 6
Bill Charlap, Peter Bernstein, Ravi Coltrane, Lewis Nash, Nicholas Payton, Peter Washington and Steve Wilson
will be at McCarter Theater for the Blue Note 70th Anniversary concert. Could you ask for anyone more? Go to to get your tickets.

Tuesday, April 7
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.

Wednesday, April 8
Cedar Walton, Javon Jackson, Buster Williams and Jimmy Cobb
open a four-night engagement at the Iridium.

Thursday, April 9
New Jersey Jazz Society presents the Rowan University Lab Band and Big Band at Pfeeger Concert Hall at 8 p.m. -- it's a free show!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Get ready for JAM

Each year since 2002, the Smithsonian Institution designates April as Jazz Appreciation Month in honor of the birth of Benny Goodman. It's a great opportunity to catch some fine music at a nearby venue, or dig deeper into the musicians you dig.
Click here to visit the National Museum of American History's Jazz Appreciation Month Web page, with links to calendars and events going on.
But everyone's getting in on it -- click here for WBGO's plans to celebrate.