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LINCROFT: A BARNBURNER OF A MUSIC FEST

David-Bryan-Brad-Whitford-Matt-OReeBon Jovi band members David Bryan (left) and Matt O’Ree (right, with Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford pictured at center) are among the top-shelf classic rockers hitting the BCC campus — with Trevor Hall (below) representing rock’s next-gen freshman class — for a Rock the Farm Music and Food Truck Festival benefitting the nonprofit CFC Loud N Clear Foundation.

0627_TrevorHallIt doesn’t carry the hallowed-ground cachet of Max Yasgur’s legendary farm outside Woodstock, NY — and, truth be told, it’s been a long time since Brookdale Community College was anything resembling a farm — but when the Rock the Farm Music and Food Truck Festival sets up this Saturday afternoon, August 27, the sprawling Lincroft campus will be transformed into a world-class destination for fans of classic rock and other local-organic sounds.

Back for its third annual edition, the nine-hour extravaganza will once more be dedicated to raising funds and awareness on behalf of CFC Loud N Clear Foundation, the Monmouth County-based nonprofit that provides free counseling and support services to families affected by addiction. Here in 2016, it’s an event that’s poised to make a much bigger, more impactful noise than in previous seasons, thanks to the participation of some genuinely awesome figures from the FM wavelengths, vinyl bins, and possibly your bedroom wall circa 1973.

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RED BANK: MA RAINEY’S BLOCK PARTY @TRTC

Brandon J DirdenReturning star Brandon J. Dirden (above) is among the cast members expected to attend — while J.W. Lawson and Dean Shot (below) bring the live blues tunes — as Two River Theater keynotes the season opening-production of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ with a Friday evening “block party.”

JW Lawson Dean ShotWhile we’re still a few Saturdays away from the start of the new 2016-2017 schedule at Two River Theater, the Red Bank performing arts space is keeping it outside for the moment — with a special event that harnesses the magic-hour mojo of the late-summertime season and sounds an early keynote for a blues-infused season opener.

That inaugural production is “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the August Wilson ensemble piece that opens September 16 as the latest in Two River’s ongoing exploration of the late African American playwright’s “century cycle” of dramas. The special event is a Taste of the Blues Block Party that rocks the theater’s open-air patio with a Friday evening fricassee of live music, dancing, locally sourced cuisine, and “a chance to meet and mingle with the cast.”

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RED BANK: BASIE TO STAY BASIE FOR CENTURY

basie awards 051816 1Originally called the Carlton Theater, the Count Basie Theatre will get to keep the Count’s name for at least another century. Below, a bust of the late jazz great outside the Red Bank train station. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: the original version of this post misreported the year of Count Basie’s birth, which was 1904.]

By JOHN T. WARD

basie-bust2The Basie will get to be the Basie for at least another hundred years.

In conjunction with the anniversary of the birth, in Red Bank, of jazz great William ‘Count’ Basie, the town’s premiere entertainment venue has inked a deal with the trust that controls his estate to enable it to call itself the Count Basie Theatre for 50 more years, with five 10-year extensions, the two entities announced Monday.

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M’TOWN: A TAYLOR-MADE TUNE FOR A FIGHTER

Taylortaylor-girls-1aThis weekend, rising-star singer and songwriter Taylor Tote of Tinton Falls will be performing at an unusual venue: the “Headdens Corner” headquarters of Middletown Fire Department Company 1/ Station 8 on Route 35. It’s there that she’ll be shooting a video for her new song “Fighter,” an anthem dedicated to cancer survivors of all ages — and created with 9 year old Hannah Gorsegner, whose 6 year old sister Natalie Grace (pictured below left with Taylor and Hannah) is herself a survivor. Backing Taylor for the occasion will be a chorus of 20 kids (all of whom have waged their own battles with cancer) and an all-star assembly of local firefighters. Take it here for more background on the song and video, slated for release in September (with all profits dedicated to childhood cancer research) — and here for details on a Natalie Grace’s Wish Event fundraiser, scheduled for October 6 at Tim McLoone’s Pier House in Long Branch. 

RED BANK: SONGS FOR A SUMMER NIGHT

Alexis-RoddaShe’s been hailed as an artist possessed of “a lovely voice, full of color and body in every register, and the poise to perform unselfconsciously in an intimate space” — a setting of which the reviewer observed, “can be more of a challenge than a large hall with 3,000 people.”

When soprano Alexis Rodda performs a Thursday evening concert at St. Anthony of Padua, she’ll be working on a scale that’s cozier than Carnegie — but she’ll also be feeling very much at home, as the Red Bank resident is a regular choir member at the Bridge Avenue house of worship. And, together with pianist Manon Hutton-DeWys, she’ll help to inaugurate a new series of public-welcome music presentations at St. Anthony’s.

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LINCROFT: A 60TH SEASON, A SUMMER SING

Neil F BrownThe Shrewsbury Chorale welcomes new permanent music director Neil F. Brown — and sounds a keynote to a milestone 60th season —  with a public-invited, informal performance of Vivaldi’s “Gloria” on August 16.

In a history highlighted by performances at places like Carnegie Hall and Washington’s National Cathedral, it’s an undeniable milestone: the Diamond Anniversary of the Shrewsbury Chorale, the community arts group that prepares to embark upon its 60th season of choral classics and popular repertoire in 2016.

It’s a season that begins in earnest this coming December, with the chorale’s annual presentation of holiday hymns and carols. But before that, the organization founded back in the 1950’s by Alden Hammond stays attuned to the more casual pace of the current season with an August 16 Summer Sing event that invites everyone who holds a song in their heart, as it welcomes a special person to the podium.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDTS STAR AT ROCKIT GALA

Van Zandts RockitCount Basie Theatre board members Maureen and Steven Van Zandt (center) are pictured with performers from the Rockit Live music program at a 2014 concert event. The Van Zandts will be guest of honor at Rockit’s inaugural fundraising gala on September 25. (Photo courtesy Rockit Live Foundation)

Press release from Rockit Live Foundation

The Rockit Live Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural gala, honoring Maureen and Steven Van Zandt for their lifetime devotion and contribution to young artists and music education.

A benefit dinner will be held at Buona Sera Palazzo Banquet Hall in Ocean Township on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25, and will feature livemusical performances from the young Rockit musicians, along with Steven Van Zandt and special guests.

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ON THE GREEN: FUN UNDER THE SUN & STARS

rb movies park 072616 2Outdoor movie screenings and canoe rentals highlight a week of outdoor offerings in local parks.

Thompson Park canoePay no attention to those displays of back-to-school supplies, and put aside all thoughts of pre-season football, post-season baseball, and campaign-season roller derby. Yes, the summer of 2016 is still a thing (even at the Rio Olympics, where technically it’s winter), and the parks, beaches and portable stages of the Greater Red Bank Green still offer a plethora of open-air entertainments and recreational options in the coming days and nights — almost all of them free of charge.

It begins tonight, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of a truly golden oldie, 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, pick up some cooling seasonal treats from Gracie and the Dudes, and enjoy Dorothy and the Dudes as they once again undertake the screen’s most memorable road trip. Follow Shore Flicks on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on weather-related cancellations or other schedule changes (including a recently added batch of fishy features at Sea Bright’s Municipal Beach) — then take it around the bend for more fun beneath the sun and stars.

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RED BANK: BASIE REELS IN FRESH HOT TUNA

Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen bring their Electric Hot Tuna set back to the Basie stage after Vince Herman (below) and Leftover Salmon serve up the openers.

Leftover-Salmon-3-2While “finely aged” is an asset for commodities like wine and cheese, it’s traditionally not much of a selling point when it comes to seafood. But if the notion of Leftover Salmon and Hot Tuna comes across as less than fresh here in the doggie-bag baking days of summer, be assured that the hard-touring, veteran roots music acts retain an appeal that’s anchored in a certain timeless quality, one that transcends a given flavor of the month, or even catch of the day.

When the long-playing duo of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady takes to the Count Basie Theatre this Thursday, the guitar/bass partnership will be returning to town with the electric configuration of Hot Tuna, the blues-rock institution they’ve maintained off-and-on since their days as bandmates in the best-remembered lineup of Jefferson Airplane.

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RED BANK: CHORUS SEEKING NEW VOICES

Press release from Monmouth Civic Chorus

Experienced singers are invited to audition for the award-winning Monmouth Civic Chorus by appointment on Wednesday evenings beginning September 7. Auditions are opened to all members of the community ages 16 and up.  All voice parts are welcome to audition; however, the chorus is especially seeking tenors, baritones and basses to add to its impressive ensemble.

Interested singers are encouraged to attend a rehearsal of the award-winning MCC, a fun community of like-minded singers who are dedicated to the highest standards of artistic excellence. Auditions and rehearsals are held at Red Bank Charter School, 58 Oakland Street.

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RED BANK: CHUCK LAMBERT HITS A MILESTONE

chuck lambert bandChuck Lambert, seen above performing at Riverfest in Marine Park in 2012, turns 65 years old Saturday, when he and his band are scheduled to play Jamian’s Food and Drink. Below, Lambert in downtown Red Bank in 2006. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Chuck LambertIn a way, it’s just another gig for a hardworking musician, one of maybe 250 he does each year in bars, clubs and on sidewalks on the Greater Red Bank Green, as well as in New York, Philly and Atlantic City.

But when Chuck Lambert plugs in at Jamian’s Food and Drink in Red Bank Saturday night, this one will be special for the local guitar legend, and not just because it’s occurring on his 65th birthday.

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RED BANK: CHORUS SEEKING SUMMER SINGERS

Press release from Monmouth Civic Chorus

On Wednesday, August 17, the Monmouth Civic Chorus invites singers to a Summer Sing session, inside the air-conditioned United Methodist Church at 247 Broad Street in Red Bank.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Ryan James Brandau will lead the singers in three classics of choral music: “Dona Nobis Pacem” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, “Cantique de Jean Racine” by Gabriel Fauré, and “Ubi Caritas” by Maurice Duruflé. The admission fee of $10 (students $5) at the door includes refreshments and score loan. No advance reservations are needed.

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RED BANK: BURDON OF DREAMS AT THE BASIE

Eric BurdonRock and Roll Hall of Famer Eric Burdon (above) rolls into Red Bank for a Wednesday retrospective of his 50-year classic rock legacy, with Edgar Winter (below) along for the “Free Ride.”

Edgar Winter copyEven as the alt-rock bands of the 1990s become this summer’s headliners on the oldies circuit, many of the most formidable classic rock kingpins of the ’60s and ’70s are scarcely ready to surrender the stage.

On Wednesday night, the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank showcases a couple of silver foxes who successfully bridged the realms of hard-driving R&B and transistor-radio pop over the course of a collective century of touring and recording.

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RED BANK: WHO’S NEXT FOR PHOENIX? YES.

Jonathan Jacob Phoenix TommyJonathan Jacob (top right, above) heads the young cast, and Victoria Keiser (below) is the seductive “acid queen” Gypsy, in Phoenix Productions staging of  “Tommy” this weekend.

Victoria Leigh Phoenix TommyIf it’s July at the Count Basie Theatre, then it must be time for the now-traditional summer musical from Phoenix Productions, the borough-based theatrical company that continues its long and productive residency at the venerable Red Bank venue.

With scores of aspiring actors of high school and college age currently between semesters, the troupe’s midsummer offerings have represented a showcase for young performers, with especially energetic and ever so slightly edgier selections (“Rent,” “Hairspray”) than the family-friendly fare (“Mary Poppins,” “Little Mermaid,”) that’s proven so successful for the Phoenix brand.

When the Count’s curtain goes up this Friday night, it will usher in a two-weekend stand for a Broadway sensation with a psychedelic countercultural pedigree: “The Who’s Tommy.” Read More »

ON THE GREEN: SUMMER PARK ACTIVITIES

rb rgp yoga 091615 3Yoga, Pilates and zumba share a Wednesday night rotation schedule in Riverside Gardens Park. Below, vocalist Layonne Holmes joins the New Standard for a free concert there Thursday night. 

Layonne Holmes New Standard

Whether you’re on stay-cation — or simply navigating your way through daily life here in on the Greater Red Bank Green — there’s no denying that July offers a fairly awesome menu of open-air entertainments and recreational options. We’ve got a rundown of outdoor events — mostly free of charge — designed to entice you out of the house in the coming midsummer nights and days.

It all starts tonight, July 12, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of the gleefully anarchic animation “Minions.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, and enjoy some ice cream from the newly opened Gracie and the Dudes stand in the park. Take it to our redbankgreen roundup for details on the entire summer screening schedule and weather-related updates. Then take it around the bend for more fun and adventure beneath the summer sun and stars.

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