Thursday, September 23, 2010

A movie about a guitarist ... by a guitarist



One of the coolest things about Steve Vai is that he is committed to his love of the instrument and music. Many artists have enjoyed artistic freedom, controlling their output and being able to maintain their visions thanks to his Favored Nations label.
Several years ago, Vai greenlighted a movie bio-pic about the legendary Hank Garland, called Crazy. I hadn't heard of this movie before coming across it on Netflix, and enjoyed it immensely.

Granted, it's a fictionalization, and gives short shrift to Garland's terrific jazz playing, but the first 30 minutes are a delight for fans of jazz guitar, western swing, or rockabilly playing. The opening shots of a room filled with Gibson and Gretsch archtops are a players' dream sequence.

For those unfamiliar with Garland, check out his recordings with Gary Burton. Burton says he went to Nashville to record with Boots Randolph, a local Evansville, Ind., hero when Burton was growing up, hired to play on Garland's jazz album.

The result is magic -- some of the best, hard swinging small combo music you'll hear. Garland reminds me of Barney Kessel at times, playing with that easy swing not matter the tempo, with a touch of blues every now and then.

His chord knowledge is just astounding, though. He jumps into quick chord stabs in the middle of a melodic run, then slips back into the run. Other times, he uses chains of chords to embellish a melody.

Check out Crazy if you like movies about musicians and great music. Watch for real-life guitarist Tony MacAlpine's screen debut as Wes Montgomery!

Oh, and producer Vai slips in for a moment Hank Williams.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Music service ... or disservice?

I subscribe to several music services, including Napster and eMusic, for accessing music for my listening enjoyment, for work and for teaching. All of these sites offer their helpful "picks" or recommendations, but there's a huge difference between the recommendations made by the sites.
Compare Napster's top picks to eMusic's:
Napster:
Lyla by Avishai Cohen
The Architect of Modern Bossa Nova (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
The Best of Dizzy Gillespie
Ultimate Big Band Collection: Glenn Miller
Body and Soul, by Louis Armstrong

eMusic:
Pathways, by the Dave Holland Octet
Kind of Blue, by you know who
Lush Life, by John Coltrane
Half the Perfect Word, by Madeleine Peyroux

This a list of really great and important work done half-a-century ago ... and three new releases. Making Kind of Blue
one of your picks on these sights is analagous to "phoning it in": you've obviously not heard anything new so you're falling back for the obvious.

In fairness, both sites are pushing Esperanza Spalding on the eve of her new release, which is great. Scroll down a little bit to find my opinions of Ms. Spalding.

But as wonderful as she is, she is but one of hundreds of hugely talented people recording and touring today. Most of whom are getting the short end of the stick because record companies -- and their apparent proxies, the music services -- are beholden to their back catalogs of classic recordings.

If jazz is in trouble, it's because these companies have decided the marketplace only has the capacity to grow by one or two new names each year (this year's additions are Michael Buble and Spalding). There's more money to be mined in what was recorded 50 years ago, so why bother?

It's got to be extremely difficult for musicians to get their names known and to build any kind of music sales -- it's not right to make them compete with Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

An extra treat at the Somerville Jazz Festival

Made it to Somerville in time to catch all of Louis Hayes' set -- the set list included some Monk, some Coltrane, some Adderley ... Hubbard and Shorter tunes. Terrific!
I took a Bloggie, hoping to capture at least one performance but forgot to change the settings -- after getting about 2 minutes of the opening tune, the memory card was full and the camera jammed up ... but I did get this video of the mayor of Somerville, Brian Gallagher, declaring Sept. 12 as "Louis Hayes Day" in Somerville.




Here's Louis showing off his proclamation:



Wouldn't it have been great to have captured a bit of the performance -- especially since Hayes brought Javon Jackson out! What a great treat!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Central Jersey jazz weekend

This weekend offers local jazz fans a feast and a festival ... Princeton's Jazz Feast on Saturday, and Sunday's Somerville Jazz Festival. Both have great lineups -- can you make both?

Princeton's feast opens with the Princeton University Jazz Ensemble -- a top notch group -- and follows with the New Legacy Jazz Band. Bucky Pizzarelli returns at 2:30 to help accompany Nicki Parrott -- that will be a great treat.

The afternoon is rounded out with The Fins and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks will wrap things up.

Sunday's fun begins at 1 p.m. and has a fabulous lineup: The Curtis Brothers, "Sweet Papa" Lou Donaldson, Melissa Walker and the great Louis Hayes to close it. Last year, the festival ended with Jimmy Heath -- do I see a pattern here? If so, it's a good one!

Both events are downtown and outside, so plan on getting in early for the best spots.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday in Princeton

Came across Adam Parker-Lavine and friends playing at Princeton's Farmers Market today:





Sorry for the lo-fi audio, but it's always nice to hear live music enhancing a gathering.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Jazz in Jersey City Friday


If you've a taste for jazz delivered fresh, head to Casa Dante in Jersey City, Friday. Laura Hull will be joining Vic Juris and Steve LaSpina for a set starting at 7:30 p.m.
If you've not heard Ms. Hull, be sure to visit her website; ditto for Mr. Juris, one of the best guitarists in the area. They should make a great combination.Ms. Hull is not only one of New Jersey's busiest performers, she's also the current president of the New Jersey Jazz Society.
Casa Dante is at 737 Newark Ave.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Brunswick project taking off

New Brunswick is an often-overlooked oasis of terrific jazz, much of it safely cocooned within Rutgers' scattered venues.

Recently, a group of in-town jazzbos launched the New Brunswick Jazz Project, aimed at increasing the visibility and awareness of jazz in the Queen City. Headed by Rutgers prof – and Posi-Tone Records artist -- Ralph Bowen, the group has emerged as a solid source of jazz performers around town. I had a chance to review Bowen's Due Reverence for AllAboutJazz.com recently – you can read the review here.

The group has been organizing events in recent weeks, and Thursday, saxophonist Todd Bashore and his quartet will perform at Makeda at 338 George St. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., runs to 11 p.m., and there's no cover charge. The quartet includes pianist Orrin Evans, Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and Chris Brown on drums.

This show is a bit of a tune-up date for the group, which will be recording in August, ahead of Bashore's departure to hook up with the Max Weinberg Big Band for an upcoming tour.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summertime, and the re-issues are jumpin' ...

It's the middle of the summer, apparently not the best time to release a new CD. For those willing to try, beware of the competition!
According to AllAboutJazz.com's CD release schedule, this month has been rife with re-issues. From John Coltrane to Charles Mingus, Louis Armstrong to Bill Evans, it's been a crowded field of big names. Revamped, re-issued, reworked or re-mastered, it's a tough crowd to go against.
Next month perks up, though, with releases from Dave Liebman, Esperanza Spalding, Brian Bromberg, Vijay Iyer, Kenny Werner and Jeff Berlin.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brains, beauty ... and a bass

If you've not listened to Esperanza Spalding, you're missing out on a rare treat.
Spalding is a 25-year-old dynamo, maybe the best thing to happen to jazz in a decade or two because she has the star quality missing from so many young players. Eldar and Julian Lage are exciting players, but Spalding is not only a capable player -- she's also a singer capable of making a song her own.

Check out this video of her performing Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed":



We can thank Pat Metheny for this treat: the story goes Esperanza was ready to quit Berklee after spending two semesters lugging her bass around, and switch to a political science major. But Metheny told her not to, pointing out she has the undefinable quality that can make an artist rise above others.

Need more proof? Here she is Jimmy Kimmel's show:





How can jazz be dying when it draws someone so full of life?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fairy tales can come true ... it can happen to you

Choosing to be a musician is a commitment for the long-term, especially if one aspires to be a jazz musician. For every Jamie Callum or Eldar, there are thousands of determined players woodshedding every day and dreaming of having a hit record.
They may have even already recorded the tracks that will break through – and don’t know it. That’s what happened to New Jersey pianist Joel Zelnik.
Zelnik is a regular performer in New York and Northern New Jersey clubs, where he and his wife Francine Evans draw crowds with their tributes to Frank Sinatra, Big Band girl singers and other shows.
His career began in the late 1960s, when he formed the J. Zelnik Trio. The group’s swinging performances earned them lots of fans, including Dr. Billy Taylor, who would feature tracks from an LP recorded by the trio in 1970, Move, regularly on his radio shows.
Turns out, Move is a big hit in Japan … in 2010.
The album wasn’t a big seller initially, in fact, when the son of the trio’s drummer David Rosenburg, who died some years after the recording was made, wanted to hear his late-father’s work a few years ago, the only copy anyone seemed to know about was on Zelnik’s shelf.
Zelnik made a copy of the recording and sent it to Jay Rosenburg (son of David). Jay enjoyed it so much, he began a one-man crusade to spread the music of the J. Zelnik Trio.
Thanks to the Internet, Japanese businessman Keisuke Taniguchi became a fan, investing time and money in producing a CD to release in Japan.
Search online for the J. Zelnik Trio and a handful of Japanese sources pop up – using Google’s translator, a few things were clear: the album is legendary among jazz fans there (and they are a dedicated and informed bunch); it features such tunes as “Tune Up,” “A Minor Thought” and “Will You be Mine”;… and it’s selling out.
It’s such a hit, the Japanese Think! Label has already arranged to release a follow-up, Joel Zelnik Trio Live At Steinway Piano Gallery.
Both recordings are available stateside from Dusty Groove’s American site, dustygroove.com.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summary judgment: Royce Campbell

I just received a new CD from guitarist Royce Campbell, the third he's kindly sent me to review. While I owe him a longer writeup on his "Movie Songs Project" with Phil Woods, I wanted to share his name and my thoughts on his music sooner than I'll be able to do otherwise.
Campbell's latest release is "Solo Trane" (on Moon Cycle Records), a collection of John Coltrane tunes arranged for the guitar. Most musicians have enough trouble getting comfortable with Coltrane's often-complex harmonic ideas to skip trying to craft intelligent or creative arrangements -- it's all about the speed of soloing for too many Coltrane-wannabes. I've only had a chance to hear about half of the release, but it's clear Campbell is firing on all cylinders on these cuts. His treatment of "Naima" is magnificent; quietly passionate while still exploring all of the harmonic potentials of the song.
"Trane Track" gets a fun, strummed treatment to bounce melody and solo lines from ... I'm anxious to hear it again.
"The Movie Songs Project" (on Philology Jazz), a collection of movie soundtracks with bassist Bob Bowen, drummer Ron Free -- and a freelancing Phil Woods -- will satisfy bebop fans of such soundtrack faves as "Manha De Carnival" or "Laura." This group plays with classic cool, easily swinging while soloists tear through. Woods plays with a quiet intensity -- you can always count on quality improvisation with him, but he seems to be enjoying this outing a lot. I never thought of "Baby Elephant Walk" as much more than a novelty tune, but in the hands of capable musicians ...
The first listen I had of Campbell was his "Art of Chord Solo Guitar," which I wrote about for AllAboutJazz.com (you can read it here).
I found Campbell's solo work to be top-notch; it's great to see he isn't hindered in a band setting -- or by some of jazz's most challenging compositions.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A look at musicians' hard lives

If you'd like to get a pretty realistic glimpse of the life of a jazz musician, turn in to HBO's "Treme," set in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Several of the show's primary characters are musicians, jazz or other, who eke out a living in one of America's most musical cities. If you can't make it here, can you anywhere?
Wendell Pierce stars as trombonist Antoine Batiste, marching in funeral lines by day and gigging anywhere he can at night. In one early episode, a taxi driver holds onto his horn while Antoine checks in on a gig, getting an advance to cover the fare.
Rob Brown's New York-based Delmond Lambreaux walks out of a gig at Small's in one episode to head south.
The show has featured appearances by Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Sammie Williams, Donald Harrison Jr., Galactic, Trombone Shorty Andrews, Deacon John, The Pine Leaf Boys, and the Rebirth and Tremé Brass Bands for additional local flavor.
The show doesn't gloss over some of the hard realities of being a musician -- for example, both Antoine and Delmond are estranged from their families initially (Antoine seems to have a couple ...), which adds a smack of realism.
If you really want to see life on a jazz tour, though, check out the blog saxophonist Froy Aagre wrote for Jazz.com here. There's a bit of culture shock as she discovers the difference between being a professional musician in Europe and one in America, but it's also great to see things through her eyes ... and ears.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer's near and jazz is in the air

Last night launched John Henry Goldman's summer series of perfomances at Labyrinth Books on Nassau Street in Princeton, which will continue each Wednesday night through July. If you missed it, you can catch John Henry, with Luke Abruzzo, Gary Schaeffer and Mike Ipri at Tre Pieni in Forestal Village at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Friday, you can catch the VooDudes at the South Brunswick Jazz Cafe at 8 p.m., Dick Gratton at the Chambers Walk Cafe in Lawrenceville from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. And next weekend, enjoy the Wendy Zoffer Jazz Group at the Princeton Shopping Center from noon to 3 p.m. June 12, or help Stanley Jordan raise money for CASA Mercer County at the Salt Creek Grille in Forrestal Village on June 13 (the same day Fred Hersch and Joel Frahm are at the Lawrenceville School as part of the Princeton Festival).
There's so much great music to enjoy in Central Jersey -- be sure to get out and show your support for your favorite musicians.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Time to move on?

I'm about to betray my generation, but I have to say I'm growing tired of the music of my youth. This is something that many of my fellow baby boomers apparently haven't felt ... yet.

While I still dearly love listening to -- and regularly do -- the music I grew up with, from the Beatles to George Benson, and Deep Purple to Return to Forever, I am forever hunting down new music to enjoy.

In recent years, I've found some recordings that I think will hold up over the years, just the way "Sgt. Pepper's" or "Kind of Blue" has, and I've mentioned them in other posts.

But I find the inability of many people to hear and fully enjoy such new music to be completely mystifying -- how can you find satisfaction in a steady diet of 50 or 60 year old music?

Dare I say it? Those recordings and musicians were great, but were not perfect. And you can be assured the last thing Miles Davis would have wanted is for his fans to stop hearing new music.

Thanks to sources like Napster, emusic and CD Baby, it's possible to consume a huge amount of new music, releases from musicians you've never heard of, from all around the globe.

Many are uninteresting or dully conceived; many are dazzling and brilliant. Are they as ground-breaking as "Giant Steps" was? No ... but how often can you listen to that and still feel it's originality?

I don't know if Ray Barretto's "Time is, time was" will be a classic, but I know I love to hear it as much as I love hearing Weather Report's "Black Market."

I don't know if critics and listeners will treasure Stefon Harris and Blackout's "Urbanus" as much as they treasure Charles Mingus' "Ah um," but I know it gives me the same pleasure as the first times I heard Mingus.

Some musicians attain greatness through ideas that flash like brilliant meteors; others are great through the brilliance of solid and steady performance. It's not always easy to tell which is which, when all we see is the brilliance, but you'll never know if you've closed your eyes.

Need proof? Check out the documentary "Jazz in the Present Tense," by directors Lars Larson, Peter J. Vogt and Michael Rivoira. It's not available widely yet, but here's a review by AllAboutJazz.com editor John Kelman that details the film's highlights.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mary Lou, we hardly know ya ...

The Princeton University Concert Jazz Ensemble will be paying tribute Saturday to Mary Lou Williams, possibly jazz's most overlooked genius, on the centennial of her birth.

Maybe it was her gender, maybe it was the company she kept (she worked for Dorsey, Goodman, Ellington ... you name it, anyone with a decent band in the 1930s wanted her arrangements), maybe she's just not had the kind of continuous presence many others have gotten; whatever the reasons, it's time to correct the oversight and give her her due.

Let's hope this concert goes a long way towards doing so. If it doesn't, it won't be because of the music: the jazz ensemble -- directed by Anthony Branker -- will play Williams' "New Musical Express," "Mary’s Idea," "Walkin’ and Swingin,’" "In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee" and other standards she wrote or arranged.

Tickets are $15 and can be reserved here.

If you want to sample Williams' work, check out the fun novelty boogie-woogie "47th Street Jive," or "Harmony Blues." On for a longer listen, try the "Zodiac Suite" from 1945. Later on, Williams took to writing gospel music, capped by the beautiful "Black Christ of the Andes" in 1964. She returned to writing jazz, releasing such gems as 1974's soul jazz outing "Zoning."

Mary Lou Williams' unerring ear kept her composing through five decades of music, and she was always able to bring something new to her work. She deserves wider recognition and appreciation, which Saturday's concert may help launch.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Enjoy a big band?

If you enjoy big band music, there are precious few opportunities to hear one outside of New York City.

One regular exception is the Jazz Celebration Big Band, which performs (almost) monthly at the Temperance House in Newtown, Pa. -- and will at 8 p.m. April 29.

The band will also have an added attraction: former Woody Herman saxophonist Larry McKenna. As Cadence magazine noted in a review of one of McKenna's releases, he shows "the skills and stylistic mannerisms that earned him a spot in the 1959 Woody Herman band and the high esteem of his home city's Jazz community."

Reserve tickets now for this event, which often sells out -- even without headliners like McKenna -- thanks to the band's quality and vocalist Claudia Perry.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jazz writers pick award nominees

The Jazz Journalists Association announced the finalists for the 2010 Jazz Awards, with a nice mix of young and old musicians in the list of the nominated.

Some of the newer names worth checking out are bandleader Darcy James Argue (who garnered nominations in five categories (Up & Coming Artist of the Year, Composer, Arranger, Big Band for his Secret Society and Record of the Year) and Vijay Iyer (nominated for Musician of the Year, Composer, Record, Small Ensemble and Pianist).

Lifetime Achievement in Jazz nominees include Muhal Richard Abrams, Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Wayne Shorter and Randy Weston -- and how James Moody and especially Wayne Shorter haven't already been awarded this honor must be a bit of an embarassment for the JJA. From Art Blakey to Weather Report, Shorter was a great contributor to the sound of jazz in the '60s to the '80s. Any self-respecting musician should know at least a handful of Shorter's compositions.

Nominees for Record of the Year include Argue's "Infernal Machines" and the Vijay Iyer Trio's "Historicity," and "Travail, Transformation and Flow" by the Steve Lehman Octet, "Folk Art" by Joe Lovano, Henry Threadgill's "This Brings Us To" and "Esta Plena" by Miguel Zenón.

New Jersey is well represented on the list -- with Bucky Pizzarelli up for Guitarist of the Year honors, and two WBGO hosts nominated for the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting: Josh Jackson, for his "The Checkout -- Live at the Village Vanguard" program and (naturally) Gary Walker's "Morning Jazz."

Before the winners are announced, check out the nominees you haven't heard -- I guarantee you'll find some excellent jazz.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shows to see this week

I haven't been able to stay current with all of the great performances these days, but here are a few Central Jersey Jazz highlights to check out:

The John Bianculli Trio with Earl Sauls on bass and Taro Okamoto on drums will be at Steakhouse 85 on Church Street in New Brunswick from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Philadelphia-based Ellipsis will be at Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Avenue in Princeton, 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Stryker-Slagle (that's Dave Stryker and Steve Slagle) are featured at Trumpets Jazz in Montclair, Saturday.

Bucky Pizzarelli should be declared some kind of national treasure -- see why when he plays at Shanghai Jazz Wednesday night.

And guitarist Dick Gratton is featured in Lawrenceville twice this week: Friday at Chambers Walk Cafe and Saturday at Amalfi's.

Get out and enjoy live jazz this week.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March: in like a jazz lion

Thursday, March 11
Join the fun at the Hopewell Inn with the jazz jam lead by Jim Popik, of Black Diamond Jazz. Bring your horn, ax or sticks anytime after 8 p.m.

Friday, March 12
The John Bianculli Trio, with vocalist Jackie Jones will be at Christopher’s at the Heldrich Hotel, 10 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Dick Gratton is at the Chambers Walk Café in Lawrenceville from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays.

If you’re a fan of guitarist Dave Stryker, you’ll be glad to know he’s got a new CD out, One for Reedus (Steeplechase, 2010) -- head to Cecil’s in West Orange from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. for the CD release gig. Appearing with him are Jared Gold on organ, and drummer Steve Williams.

Jerry Vivino brings his quartet to Shanghai Jazz in Madison tonight. It’ll be a good time – although he might be playing more blues since the gig with Conan ended …

Sarah Partridge
sings for the crowd at Hibiscus Restaurant at tonight’s Jazz Friday show, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Eryn Shewell may be New Jersey’s next “big thing”: her compositions cover everything from folk to R&B; her voice moves from Norah Jones smooth to Janice Joplin rough … when matched with her guitar chops and terrific band, it’s a rich combination. You can catch her at Giamano’s Restaurant in Bradley Beach at 8 p.m. tonight.

Guitarist Jim DeAngelis will be at Bottagra Restaurant in Hawthorne at 7:30 p.m. tonight with Jake Kulik, Lady Ci Ci and Don Williams.

Saturday, March 13
Pepe Moralli is this week’s featured jazz disciple at the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St. in Trenton, today. Music starts at 3 p.m.

Rio Clemente will be performing at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. with Carmine and Dorayne Lombardo at The Bickford Theater in Morristown.
Call 973-971-3706 to purchase tickets.

Gordon James will spice up the offerings on Princeton’s Salt Creek Grille menu. Stop in from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and catch Gordon with his bandmates, Richard Cummings on piano, Chris Plunkett on bass, and Al Johnson on drums.

Sunday, March 14
The Brook Arts Center, in Bound Brook, is hosting an afternoon jazz event with guitarist Joel Perry at 3p.m. Tickets are $10 per person in advance ($15 at the door) and may be purchased at www.ticketweb.com, www.ticketmaster.com, at Mama Rosina’s Restaurant at the Bound Brook Train Station, or by calling the theatre at 732-469-7700. Perry has played with Lavern Baker, Joni Mitchell, Herb Ellis, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Foster and Ken Peplowski. His quartet will include Nick Scheuble on drums; Bill Crow on bass and vocalist Frank Noviello.

Pam Purvis, Bob Ackerman and Matt Chertkoff are at Cecil’s in West Orange at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, March 15
McCoy Tyner comes to Princeton's McCarter Theatre for a 7:30 p.m. Monday night gig with Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Jim Jasion and His Jazz (the Somerset Jazz Consortium Horn Squad) will be at Home Town Buffet, 561 US Highway 1, Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, March 16
Ron Oswanski tickles the keys on his Hammond B3 at the Hibiscus Restaurant Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Somerset Jazz Consortiumjam session lead by Jim Jasion has moved to the Subterranean Recording Studios in Edison. Call Jim if you’re interested in joining -- 732-325-7464.

Wednesday, March 17
The Somerset Jazz Consortium Second Generation Band will be at Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Vocalist Margie Notte entertains at Libretti’s Restaurant, 554 Orange St. in Orange, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Here's a movie to look for

Eric Reed and Stacy Dillard are testing out their acting chops in a new movie in production called "Chaography," which looks to be a fresh take on jazz music. Director Doug Chang is putting the film together, mixing stories his father told of the old Jazz Gallery Club in New York, with the thoughts and words of real-life musicians like Reed and Dillard.
To avoid falling prey to big studios' preconceived notions of jazz and jazz musicians -- think "Bird" and "'Round Midnight" -- Chang is working with a new business model (act fast and you too can be a co-producer!). Read R.J. DeLuke's story about it at AllAboutJazz.com.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Time to stomp

The New Jersey Jazz Society does a lot for jazz fans -- and for the future of jazz. One project the NJJS undertakes is the support of young jazz musicians, with scholarships awarded to students at New Jersey's fine schools of jazz: Rutgers University, William Paterson University, Rowan University and New Jersey City University.

Scholarships for Rutgers students are funded by the Pee Wee Russell Memorial Scholarship Fund, in memory of the clarinetist. The fund is maintained by the proceeds of the annual Pee Wee Stomp -- this year's event will be noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany. Tickets are $25 for NJJS members and $30 for non-members -- a terrific value for the show that includes performnaces by the Mark Shane Trio with Terry Blaine, Jon-Erik Kellso's EarRegulars, Kevin Dorn's Traditional Jazz Collective -- and this year's winners of the NJJS Jazz Scholarships. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are headlining -- here's a video:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is it clear?

The last few weeks' performances have been scrambled by the weather -- a special event planned by John Bianculli has been delayed, possibly until April, and the Jazz Celebration Big Band February show at the Temperence House in Newtown, Pa., was called off.

And to top it off, the launch of a new jazz jam in Hopewell, led by Jim Popik was pushed back to this week. But get over the Hopewell Valley Inn, at 15 E. Broad St. in Hopewell, at 8 p.m. and be a part of tonight's launch.

Friday, March 5

Gordon James, with bandmates Matt King, Chris Plunkett and Al Johnson will be at the South Brunswick Arts Council Jazz Café performing 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Café is in the South Brunswick Municipal Complex, 540 Route 522 (Ridge Road), Monmouth Junction. Admission is $5 and there are refreshments.

Vocalist Amanda Homi will join the John Bianculli Trio at Christopher’s at the Heldrich Hotel, 10 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Joining them will be Tom Baker on drums and saxophonist Nick Franciosa. John, Tom and Nick head to Steakhouse 85 for a Saturday night gig.

Dick Gratton keeps them coming to the Chambers Walk Café in Lawrenceville on Friday nights. Come hear why from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Frank Noviello is the featured headliner tonight for the Hibiscus Restaurant’s Jazz Friday show, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, March 6

Jeff Hackman is this week's featured jazz disciple at the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St. in Trenton, today. Music starts at 3 p.m.

Terrence McManus and Gerry Hemingway will be at Small World Coffee, on Witherspoon Street in Princeton, at 8:30 p.m.

Laura Hull is at Cecil’s, in West Orange, tonight and Saturday night, with pianist Steve Myerson. The music starts at 9 p.m.

B.D. Lenz will perform at Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 5 – 8 p.m.

The John Bianculli Trio-- John Bianculli, Tom Baker and Nick Franciosa -- will be at New Brunswick’s STEAKHOUSE 85, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Joe Licari plays at the Palazzo Restaurant in Montclair.

Sunday, March 7

Anthony Branker and Ascent will be at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, on Witherspoon Street in Princeton. The event starts at 3 p.m.; tickets are $15/ $10 for ACP members. For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here or call 609-924-8777.

Pete Escovedo and the WPU Latin Jazz Ensemble will be onstage at William Paterson University’s Shea Theatre at 4 p.m. Admission is $15 ( $12 for seniors and $8 for students).

Pam Purvis, Bob Ackerman and Matt Chertkoff are at Cecil’s in West Orange at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, March 8

Jim Jasion and His Jazz (the Somerset Jazz Consortium Horn Squad) will be at Home Town Buffet, 561 US Highway 1, Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9

Nikki Denner will be at the Hibiscus Restaurant Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium jam session lead by Jim Jasion has moved to the Subterranean Recording Studios in Edison. Call Jim if you’re interested in joining -- 732-325-7464.

Wednesday, March 10

The Somerset Jazz Consortium Second Generation Band will be at Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Vocalist Margie Notte entertains at Libretti’s Restaurant, 554 Orange St. in Orange, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

John Bushnell Mary Fowle will be at BT Bistro, on Route1 I Princeton, 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 11

Jim Popik and the JP3 will host a jazz jam at The Hopewell Bistro, part of the Hopewell Valley Inn at 15 E. Broad St. in Hopewell, starting at 8 p.m.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday, Feb. 18
Rio Clemente … The Bernards Inn … it’s your Thursday night date night. The Inn is at 27 Mine Brook Road in Bernards. You can enjoy Rio from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m.

Shenole Latimer will appear in a special community outreach performance at the Secaucus Public Library at 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 19
It’s 40 miles away (according to my Mapquest), but Randy Brecker makes a good reason to travel anywhere – he’ll be at the Sellersville Theater 1894, at 24 West Temple Ave. in Sellersville, Pa.(it’s just a bit west of Doylestown). Curtain opens at 8 p.m.

The John Bianculli Trio and vocalist Jackie Jones are moving up to "The Jazzberry Patch" at the Classic Quiche Café, at 330 Queen Anne Road in Teaneck. There’s a $10 cover but it all goes to the band, which includes Jonathon Peretz on drums, and Nick Franciosa on sax.

Singer Francine Evans has hit on a great idea with the show she and her pianist/husband Joel Zelnik have arranged, “Girl Singers of the ‘50s.” They will perform the hits of such great performers as of Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney, Gogi Grant and Dinah Washington Friday at Mina's-On-The-Mountain, 140 Rifle Camp Road in Woodland Park (West Paterson). The restaurant has two shows scheduled, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., and 10 to 11 p.m. Call 973-279-7400 to make reservations.

Dick Gratton returns to Chambers Walk Café in Lawrenceville tonight, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Betty Liste and Bill Robinson are featured tonight for the Hibiscus Restaurant’s Jazz Friday show, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Dana Reedy Trio will perform at Lounge Zen, 254 DeGraw Ave. in Teaneck, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Feb. 19. There’s a $10 minimum; call 201-692-1002 to make your reservations.

Crossing Vineyards and Winery’s All That Jazz show will feature the Karen Rodriguez Latin Jazz Ensemble 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight at the vineyard at 53 Wrightstown Road, Washington Crossing, Pa. Call 215-493-6500 for more information.

Saturday, Feb. 20
Gregg Riley will be this week’s featured jazz disciple at the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St. in Trenton, today. Music starts at 3 p.m.

Jazz Master Kenny Barron will host a master class at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 36 South 8th St., Allentown, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults. Click here to get your tickets. The class will include Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts instructors Frank DiBussolo and Greg Eicher, and selected students.

Laura Hull will be at Ponte Vecchio at Murray Hill Inn in New Providence, starting at 6:30 p.m. Laura will be joined by guitarist John Hart and Jon Burr on bass.

The Darla Rich Quintet will be at the Hopewell Inn, 15 E. Broad St. in Hopewell, from 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

The John Bianculli Trio, with Earl Sauls on bass and Taro Okamoto on drums, will be at
New Brunswick’s STEAKHOUSE 85, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.


Sunday, Feb. 21
The Princeton University Jazz Vespers Ensemble will perform at University Chapel at 11 a.m. The concert is free, but it’s good to reserve tickets.

Rio Clemente will be playing at the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan from 2 p.m. 4 p.m.

Pam Purvis, Bob Ackerman and Matt Chertkoff are at Cecil’s in West Orange at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 22
Jim Jasion and His Jazz (the Somerset Jazz Consortium Horn Squad) will be at Home Town Buffet, 561 US Highway 1, Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 23
Tomoko Ohno returns to the Hibiscus Restaurant Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium jam session lead by Jim Jasion has moved to the Subterranean Recording Studios in Edison. Call Jim if you’re interested in joining -- 732-325-7464.

Wednesday, Feb. 24
The Somerset Jazz Consortium Second Generation Band will be at Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Vocalist Margie Notte entertains at Libretti’s Restaurant, 554 Orange St. in Orange, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Adrienne and Josh Hindmarsh will be at Paramus’ Chakra Lounge 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 25
Jim Popik and the JP3 will host a jazz jam at The Hopewell Bistro, part of the Hopewell Valley Inn at 15 E. Broad St. in Hopewell, starting at 8 p.m.

The Jazz Celebration Big Band will be back at the Temperance House in Newtown, Pa., playing 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. Feb. 25.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Make a mighty wind to blow away the storm

There's a winter storm heading our way -- but let's hope it spares us: there's too many wonderful opportunities for great music.
Start with a special appearance by uber-bassist Michael Manring at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. Feb. 4. It's being presented The Folk Project, a non-profit organization promoting acoustic music in Northern New Jersey. Admission will be $20 at the door -- and if you've seen Manring play, you'll know he's worth it.


Advance tickets may be purchased before the show for $15 at www.folkproject.org. For further information, contact Pam Robinson at concerts@folkproject.org or 908-591-6491.

Thursday, Feb. 4

Rio Clemente will be at The Bernards Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. tonight.

How about a rematch of Jazz vs. the Space Tiger? Head to BT Bistro on Route 1 in West Windsor for the opening round at 9 p.m. It’s an acid-jazz title fight …

Al Oliver and Gerry Groves will perform on sax and flute, respectively, at Nick’s Café 72, on West Upper Ferry Road in West Trenton, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

It’s Jazz Night at Princeton University’s Café Vivian, in the Frist Campus Center. Come out at 11:30 p.m. to hear the Princeton University Jazz Program. Anthony D.J. Branker will be directing.


Friday, Feb. 5
The John Bianculli Trio and vocalist Jackie Jones will be at
Christopher’s at the Heldrich Hotel, 10 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick. There’s no cover for the music, offered from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. The trio heads to Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick tomorrow ...

Dick Gratton returns to Chambers Walk Café in Lawrenceville tonight, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Lauren Hooker is known for her arrangements of standards that utilize her three-octave range for best effect. Hear and see her at the Hibiscus Restaurant in the Morristown Inn, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Pam Purvis is headlining at the Hibiscus

The Franklin-Alison Jazz Quartet will be at the Salt Creek Grille from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 6
Jim Stewart will be this week’s featured jazz disciple at the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St. in Trenton, today. Music starts at 3 p.m.

Dick Gratton returns to Bordentown’s Farnsworth House, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Eryn Shewell will be at The Shoppes at the Arcade in Asbury Park at 6 p.m. Feb. 6. She’s coming to Small World Coffee in Princeton next week.

Lauren Hooker will perform at Lounge Zen, 254 DeGraw Ave. in Teaneck, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Feb .6
There’s a $10 minimum; call 201-692-1002 to make your reservations.

Black Diamond Jazz, the collaboration of guitarist James Popik, bass player Mark Amentt, and Kartikkeya on drums and percussion, will blend bebop, blues, Americana and World Jazz at Princeton’s Small World Coffee at 8:30 p.m. Small World calls it “Scofield meets Metheny meets Dharma” Jazz.

Sunday, Feb. 7
Pam Purvis, Bob Ackerman and Matt Chertkoff are at Cecil’s in West Orange at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 8
Jim Jasion and His Jazz (the Somerset Jazz Consortium Horn Squad) will be at Home Town Buffet, 561 US Highway 1, Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 9
Sarah Jane Cion entertains at the Hibiscus Restaurant Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium jam session lead by Jim Jasion has moved to the Subterranean Recording Studios in Edison. Call Jim if you’re interested in joining -- 732-325-7464.

Wednesday, Feb. 10
The Somerset Jazz Consortium Second Generation Band will be at Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Vocalist Margie Notte entertains at Libretti’s Restaurant, 554 Orange St. in Orange, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hindmarsh duo video

Adrienne and Josh Hindmarsh have been performing around New York and New Jersey, putting their spin on tghe Songbook's standards -- here's a video of them performing "Cheek to Cheek" they sent. If you like what you hear, catch them Friday at the Players Club in the city (from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), or at the Chakra Lounge (on Route 4 in Paramus) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 10.

video

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Saturday night packed with jazz

A benefit for Haitian relief Saturday will bring John Bianculli with Jackie Jones and friends; Black Symphony Circle; Gary Kaplan with the Fletchers; Sailors in Rags; Isabel Ruano; Brian Szura and friends; and Mark and Sedna together at Highland Park High School auditorium 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Admission is a donation at the door to charities supporting Haiti relief — they’ve set a minimum request of $15 for adults and $5 for children.

Thursday, Jan. 28
David Sanborn will take the stage at the South Orange Performing Arts Center with Joey DeFrancesco at 8 p.m. – hit that hyperlink and see if there are any tickets left.

Rio Clemente will be at The Bernards Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. tonight. He’ll be at the Bickford Theater, 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday, and returns to Attilios Tavern in Dover Tuesday night … busy man.

The Jazz Celebration Big Band is back at the Temperance House, 5 S. State St., Newtown,Pa., tonight, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The 17-piece band features vocalist Claudia Perry. Reservations are recommended – call 215-860-9975.

Friday, Jan. 29
The John Bianculli Trio adds vocalist Jackie Jones and drummer Jonathon Peretz for tonight’s entertainment at
Christopher’s at the Heldrich Hotel, 10 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick. There’s no cover for the music, offered from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.

Dick Gratton holds the chair at Chambers Walk Café in Lawrenceville, playing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Lauren Hooker is known for her arrangements of standards that utilize her three-octave range for best effect. Hear and see her at the Hibiscus Restaurant in the Morristown Inn, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Pianist Dre Barnes will be at Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick.

Small World Coffee is bringing the jazz-funk music of Soul Cycle to Princeton. 8;30 p.m. on Witherspoon St. – just follow the groove …

Saturday, Jan. 30
Percussionist Randy Sutin joins the Jazz Disciples at the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St. in Trenton, today. Music starts at 3 p.m.

Dick Gratton returns to Bordentown’s Farnsworth House, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet will be at McCarter Theater at 7:30 p.m. ‘Nuff said … except Esperanza Spalding is with him.

Weather forecasters are calling for a cold spell this weekend; jazz forecasters are calling for a hot spell at Kingston’s United Methodist Church -- Dave Kaczorowski (bass), Adrian Valosin (drums) and Jim Desalvo (piano) will be the heat on the church’s “Hot Jazz on a Cold Night” series. Get warm at 7 p.m. The church is at 9 Church St. in Kingston (just off Route 28).

Reeds, Rhythm and All That Brass will swing Saturday night away, performing at the First Presbyterian Church, 14 Hanover Road, East Hanover, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The event is a swing dance concert – but listeners are welcome, too. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information, call 908-591-6491 or go to www.folkproject.org.

Sunday, Jan. 31
Vocalist Marcus Goldhaber has been collecting raves while singing at the Night Hotel in New York – he’s making his New Jersey debut at The Meadowlands Environment Center in Lyndhurst today, with shows at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. He’ll perform with The Jon Davis Trio, including Martin Wind on bass, and Marcello Pellitteri on drums. Cover charge is $10.

Pam Purvis, Bob Ackerman and Matt Chertkoff are at Cecil’s in West Orange at 5:30 p.m. Not enough? Pam will be at the Hibiscus Restaurant Feb. 5, so you can enjoy more of her singing.

Monday, Feb. 1
Jim Jasion and His Jazz (the Somerset Jazz Consortium Horn Squad) will be at Home Town Buffet, 561 US Highway 1, Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 2
Pianist … composer … vocalist … Lou Watson offers audiences a lot – check him out Tuesday at the Hibiscus Restaurant from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium jam session lead by Jim Jasion has moved to the Subterranean Recording Studios in Edison. Call Jim if you’re interested in joining -- 732-325-7464.

Wednesday, Feb. 3
The Somerset Jazz Consortium Second Generation Band will be at Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Vocalist Margie Notte lights up Libretti’s Restaurant, 554 Orange St. in Orange, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jazz socials and fundraisers

There are some special events this weekend -- check Friday night's Princeton High School Big Band Dance fundraiser, and Sunday's New Jersey Jazz Society social.

Thursday, Jan. 21
The Eric Mintel Quartet will perform 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Thursday night through January at Mediterra, on Hulfish Street in Princeton.

Rio Clemente is back at The Bernards Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road 7 p.m.- 10 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 22
The Princeton High School Studio Band and Jazz Ensemble will put the swing in a fundraising Big Band Dance, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at PHS. The Studio Band will be performing in Carnegie Hall March 5, so catch them before they hit the big time. Funds raised will be used to support the school’s musical education programs and band travel. Ticket are $6 for adults; $4 for students and seniors. Food and beverages will be available for sale. Click here for more information.

The John Bianculli Trio adds vocalist Jackie Jones and drummer Jonathon Peretz for tonight’s entertainment at
Christopher’s at the Heldrich Hotel, 10 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick. There’s no cover for the music, offered from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.

Dick Gratton returns to the Chambers Walk Café in Lawrenceville, playing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. He’ll head to the Farnsworth House in Bordentown, Jan. 9.

Rio Clemente has a one-man engagement at the Watchung Art Center at 8 p.m.
Tomorrow, he’s at the Milton United Methodist Church at 4 p.m. for a solo concert, followed by a light meal – call 973-697-2120 for reservations or more information.

It’s a match for the ages: Jazz Vs. Space Tiger, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Beanwood Coffee Shop, 222 Farnsworth Ave. in Bordentown. I think jazz wins ...

Jane Stuart will be singing at the Hibiscus Restaurant in the Morristown Inn, playing from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Jim Lapidus steps in at Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick.

Saturday, Jan. 23
Innovative trumpeter John Swana will blow minds and his trumpet at the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St. in Trenton, for the Jazz Disciples. Music starts at 3 p.m.

Dick Gratton is heading down Route 206 today, for a gig at Bordentown’s Farnsworth House, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 24
Love jazz music? Why not share your affections with like-minded folk: head to Shanghai Jazz today at 3 p.m. for the New Jersey Jazz Society Social. You can meet lots of fellow jazzbos, and enjoy Jerry Bruno and Bucky Pizzarelli. There’s a $10 food or beverage minimum at Shanghai Jazz, and a $10 admission if you’re not a member of NJJS (but you can click here and take care of that).

The Eric Olsen Trio will perform at the Bernardsville Public Library at 3 p.m., part of the “Sundays at Three” series funded by the Friends of the Bernardsville Public Library. Doors open at 2:45 p.m., and light refreshments will be served at intermission. No sign-up is needed.

Pam Purvis, Bob Ackerman and Matt Chertkoff are at Cecil’s in West Orange at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 25
Jim Jasion and His Jazz (the Somerset Jazz Consortium Horn Squad) will be at Home Town Buffet, 561 US Highway 1, Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 26
Pianist Tomoko Ohno has a lot going on these days – she’s a regular featured artists at Trumpets Jazz Club, and a member of the DIVA Jazz Orchestra. Tuesday, she’ll be at the Hibiscus Restaurant from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium jam session lead by Jim Jasion has moved to the Subterranean Recording Studios in Edison. Call Jim if you’re interested in joining -- 732-325-7464.

Wednesday, Jan. 27
The Somerset Jazz Consortium Second Generation Band will be at Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Vocalist Margie Notte lights up Libretti’s Restaurant, 554 Orange St. in Orange, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Patty Cronheim is back at Princeton’s Mediterra Restaurant, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Coming up ...
You can catch the David Sanborn Quartet, with Joey DeFrancesco, at the South Orange Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Jan. 28 – if you reserve your tickets.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A great weekend for fans of guitar jazz

This weekend is full of great events, including several noteworthy guitarists in the area: B.D. Lenz, Frank Vignola and Joshua Breakstone are performing in Central Jersey, along with local favorites like Dick Gratton. It's a six-string spectacular.

Thursday, Jan. 14
The Eric Mintel Quartet will perform 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Thursday night through January at Mediterra, on Hulfish Street in Princeton.

Rio Clemente is back at The Bernards Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road 7 p.m.- 10 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 15
Catch The John Bianculli Trio, with Tom Baker on drums, and Jed Levy on sax, at Steakhouse 85, 85 Church St. in New Brunswick. There’s no cover charge, but help show support for the band by enjoying some food and drinks while there.

Pat Tandy and her trio will be at
Christopher’s at the Heldrich Hotel, 10 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.

Dick Gratton returns to the Chambers Walk Café in Lawrenceville, playing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. He’ll head to the Farnsworth House in Bordentown, Jan. 9.

Hopewell Valley Vineyards will feature music by Jersey Jazz – David Berends, Lance Sulton, Rich Saborsky from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Steve Lynn Group will be at the Beanwood Coffee Shop, 222 Farnsworth Ave. in Bordentown.

B.D. Lenz is bringing his guitar and band to the Hibiscus Restaurant in the Morristown Inn, playing from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

If you’re in Morristown, you can also catch The Frank Vignola Trio playing 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road. Adults’ admission is $7; children 12 and under, free – teach your children well. For more information, call 973-335-9489 or go to www.folkproject.org

Jim Lapidus steps in at Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick.

They call Francine Evans “Lady Sinatra” and if you want to know why, catch her with Joel Zelnik from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m., at Marcello’s Ristorante at 8 Lafayette Ave. in Suffern, N.Y.

The Eric Mintel Quartet moves to the Crossing Vineyard and Winery in Washington Crossing, Pa., for an 8 p.m.-to-10 p.m. gig.

Drivetime will perform at New Hope’s Triumph Brewery, 500 Union Sq. at 10 p.m. Admission is $5.

Saturday, Jan. 16
The Darla Rich Quintet is back at the Hopewell Inn, playing from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Joshua Breakstone will be picking in the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St. in Trenton, with Trenton’s Jazz Disciples. Music starts at 3 p.m.

Laura Hull returns to Ponte Vecchio at Murray Hill Inn New Providence.

It’s Jazz in Bridgewater … at the Somerset County Vo-Tech, with Joe Midiri and the Midiri Brothers Orchestra’s tribute to Benny Goodman, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The school is at 14 Vogt Dr. in Bridgewater; tickets are $25 – check here for information on how to get them.

Sunday, Jan. 17
Pam Purvis, Bob Ackerman and Matt Chertkoff are at Cecil’s in West Orange at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 18
Jim Jasion and His Jazz (the Somerset Jazz Consortium Horn Squad) will be at Home Town Buffet, 561 US Highway 1, Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 19
It’s the Franklin-Alison Jazz Quartet at The Witherspoon Grill, 57 Witherspoon St., Princeton, tonight. They’ll play from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Ted Brancato will be at the Hibiscus Restaurant from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium jam session lead by Jim Jasion has moved to the Subterranean Recording Studios in Edison. Call Jim if you’re interested in joining -- 732-325-7464.

Wednesday, Jan. 20

The Somerset Jazz Consortium Second Generation Band will be at Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Vocalist Margie Notte lights up Libretti’s Restaurant, 554 Orange St. in Orange, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The New Yorker's tribute to Bird's biggest fan

In 2008, The New Yorker magazine printed a terrific article about Phil Schaap and his morning show on Columbia's WCKR-FM (89.9). The article notes Schaap's astounding and encyclopedic knowledge of Ornithology (that is, the kind that relates to Bird).
I used to pick up Schaap's program and was mezmerized -- if you've not heard it, tune in at 8:20 a.m. or catch a podcast here. Each show examines the intricacies of some of the most incredible recordings in bebop, including discussion of alternate takes -- something that can be helpful to learning musicians. There's something helpful in hearing Bird and Diz have to do multiple takes to get past the head of a tune ... of course, they played them at about 300 beats per minute ...
Schaap's knowledge is truly awesome, so much so that Columbia Records asked him to help edit and produce the complete Charlie Parker recordings reissues.
Amazingly, he's been doing this for 40 years and next month, WCKR will celebrate Schaap's career with a Feb. 2 party. If you can't make it, put on your favorite Parker recording (mine's "Star Eyes" from the "Charlie Parker with Strings" ... I know, I know, but I love the arrangement and Parker's lines), and be thankful people like Phil Schaap love this music so deeply that we can be so well educated and entertained.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter treats

Thursday, Jan. 7
The Eric Mintel Quartet will perform 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Thursday night through January at Mediterra, on Hulfish Street in Princeton. If you can’t make it out for the Thursday night jazz offering, stop in on Wednesday for Patty Cronheim.

A few years ago, I fell under the spell of tenorist Virginia Mayhew’s Sandan Shuffle. She’s a strong presence on the horn, and when accompanied by such all stars as Harvie S. and Victor Jones, it’s a potent combination. Now, she’s leading the Ellington Legacy Band – catch her and Ellington’s Legacy 7:30 p.m. tonight at Trumpets in Montclair.

Friday, Jan. 8
Dick Gratton returns to the Chambers Walk Café in Lawrenceville, playing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. He’ll head to the Farnsworth House in Bordentown, Jan. 9.

Champian Fulton is headlining tonight at the Hibiscus Restaurant in the Morristown Inn, playing from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Laura Hull will be at The Adam Todd Restaurant at Cranberry Lake (Route 206 in Andover) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. There’s no cover but a $20 minimum. Call 973-347-4004 for reservations.

Saturday, Jan. 9
Gordon James, Jose Loo, Chris Plunkett and Al Johnson will heat up Saturday night at the Salt Creek Grille in Forrestal Village (Princeton) from 7 to 11 p.m. If you prefer a more intimate setting, Gordon, Jose, Al and Mark Peterson will be at Flat 5 Records and Entertainment, 10 Throckmorton Ave. in Eatontown, Jan. 10. Gordon says, “This is a truly unique place, with a living room type atmosphere. It's also a music school and they do a great deal of community work for the underprivileged.” Admission to the show will be $10, and food will be served at $5 a plate. Check out www.flat5records.com for more information.

Andre Mutcherson is this week’s guest will visit the Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic St. in Trenton, for the Jazz Disciples. Music starts at 3 p.m.

The spirit and music of Benny Goodman will be enjoyed at the Somerset County Vocational Technical School, 14 Vogt Dr. in Bridgewater, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., with Joe Midiri and the Midiri Brothers Orchestra. Tickets are $20 and $25.

Sunday, Jan. 10
Pam Purvis, Bob Ackerman and Matt Chertkoff are at Cecil’s in West Orange at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 11
Jim Jasion and His Jazz (the Somerset Jazz Consortium Horn Squad) will be at Home Town Buffet, 561 US Highway 1, Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 12
Fill up on the “High Octane Jazz” at The Witherspoon Grill, 57 Witherspoon St., Princeton, starting at 6 p.m. that will be offered by John Sheridan (on guitar), Art Stephano (bass) and Mike Ipri (drums). "The Brothers Grim" trio, as they are billed on their Web site, are part of Philadelphia’s Sixth Street Quaternion.
Betty Liste will be at the Hibiscus Restaurant from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium jam session lead by Jim Jasion has moved to the Subterranean Recording Studios in Edison. Call Jim if you’re interested in joining -- 732-325-7464.

Wednesday, Jan. 13
Patty Cronheim is back at Princeton’s Mediterra. She’ll be performing every Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. this month.

The Somerset Jazz Consortium Second Generation Band will be at Home Town Buffet on Route 1 in Edison, beginning at 6 p.m.

Vocalist Margie Notte lights up Libretti’s Restaurant, 554 Orange St. in Orange, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Princeton University’s University Jazz Vespers Ensemble will perform in University Chapel at 8 p.m. The show is free, but you can get tickets (just to be sure) here.

Coming up: It’s not too early to make sure you’ve got a good seat at the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour show set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at Princeton’s McCarter Theater. The tickets to see The Kenny Barron Trio, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling and Russell Malone start at $42. Think there will be a better bargain this year?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

'Jaz' by Mel Nusbaum

Mel Nusbaum sent this video he created about jazz. Mel's been a jazz fan since he was a kid growing up in Chicago. He started out as a guitar player, listening to Gene Ammons, Howlin Wolf and John Coltrane. He saw Miles at the Plugged Nickel, saw Wes Mongomery. His own playing has led him to playing Latin, funk, straight jazz, free jazz, and "things in between with more cool musicians," he said.

"I still love music but not the music business, which has never been good to me financially," Mel wrote. "Now I'm playing piano too, making poetry, composing tunes, doing creative projects with my hands, and making little videos. I'm working on one now about Chicago Blues to back up my illuminated collage about Maxwell Street that's on my web site." (Click here to go to his site)

Mel wrote intention in the video is to "portray the many sides of jazz and the jazz world and what jazz means to me."

See if you don't dig it, too.