LINCROFT: A SPIKE IN ATTENDANCE AT UUCMC

Spike WilnerThe “Earth Room” of Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse is the setting this Sunday, for a free winter’s afternoon jazz concert featuring pianist Mike “Spike” Wilner.

Its “Earth Room” sanctuary has served for years as the greater Red Bank green’s go-to venue for guest lectures on progressive causes, in addition to regularly scheduled Social Action Film screenings of hot-topic documentaries — and, beginning in 2016, a slate of concert events that’s placed some internationally acclaimed modern folk music artists in front of Monmouth County audiences for the very first time.

This Sunday afternoon, January 29, Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County becomes a jazz club, albeit one that trades the candlelit-cool night owl vibe for the streaming light of the stained glass windows and the afternoon delights of pianist Spike Wilner.

Known among aficionados of “America’s Classical Music” for his numerous sets with his trio, the native New Yorker is also renowned as the co-owner/ manager of the Greenwich Village nightspot Smalls Jazz Club, as well as the founder of the affiliated SmallsLIVE record label. For his free jazz (meaning free of charge) performance at 3 p.m., Wilner will appear in an intimate solo setting, playing improvisational jazz numbers while sharing “chat with the audience about the tunes…as well as some stories about the New York jazz scene past and present.”

It’s an intimate words-and-music interlude that promises to showcase both the raconteur skills and the keyboard virtuosity of the guest artist — son  of a rabbinical dynasty, and veteran of big bands led by Maynard Ferguson and the legendary Artie Shaw. It’s also a sponsored presentation of UUCMC’s Dialog Conveners Committee — the folks who bring you this Sunday morning’s “Women Rangers, Gay Marines, and Transgender Soldiers: What It Means in the Age of Trump,” a 9 a.m. discussion led by Sue Fulton, an Asbury Park resident appointed by President Obama to the West Point Board of Visitors (and profiled recently in the New York Times Magazine).

At the 5 p.m. conclusion of the Wilner concert, attendees are invited to keep it at the Meetinghouse for a free reception with the artist — followed by the latest in the Social Action Film Series, a free 6:30 p.m. screening of The Empty Chair, “a unique documentary about how Japanese Americans from Juneau, Alaska were sent to prison camps during WWII and how the small Alaskan community stood in quiet defiance against the immoral internment of American citizens.”

Call (732)747-0707 for more info, visit the Congregation’s website — or keep it tuned to the “Go On Green” events calendar here on redbankgreen — for details on the many other public-invited programs at the Meetinghouse, including a coffeehouse-style “Stories from the Heart” fundraiser program (February 11), a chamber recital with violinist Joel DeWitt and pianist Evan Schwartzman (February 12), and a “Voices of Black Experience” panel on the topic of the fight against mass incarcerations (February 18).

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