A CHANGE OF SEASON, A HAPPENING WEEKEND

Red Bank musical movers and shakers Chuck Lambert, Joe Muccioli and the Al Wright Unit’s Ruth Wright pay tribute to the late Ralph “Johnny Jazz” Gatta, in a special outdoor concert Friday.

While there’s still technically plenty of summer sand left in the hourglass, the coming of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair to the greater Red Bank Green adds an ever so slightly melancholy touch to the senior-diet Dog Days of August. We detect a nagging hint of Back to School seriousness; a wrapping up of outdoor entertainments; a change of gears and seasons that’s keynoted by a tuneful tribute, a look ahead to Halloween and a merrily Menopausal musical.

redbankgreen has assembled an even dozen diversions in this pre-Labor Day interlude, starting with a handful of things going on beneath the setting sun and stars.

From the Letterman show to the Riverside stage: Red Wanting Blue promises an exciting capper to Brookdale Radio’s 2012 series of Songwriters in the Park concerts, Friday night in downtown Red Bank.

FRIDAY: A Memorial Jazz Tribute to Ralph Gatta. The Count Basie 365 Cultural Series concludes its August series of free open-air jazz concerts (in a nameless pocket park on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank), with a tip of the porkpie hat to the legacy of one of our favorite borough characters — the late Ralph Gatta, of Johnny’s Jazz Market fame. The life and legacy of the long-time neighborhood fixture (and passionate advocate for all things jazz) will be celebrated — as will the recent 108th birthday of borough-born William “Count” Basie — by Councilwoman Juanita Lewis and her fellow members of the Vision Committee. Featured in the 7pm rain-or-shine are a collection of Red Bank’s most prominent musical ambassadors, including The Al Wright Unit (the elegant combo whose husband-wife leaders both served on the spaceship Arkestra of the cosmic bandleader Sun Ra), cool-blues commander Chuck Lambert — and Jazz Arts Project artistic director/ impresario Joe “Mooche” Muccioli, here leading a group of talented students from the nonprofit arts org’s highly regarded education program. As the name suggests, there’s more than a hint of year-round action to come on the Basie 365 front, so keep it glued here to redbankgreen for the sweet ‘n lowdown. Shrewsbury Avenue at Drs. James Parker Boulevard, Red Bank • 7pm/ FREE

FRIDAY: Red Bank Art Walk. The semi-annual stroll through the galleries, plein-air public spaces and artistically aware businesses of Red Bank returns — spearheaded this time out by something of a friendly invasion by a couple of acclaimed Romanian-born artists. Take it here for our featured piece on ‘Heads,’ the ongoing outdoor art exhibition of paintings by Dumitru Gorzo — and stop in to the studio of ace photographer Danny Sanchez (upstairs at 25 Bridge Avenue) to meet and view the paintings of Gabriela Rusu, whose recently opened exhibit Dynamic Constructions and the Body as a Pretext remains on view tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. (as well as Saturday 1 to 4 p.m.). redbankgreen has all the details (including a helpful walking-tour map) on the self-guided stroll/roll session that stretches from Bridge Ave to Broad Street, and arty points between. Locations around Red Bank • 5 to 10 p.m./ FREE

FRIDAY and SATURDAY: Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair. One of the touchstones of local life returns for a 53rd consecutive year, when what’s reported to be the largest Firemen’s Fair in New Jersey takes over the generous grounds of the borough’s firehouse with all the bells and whistles — the Ferris wheel and firetruck rides; the “Out Back” snack bar and out-front kiddie rides; the Super 50/50 and the seafood kitchen. Keep it here at redbankgreen for more on the unofficial end-of-summer extravaganza, which kicks off tonight at 6 p.m. and runs nightly through September 1 (but Never On Sunday). 645 River Road, Fair Haven • 6 to 11 p.m./ FREE admission

FRIDAY: Red Wanting Blue at Riverside Gardens. While the 2012 schedule was rendered a bit soggy by a couple of weather-related cancellations (Mindy Smith and Willie Nile, neither of whom were able to pencil in a rain date), the annual Songwriters in the Park series of free outdoor concerts wraps things up on what promises to be a pleasant evening on the banks of the Navesink with an amped-up level of excitement. The gang at Brookdale Community College listener-supported radio station 90.5 The Night has imported for the occasion none other than “America’s Local Band” Red Wanting Blue, the Ohio-based unit whose long-playing career has entered a new and supercharged phase. Scott Terry and company — who recently performed their tune “Audition” on the Late Show with David Letterman, and played to a record hometown crowd of 9,000 fans this past June — have earned themselves a dedicated local fanbase, and they’ll be sharing the Riverside stage with fellow fan favorite Rick Barry, the musician-ringmaster whose skills as songwriter and impresario made him a longstanding fixture at The Saint in Asbury Park. Keep it tuned to the BCC station for updates on webcast footage from the summer series (including an impromptu in-studio show by the rained-out but undaunted Nile). Riverside Gardens Park, West Front Street, Red Bank • 7 p.m./ FREE

FRIDAY: Joan Osborne at Two River Theater. The quirky, nose-ringed singer  who scored a left-field hit with “One Of Us” — and who’s since displayed real staying power through tours with the Dixie Chicks and Phil Lesh, as well as albums like the recent ‘Little Wild One’ — returns to Red Bank as the latest in the summertime series of Intimate Evenings concerts, produced by MusicWorks Entertainment and presented on the stage of Two River Theater as a benefit for the Count Basie Theatre Foundation. Take it here for tickets. Two River Theater, Bridge Avenue, Red Bank • 7:30 p.m./ $62 – $92

FRIDAY-SUNDAY: GREEN HONEY LOVE in Red Bank. The “dark comedy centered around greed, lust, and betrayal” continues this weekend (and for one more weekend through September 2) at the Count Basie Theatre‘s second-floor rehearsal space. Call (732) 370-8982 for reservations — and take it here for our detailed feature on the production presented by the community stage troupe Dunbar Repertory Company.  Count Basie Theatre (second floor), 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank • 8 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday/ $20

Joan Osborne and Judy Collins wrap up the “Intimate Evenings” summer series at Two River Theater, with back to back concerts on Friday and Saturday night.

FRIDAY and SUNDAY: MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL at the Basie. A smash hit in a series of nationwide tours, with several ever-changing casts of professional players, the “hilarious musical parody set to classic tunes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s” plays out as a series of production numbers starring a quartet of “women at a lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black lace bra AND memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more!” The show makes its return to Jersey with not one but THREE performances at the Count Basie Theatre; tonight, Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening. Take it here for tickets. Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank • 8 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday/ $39.50 – $59.50

FRIDAY: Red Bank Walking Lantern Ghost Tours. Suddenly, it’s Great Pumpkin time. The groovy ghoulies from Jersey Shore Ghost Tours shine a LED lamplight on some largely forgotten fragments of local lore, with multiple tours departing from 8:30pm in front of the Dublin House, every Friday night through Halloween. Tours and ticket sales meet at 8 p.m, in front of the Dub; call (732) 500-6262 to reserve, and take it here for our archived feature on this newly minted perennial of Dead Bank life. Dublin House, 30 Monmouth Street, Red Bank • 8:30 p.m./ $12

SATURDAY: Red Bank Street Life. The 2012 season goes out on a high note, as the summertime Saturday night series of free local music showcases concludes around the sidewalks and storefronts of the borough’s business district, with a strolling smorgasbord of sounds on display between the hours of 6 and 9pm. For the final week, it’s an especially eclectic musical menu featuring experimental guitarist Phred Morris at Danny’s Grill; Middletown’s own globe-trotting folk-gospel singer and songwriter Nancy Scharff at Bienvenue; plus the Corporation at the Dublin House; James Dunigan at Temple, and our friends from Tricity Jazz appearing at the ever-happening “White Street Bumpout.”  Take it  here for details. Locations around Red Bank • 6 to 10 p.m./ FREE

SATURDAY: Judy Collins at Two River Theater. The multiple Grammy winner, classically trained musician, acclaimed author and tireless activist has made Red Bank something of a habit in recent seasons — and Judy Collins devotees can revel in the return of this 50-year fan favorite as the climactic event in the summertime series of Intimate Evenings concerts, produced by MusicWorks Entertainment and presented on the stage of Two River Theater as a benefit for the Count Basie Theatre Foundation. Take it here for tickets. Two River Theater, Bridge Avenue, Red Bank • 7:30 p.m./ $78 – $162

SUNDAY: Music for Life Fundraiser at Taste. A restaurant inside the Galleria complex is the setting for a special fundraiser event, with proceeds dedicated to the family of terminally ill Red Bank resident Erin West Formica, a 36-year-old “great mother, wife and friend” whose medical and financial struggles have drawn the support of many performers in the regional music community. A donation of $30 gets you catered hors d’oeuvres from the Taste kitchen, and a musical menu that features a too-rare solo set by guitar ace Gil Velazquez, as well as  Moroccan Sheepherders, Scott Elk & Abe, Laura Catalina Johnson, Deedee Montanaro, Alan Manzo, Owen Bowes, DNA and event coordinator Courtney McManus. Those who can’t attend and would like to make out a donation to Erin West Formica can address checks to 345 Broad Street, Apt # 18, Red Bank, NJ 07701. Taste, 10 Bridge Avenue (Galleria building), Red Bank • 4 to 8 p.m./ $30 donation

SUNDAY: Free Film/ ‘BUCK’ at Unitarian Meetinghouse Lincroft. The Social Action Film series returns to the West Front Street meeting house of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, with a free screening of Buck, the Sundance Audience Award winning documentary on the man who inspired the Robert Redford film The Horse Whisperer.  Guest speaker and professional horse trainer Peter Boglioli introduces the portrait of master horseman Buck Brannaman, who “reveals details of his troubled childhood and his dawning awareness of new ways that humans and horses might work with one another. As Buck learns more about horses, he finds that the ways we communicate with our animal companions offer lessons on how we relate to fellow human beings.” Light refreshments served; call (732) 284-6312 or (908) 892-5409 for more info. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, 1475 West Front Street, Lincroft • 6 p.m./ FREE