Whether you’re a serious jazz aficionado – you know, the kind who hears a record and can name the session date, all of the players, and what they had for lunch – or simply one who digs all that a sophisticatedly swinging set does to the general mood, you’ve got to appreciate the fact that it’s been a July to remember, jazzwise, in Red Bank.
This weekend sees the final entry in the 2015 Summer Jazz Café series at Two River Theater, while the music plays on at Riverside Gardens during the free Thursday night slate of Jazz in the Park concerts; all of it programmed by borough-based Jazz Arts Project and artistic director Joe “Mooche” Muccioli.
Little more than a week after taking the Sandy Hook beach stage with her showband, Motor City Revue, Shore-based vocal dynamo Layonne Holmes steps outside again – this time at the front of a relatively new project, the New Standard Jazz Ensemble.
The singer of impeccable pedigree and exquisitely eclectic tastes boasts many other affiliations that include Tim McLoone and the Shirleys, Holiday Express, and (together with her late mom, Delores) some high-profile work with a certain Mr. Springsteen. The pedigreed powerhouse returns to the sculpted terraces and waterfront walkways of Riverside Gardens on Thursday, July 30, joining her combo for a program of songbook signatures that floats its first note over the sunset Navesink at 7:30 pm. Bring your own beach chair-and-blanket seating to the free event presented by Red Bank Parks and Recreation; the panoramic scenery and downtown-energized vibe is free. Then take it here for complete schedule details on the 2015 Jazz in the Park series, an offering that continues through the month of August.
Closing time at the Summer Jazz Café means a special one-night-only guest event on Friday, July 31, as Mooche and friends send a Red Bank welcome-back to Jon Faddis. The Grammy-nominated trumpet ace (who took the spotlight in a spectacular 2014 Count Basie Theatre salute to the Miles Davis version of Porgy and Bess, featuring the Muccioli-conducted Red Bank Jazz Orchestra) joins his quartet for an evening that keynotes at 8 pm with a short set by the students of the Jazz Arts Academy Summer camp.
There’s still one more chance to savor the savvy sounds, the delectable desserts and the candlelit community on Saturday, August 1, as the “young lions” of the Academy return to the black-box Marion Huber space at Two River for a full-length showcase of their frankly awesome skills. After that, the Café vanishes for another year, in a manner befitting its celebrated status as “New Jersey’s best kept secret.” Take it here for tickets ($25) to Friday and Saturday’s shows – and go here for details on the Jazz Arts Academy’s Summer Camp Week, continuing through July 31.
Jazz in the Park plays on at Riverside Gardens right on up to Labor Day’s doorstep, so keep it tuned to redbankgreen (and our dedicated Facebook forum) for the update on the downbeat.