In case you haven’t heard, December 12 marks the 100th anniversary of the humble Hoboken debut of Francis Albert Sinatra — the beyond-iconic “Chairman of the Board” whose birthday is the second most celebrated such affair on the twelfth-month calendar page.
It’s an occasion that’s being observed in swinging style from “New York, New York” to “”LA Is My Lady” and every casino cocktail lounge, piano bar and pizzeria in between — with a certain house right here in Red Bank a crucial part of the proceedings.
This Sunday afternoon, the fabulous “freight train” that is our very own Red Bank Jazz Orchestra reconvenes under the direction of conductor-arranger-ringmaster Joe “Mooche” Muccioli for the ninth annual edition of the Sinatra Birthday Bash. Kicking off at the earlybird hour of 4 p.m., the special centennial set returns once more to the Count Basie Theatre, the hallowed hall christened in memory of one of Sinatra’s preferred partners in pop perfection: the piano player, bandleader and eternal “Kid From Red Bank” known as Bill “Count” Basie.
As befits such a swell party, it’s a Jersey-pride jam that boasts the added participation of not one but two entertainers of impeccable Garden State cred — as well as a next-gen performer with a pedigree tracing back to Sinatra’s fabled Rat Pack.
Taking the mic for a spotlight number or two is a guy who starred in the very first Sinatra Birthday bash event, way back in 2007 — actor/comedian and singing impressionist Joe “What Exit?” Piscopo. The Saturday Night Sinatra who introduced the nation to his Frank characterization on the 1980s-era SNL has honed that toupee’d salute into the centerpiece of a slick and confident old-school club act for which the Red Bank-based Muccioli has long served as music director.
They’ll be joined by a special guest whose fame extends from a legendary run on local cable and the way-out fringes of the old UHF dial, to countless thousands of have-piano-will-travel gigs at the street fairs, supper clubs, store openings and spaghetti dinners of Planet Jersey: Uncle Floyd Vivino.
Then there’s vivacious vocalist Deana Martin, a one-degree-of-separation connection to the great Dino himself.
The trio of headline guests will be augmented by five featured pros from Bashes past: smooth crooner Tony Corrao, marvelous moonlighter John De Marco, piano chanteuse Champian Fulton, Carnegie Club cabaret regular Steven Maglio and big-band frontguy Ron Sunshine. The young performing-arts majors of the Red Bank Regional High School Concert Choir (under the director of RBR’s Kris Zook) will take the spotlight for a choral number as well — and the whole big cast will be backed by the full faith ‘n credit of Mooche and the RBJO, an organization of sought-after session cats whose ranks will swell to 30 players with the addition of a string section.
It’s a show from which proceeds will be dedicated to the educational programs of the Jazz Arts Project, the borough-based nonprofit of which Mooche (himself an in-demand orchestra leader, arranger and jazz scholar of international note) serves as artistic director. Go here for tickets ($39.50 to $100), with the top-tier admission price gaining entry to a post-show afterparty at the Basie’s neighboring Performing Arts Annex.