A lieutenant governor, a captain of industry and a rock ‘n roll field marshal are the honorees — with some music royalty in the house — when the Count Basie Theatre presents its 2015 Vanguard awards in Red Bank Saturday night.
Among the honored trio is Bobby Bandiera, the veteran singer-guitarist whose résumé stretches from legendary bar-band combos (Cats on a Smooth Surface) to major tours with the Asbury Jukes and Bon Jovi, in addition to his duties as bandleader-curator for the Basie’s HOPE Concerts and long-running series of Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue tributes.
The ceremony, which also honors New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Investors Bank executive Richard Spengler for their support of the arts in Monmouth County, is slated to occur at the halfway point of an ambitious performance by the students of the Basie’s school-of-rock Rockit!, a show that begins at 7 p.m. with a set of classic-rock Sounds of 1969, and continues with a full performance of The Who’s TOMMY.
The performance promises the participation of some special guests, including Maureen Van Zandt, a recipient (with husband Steven Van Zandt, of the E Street Band) of an inaugural Vanguard Award from last year, and a participant whose onstage acting-singing role stands in addition to her offstage work in the planning of the concert, as she assisted Lori Santoro in the creation of the kids’ stage costumes.
Also taking on an advisory role — and working personally with the young musicians of the classic-rock conservatory — is Carmine Appice, the influential Brooklyn-born drummer who came to prominence as a charter member of the 60s power combo Vanilla Fudge (and whose many credits include stints with Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, and the friendly-fire “Drum Wars” battles with his fellow-drummer brother Vinny).
Bandiera, the man who redbankgreen once described as “the hardest working Cat in Shore business,” is also expected to lend a lick or two to the recreation of Pete Townshend’s pivotal rock opera — while his onetime bandmate Southside Johnny Lyon has been announced as an additional guest for the Rockit! performance; joining Rick Byrd (a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his work with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) and Pat Guadagno, the local music legend (not to mention brother-in-law to the lieutenant guv).
The evening kicks off with a set of 1969 selections that range from the later works of Elvis Presley and the Beatles, to the debut efforts of King Crimson and more. Included will be historical information culled from the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation’s Teachrock program, founded by Steven Van Zandt — and all monies raised from the concert will go towards partnership program scholarships and other initiatives that fall within the Basie’s mission of providing arts education and outreach.
Southside Johnny, who resumes his New Year’s Eve concerts at the Basie in 2015, is scheduled to present the Vanguard award to Bandiera. Area businesswoman, philanthropist and Count Basie Theatre board member Carol Stillwell will present Lt. Governor Guadagno with hers, while American Storage CEO and Rumson resident Warren Diamond will present Richard Spengler with his Vanguard.
“The 2015 Vanguard awards will continue to shine a light on the Count Basie Theatre’s education and outreach programs and especially support the Theatre’s partnership programs such as Rockit, JazzArts and the Central Jersey Youth Chorale,” stated Count Basie Theatre President and CEO Adam Philipson in a press release. “This year’s three honorees aren’t just supporters of the Basie’s mission, but advocates for the importance of the arts in everyday life around our region.”
Take it here for tickets ($25 – $75) to Saturday’s show.