RED BANK: A MOST JAZZY SINATRA BASH

don-most‘Happy Days’ cast member turned crooner Donny Most, above, joins Rat Pack legend Dean Martin’s daughter Deana, below and the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra at the Basie Sunday.

deana-martinJersey guy Francis Albert Sinatra: his birthday is marked every December with merriment and song, and perhaps nowhere more so than here in the heart of downtown Red Bank. And why not, given that we’re home to a hallowed hall christened in memory of one of the Chairman of the Board’s partners in pop perfection: piano player, bandleader and “Kid From Red Bank” Bill “Count” Basie.

Each year our own Joe “Mooche” Muccioli — noted conductor, arranger, scholar and artistic director of the nonprofit Jazz Arts Project — fires up the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra for a grand concert that salutes the signature songs and style of Sinatra with the help of some special guest vocalists.  Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: A ‘YELP’ FOR PARENTS AND KIDS

alex-skove-cathy-goldin-kidgooroo-102616-1Alex Skove and Cathy Goldin, founders of Kidgooroo, at Booskerdoo in Fair Haven last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hoping to turn frustration into gold, two women from the Greater Red Bank Green have taken on the challenge of helping parents identify the best available extracurricular programs for their children.

Think of their online service, called Kidgooroo, as a kind of Yelp for harried moms and dads.

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FAIR HAVEN KIDS GET ‘THE BLUES’

schuman_hans_image4-1Hans Schuman, executive director of the music education group JazzReach and drummer for the group’s Metta Quintet, was among the musicians who gave a special presentation on Blues music to students from Fair Haven and Red Bank.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

On November 17, third graders from Sickles School in Fair Haven got a lesson in “learning the blues,” in an exciting event at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

Accompanied by music teacher Vince Mottern and chaperones, the students attended “Yes Indeed!,” a program (presented by the musical education group JazzReach) that explores the evolution of the blues genre, as well as its impact on American music and history.

After a live performance of blues and jazz music by members of the Jazz Reach Metta Quintet, the Sickles students and their teachers – along with the Red Bank Primary School students and teachers also in attendance – participated in a Q&A session with the musicians as well as musical demonstrations.

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RED BANK: VEGAS TO BROADWAY VIA BASIE

Donny and Marie Osmond, below, bring the holiday cheer and more to the Count Basie Monday… followed by a twice-as-nice engagement by the touring company of the hit musical ONCE, seen in the promo video above.

donny-and-marieTo paraphrase the signature song of a certain fondly recalled TV variety series, it’s a show that’s a little bit Christmas, a little bit something else.

The entertainment-packed November/December schedule at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre makes for especially interesting sked-fellows this time of year — with the holiday season getting into early jingle via offerings like Phoenix Productions’ A Christmas Story: The Musical and this past Monday’s seasonal spectacular starring Brian Setzer, even as recently featured acts like Joe Bonamassa and The Pretenders have offered up a happy-humbug alternative to any potential reindeer overkill.

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RED BANK: AN EXPRESSWAY TO WINTER

wizardsThe Wizards of Winter keep the Yuletide vibe going after dusk with a Saturday night set at the Count Basie Theatre. (Click to enlarge)

It wasn’t all that long ago that the shopping-mall sound systems and merciless muzak machines of the holiday season received a heavy dose of prog-rock bombast that shook the snow from the shingles when an organization that called itself the Trans-Siberian Orchestra released its first Christmas-themed rock opera.

When four touring crewmembers of TSO (including vocalists Guy LeMonnier and Joe Cerisano) opted to pursue their own career track in the early years of this decade, they did so under the acronym of WOW, or Wizards of Winter.

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RED BANK: HOLIDAY EXPRESS TO LIGHT IT UP

112715holidayexp32Tim McLoone, at left above, and the Holiday Express band get some help kicking off another silver-bells season on the sidewalks of Red Bank at Friday night’s annual Town Lighting concert. Jackie Evancho (below) brings a program of holiday songs and hits to the Count Basie stage. (Photo above by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge) 

jackie_evanchoIf it’s accomplished nothing else during its quarter century of continuous service, Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony has successfully wrested the idea of “Black Friday” from visions of crushing chaos at the mall to one of sing-along harmony in a walkable-wonderland setting of merry commerce and activity.

When the lights are ceremoniously lit in downtown Red Bank for the 24th consecutive year this Friday evening, it will come not a moment too soon for an extended community that really does need a little Christmas, right this very minute. And summoned once more into service like a jinglebell-jukebox Justice League will be Holiday Express, the big traveling winter wall of sound whose founder and skipper Tim McLoone has helped sound the keynote and flip the switch on a generation’s worth of festive occasions in the heart of Red Bank’s downtown diorama.

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RED BANK: SETZER JUMP-STARTS BASIE LINEUP

brian-setzerStray Cat topcat turned big-band ringmaster Brian Setzer, above, tunes up Santa’s souped-up sleigh — and Beat Root Revival (below) lights the way — as the season of nearly non-stop holiday music at the Count Basie Theatre commences Monday.

beat-rootThe official tree has yet to find its base in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park, and the horse-drawn carriages and surrogate Santas have yet to be sighted on the downtown streets.

But the elves at the Count Basie Theatre, the Greater Red Bank Green’s unofficial Capital of Christmas, already have their workshop in overdrive on a packed slate of Christmastime confections that runs right up to the doorstep of the New Year.

 

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LINCROFT: A BIG BAND MILESTONE AT BCC

brookdale-big-bandVocalist Barbara Baron, above, and bassist and Fair Haven resident Gary Mazzaroppi, below, will help the Brookdale Big Band mark the college’s golden anniversary Saturday.

garymazzaroppi_242x350This time last year, the Brookdale Big Band, a crowd-pleasing organization founded by faculty members of Brookdale Community College, took to the stage of BCC’s Performing Arts Center to mark a musical milestone: the 30th anniversary of the inaugural BBB concert in 1985.

When founder-conductor Joe Accurso and company return to the PAC bandstand this Saturday night, they’ll be celebrating an even more glittering occasion: the upcoming 50th anniversary of BCC, the school that rang its first classroom bell in 1967 on what had been until then a horse farm.

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RED BANK: RETURN OF THE GREAT PRETENDER

pretendersChrissie Hynde, seen here with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys in a screen grab from the video for ‘Holy Commotion,” returns to Red Bank with her 2016 edition of the Pretenders for a Thursday night concert.

Last time Chrissie Hynde trod the boards of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, two years ago, the face, voice, heart and soul of the Pretenders offered up a showcase of her debut long-player Stockholm, chased by a lip-to-label spin through the mega-classic 1979 Pretenders LP, its fab 45s and deep-cut classics “Brass in Pocket,” “Kid,” “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Mystery Achievement” and “Precious”).

Bolstered by the accrued good-will generated by the album and road itinerary, the Hall of Fame rocker entered a Nashville studio earlier this year with Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach for some sessions intended to yield her sophomore solo release. But something surprising must have happened inside that soundproofed space, as “those driving guitars, ragged-but-righteous arrangements, tough-yet tender lyrics delivered by the most beautifully distinctive voice of a generation” (according to the press notes) suggested nothing less than that the Pretenders were back.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDT LINEUP TO ROCK BASIE

van-zandt-guadagno-111416-1Steven Van Zandt and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno on stage at the Basie Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

basie-marquee-111416A four-night campaign of classic rock shows curated by E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt in coming months will help drive a $20 million expansion Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, officials said Monday.

But the names of the acts to be spotlighted in the series remained under wraps at a press conference held on the stage of the Vaudeville-era venue.
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LITTLE SILVER: A GUEST VIRTUOSO AT RBR

rbr-interstring-christian-howesThis past October 21, Red Bank Regional High School welcomed renowned musician and educator Christian Howes, as a lead-in to the school’s annual Inter-String Concert. The Ohio-based guest artist conducted an all-day workshop that brought together students from Red Bank Middle School and Little Silver’s Markham Place School, working with RBR high school string players and culminating in the concert event that showcased the talents of 65 young musicians.

LINCROFT: A GRAMMER LESSON AT UUCMC

“Postmodern, mythic” American folk music icon Tracy Grammer makes a rare local appearance at the Unitarian Meetinghouse. 

For the latest (and last of 2016) entry in a recently minted series of Earth Room Concerts, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County in Lincroft presents a performance Saturday night that’s as much about an artist whose absence will be deeply felt as it is about the acclaimed singer/storyteller whose presence promises to make it a special occasion.

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MIDDLETOWN: A SONG FOR KIDS WITH CANCER

The video for “Fighter,” a new song by singer-songwriter Taylor Tote of Tinton Falls, features young cancer survivors, including six-year-old Natalie Grace Gorsegner of Middletown, who with her nine-year-old sister, Hannah, helped Tote write the song.

Recorded primarily at the Middletown Fire Department Company’s Station 8 on Route 35, the video pays tribute to kids who have survived or are battling cancer, 20 of whom appear in it. 

All proceeds from sales of the song, available on iTunes, will benefit pediatric cancer research.

 

RED BANK: STEVE MILLER BAND JETS IN

steve-miller-band-4The Steve Miller Band takes the Basie boards Tuesday. (Click to enlarge.)

Though he’s not generally associated with the flowering music scene of late-1960s San Francisco, rocker Steve Miller was very much in it as far back as 1966, when he supported Chuck Berry on a live album recorded at the Fillmore Auditorium. It was one stop in a career that’s also been steeped in the blues scenes of Dallas and Chicago enroute to some chartbusting pop success.

Listen for hints of all that when Miller, still rocking at 73, brings his band to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Tuesday night for its only Garden State appearance of his current tour.

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RED BANK: DEAD ON LIVE AT THE BASIE

brianstrattonberkleeMulti-instrumentalist Marc Muller, at right above, leads Dead On Live at the Count Basie Saturday night. Steve Miller, below, takes the stage Tuesday. (Photo by Brian Stratton. Click to enlarge.)

The sonic legacy of the San Francisco Bay area casts its still-potent spell over the famous stage of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Friday night, sound-tracked by as dead-on a recreation of the Grateful Dead as you’ll find anywhere between Raceway Park and the Pyramids.

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RED BANK: YES MEN RETURN, BUT NOT AS YES

rick_wakeman-pianoLongtime Yes keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman joins that classic band’s original vocalist Jon Anderson and 80s-era guitarist Trevor Rabin at the Count Basie.

Is it Yes? Actually, no… but then again maybe.

In a week when Yes was nominated (for the third time) for a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Red Bank area fans can get a major reminder of what made that prog-rock institution so special when three of its celebrated veterans take the stage of the Count Basie Theatre Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: ROCK ON, RACHMANINOFF

The Romantic Piano with David Dubal 5.30.13Emmy winning broadcaster, producer, educator and keyboardist David Dubal returns to the Monmouth Conservatory this Sunday for a public-welcome program on the great composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Those of us who are “classically curious” but put off by the prospect of such music-world clichés as starchy formalwear and intimidating ticket prices have a friend in the Monmouth Conservatory Of Music. The Red Bank institution’s long-running series of public-welcome concerts have brought an impressive roster of guest artists to town in a setting that’s free of pretension (and often free of charge).

Those of us whose appreciation of fine music is helped immeasurably by some enlightening background info — and who have been meaning to look in on one of the MCM’s monthly offerings at its downtown space — can do no better than to check out this Sunday’s return visit by David Dubal, the radio host, essayist, music professor and pianist whose encyclopedic expertise and engaging interview skills have netted him a Peabody, a Deems Taylor Award, and an Emmy (if not yet a Grammy).

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RED BANK: FRAMPTON COMES UNPLUGGED

peterframptonClassic rock legend Peter Frampton comes to Red Bank with an all-acoustic concert at the Count Basie Tuesday night. 

“It’s all gone,” said Peter Frampton during a TV appearance several years ago, indicating the nearly hairless head where once resided one of the most luxurious manes in all of classic rockdom. “And it’s not coming back.”

Fortunately, the platinum-plated guitarist/ singer/ songwriter hasn’t shed his easy rapport with a live audience, and when he comes to the stage of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Tuesday night, he’ll be serving up selections from his long career raw, as part of an all-acoustic tour.

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HOW RBR’S VPA TEENS SPENT THEIR SUMMER

rbr-vpa-studentsAmong the Visual and Performing Art major students at Red Bank Regional who spent their summer perfecting their skills are (left to right, standing) Penny Hill, Mara Campolattaro, Jack Faccone-Stockwell, Claire Taylor, Megan Moran; also (kneeling) Shea Grant and Gabriella Scerbo.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Summer vacation may already be a distant memory borne away on a suddenly seasonal Navesink breeze — but to the students of the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Red Bank Regional High School, the activities of the school-year break continue to impact the new academic year in the most positive ways.

“Our students never cease to amaze me with their level of dedication and pursuit of perfection for their craft,” observes VPA lead teacher Kris Zook. “I am always delighted to learn what wonderful programs they attended or experiences they had in pursuit of higher performing art achievement.”

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RED BANK: FREE SHOW BY ARMY FIELD BAND

jazz-ambassadors-us-armyThe US Army Field Band’s “Jazz Ambassadors” unit deploys to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre for a free concert next Wednesday.

In its assembled glory, it’s a formidable force — and its many crack commando units and surgical-strike teams allow it to perform missions that range from a Dixieland septet and harp-flute duo to a Son Tropical big band.

When the uniformed members of the Jazz Ambassadors of the US Army Field Band take the Basie stage next Wednesday, they’ll be carrying on a tradition that’s seen various iterations of the USAFB treat the Red Bank audience to a free display by the most formidable musical force in the free world.

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RED BANK: STEWART GOODYEAR AT THE BASIE

stewart-goodyearPianist Stewart Goodyear helps usher in a new season of New Jersey Symphony concerts at the Count Basie Saturday evening. 

Continuing a decades-long and beautiful relationship with the Count Basie Theatre, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank Saturday night for the first in a new season of concerts — and to sound the keynote in the company of a performer who’s been branded a “phenomenon” by music critics and fans alike.

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RED BANK: CETERA (ET CETERA) AT THE BASIE

ceteraPop crooner and former Chicago frontman Peter Cetera (above) takes it to the Count Basie stage on Thursday night…while Jay Siegel (below) brings The Tokens of “Lion Sleeps Tonight” fame to town in a Friday package of Old Time Doo Wop.

jay-siegelAs a charter member of the pop institution that is the band Chicago, his was one of several different voices that took the lead on their 1970s radio hits — most notably “25 or 6 to 4” and “Feeling Stronger Every Day.” As the group survived and thrived into the 1980s, however, it was the buttermilk-soul voice of Peter Cetera that best defined the Chicago sound, during a next-wave run of signature recordings that included “If You Leave Me Now,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “Baby What a Big Surprise,” and “You’re the Inspiration.”

The singing bassman brought that crooning capital to a solo career that kicked off in earnest 20 years ago, and that has netted him multiple nominations for Grammy Awards — and even an Oscar nod, thanks to a slew of soundtrack standouts from such films as Karate Kid 2, Pretty Woman, Three Men and a Baby and Chances Are. It’s all part of a considerable catalog that forms the foundation of Cetera’s set, when he visits the Count Basie Theatre tomorrow night, October 6, for a concert that keynotes an October musical interlude on the famous stage.

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RBR SENDS FIVE VOICES TO ALL STATE CHORUS

all-state-choir-rbrRed Bank Regional’s representatives to this school year’s All State Chorus are (left to right) Maddie Stout, Erin Ostrowski, Dannielle Wolf, Jade Glab and Victoria White. The students audition for these coveted spots in the state honor chorus.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Five vocal majors from Red Bank Regional High School‘s esteemed Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPA) have been selected for the prestigious All State Choir. They are senior Danielle Wolf, Shrewsbury (third year at All State); senior Jade Glab, Belmar (third year at All State); senior Victoria White, Union Beach (second year at All State); junior Erin Ostrowski, Little Silver, (second year at All State); and sophomore Maddie Stout, Neptune City, who debuts at All State this year.

The young ladies are all members of the All State Mixed Chorus, except Victoria White who will perform with the Treble Choir. The latter is composed solely of female singers.

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RED BANK: BROMBERG, BRADLEE AT THE BASIE

david-bromberg-2-500x332Master multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg (above) brings his Big Band AND special guests to a belated-birthday concert at the Count tomorrow night…while Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox (below) maintain the retro-rocking groove on Wednesday.

PMJ-PR-shotIt’s become something of an annual must-see appointment for music-mad fans on the greater Red Bank Green — or it might have been, had it not skipped a year in 2015. But when Grammy-lauded multi-instrumentalist and musicologist David Bromberg returns with his 12-piece Big Band to the Count Basie Theatre tomorrow night, October 4, he’ll be making up for hurt feelings and lost time with a special Big Band Bucket List Birthday Bash that finds the well-mannered virtuoso and good-humored entertainer (who turned 71 this past September 19) joined for the occasion by some folkie friends who are headline-worthy performers in their own right.

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RED BANK: O’REE OF LOTSA FAITH

matt o'ree 2008Bon Jovi’s new touring guitarist Matt O’Ree, above, plays a special ticketed-event tribute to Eric Clapton at Jamian’s this Saturday, even as JBJ and the boys perform a preview of their new album, just up Monmouth Street at Basie’s place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

bon-jovi-eventFor fans of the homegrown institution that is Bon Jovi, the first night of October brings an event that seems gifted from the gods of classic rock: an exclusive preview concert, going on at Red Bank’s own Count Basie Theatre, an “intimate” affair in which JBJ and his core bandmates (David Bryan, Tico Torres, Hugh McDonald) perform the entirety of their new album This House Is Not For Sale — their 14th studio opus, and a release that’s slated to drop on October 21.

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