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RED BANK: CHUCK LAMBERT HITS A MILESTONE

chuck-lambert-band-500x342-7810860Chuck Lambert, seen above performing at Riverfest in Marine Park in 2012, turns 65 years old Saturday, when he and his band are scheduled to play Jamian’s Food and Drink. Below, Lambert in downtown Red Bank in 2006. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

chuck-lambert-220x165-2956072In a way, it’s just another gig for a hardworking musician, one of maybe 250 he does each year in bars, clubs and on sidewalks on the Greater Red Bank Green, as well as in New York, Philly and Atlantic City.

But when Chuck Lambert plugs in at Jamian’s Food and Drink in Red Bank Saturday night, this one will be special for the local guitar legend, and not just because it’s occurring on his 65th birthday.

chuck-lambert-2009-500x375-2226996Lambert playing a StreetFest gig in downtown Red Bank in 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

“It’s always nice to be able to make your music in front of friends and family right around the corner,” the 30-year Red Bank resident tells redbankgreen. “You don’t want to lose touch with that.”

Not that there appears to be any great danger of that happening. Lambert stays connected to what he calls his “musical family” via an unrelenting schedule of appearances, whether it’s with the Chuck Lambert Band, as on Saturday, accompanying a singer such as Susan Haugenes, sitting in with any number of combos or playing solo.

Part of that output, of course, is the need to put food on the table: since he retired from a job at the Community YMCA, Lambert estimates he’s doubled his musical workload. “I’ve gotta fill up the dates,” he said with a laugh.

Still, within the work, there’s much to relish, even for someone who’s been playing professionally since he was a teenager in Plainfield, where he learned his blues, jazz and R&B chops alongside future members of Parliament Funkadelic.

Playing more “means you have to come up with more material, which makes you strive to achieve more things,” he said. “Whether you’re getting better, I’m not sure. But the opportunity to expand your horizons, different people to work with — that’s always important.”

And he’s always adding to his store of experiences, he said.

“Those aren’t just memories,” he said, reflecting on long-standing jam sessions at places like the Walt Street Pub and the Downtown. “They’re milestones, steps along the way. When you think about it that way, it keeps you grounded.”

Saturday’s show at Jamian’s kicks off at 9:30 p.m.

Want to know more about Chuck Lambert? Check out this profile that ran on the first day of redbankgreen‘s existence, June 1, 2006.

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