RED BANK LIBRARY GETS HUGE CACHE OF CDs

J.R. Ford, left, and Jim Willis roll one of several loads of CDs into the library Friday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Several thousand CDs collected by a North Jersey man who had “heartbreakingly awesome taste” in classical music and jazz have been donated to the Red Bank Public Library just in time for a fundraiser for the financially strapped facility.

Library officials, who recently had to cut hours of operation for budgetary reasons, hope to put some, if not all, of the collection up for sale as part of the annual book sale fundraiser scheduled for February 2. In the interim, they’re looking for volunteers who know their Rachmaninoff from Rahsaan Roland Kirk to help sort the cache.

The collection, estimated to contain 2,500 to 3,000 CDs, some of them still unopened in their cellophane wrap, was assembled by Daniel Dean, a Parsippany man who died of brain cancer earlier this month at age 61.

A close friend friend, Roberta Karpinecz, tasked with cleaning out Dean’s apartment, put out word that she was willing to give it all away to an organization that would benefit from it.

Though a friend of a friend, Karpinecz got in touch with Red Bank library trustee Jim Willis, who also happens to be chief operating officer of the online classical music retailer Passionato. Willis arranged for the collection to go to the library, and with fellow Red Banker J.R. Ford, transported the haul down from Parsippany in a packed minivan on Friday.

Karpinecz, who herself is a trustee at the Somerville Public Library, said Dean would be “so excited to know that a library had taken his music, because he loved the library, and to know that the people who are going to buy those CDs love are people who love music.”

She said Dean got hooked on classical as a result of the records his parents used to buy at the supermarket in the late 1950s and ’60s. “It started a lifelong love,” she told redbankgreen. He was particularly fond of the Russian Romantics, with a particular interest in Sergei Rachmaninoff, she said. Willis said there are dozens of versions of Rachmaninoff’s second concerto in the collection.

Willis, who plays guitar in the Grateful Dead tribute band Dead Bank, said Dean’s ear for quality classical and jazz was impeccable. “The guy had such great taste,” he said.

“This is amazing stuff,” said acting library director Virginia Papandrea. “It’s really just an amazing collection.”

She said she hoped the CDs could be sorted in time for the annual book sale, and said she would welcome the help of volunteers “who know their music.” Tim Cronin, head buyer of used CDs and vinyl at Jack’s Music Shoppe, has volunteered to help with the sort, but more help is being sought. To volunteer, or for more information about the book sale, call 732-842-0690.

The library’s fourth annual used book sale is scheduled for Saturday, February 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission; those willing to pay $10 admission will be admitted at 9 a.m. A Bag Sale, in which shoppers get to fill a provided bag for $5, will be held Monday, February 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The weekend of events will kick off with a preview reception on Friday, February 1, from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is free for members of Friends of the Red Bank Public Library and $20 for others, with memberships available at the door. The evening will feature wine and appetizers, live music by local musician Jim Crawford, raffle items and first dibs at the book sale.