The partnership of the borough-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project with the Count Basie Theatre has yielded some swingin’ly successful results, from the young-musician Jazz Arts Academy to April’s recently wrapped Talkin’ Jazz series; and from December’s annual Sinatra Birthday Bash to other big-stage events showcasing our very own Red Bank Jazz Orchestra.
That said, just as Red Bank’s connection to America’s classical music is bigger even than the legendary “Kid from Red Bank” Count himself, so too does the Jazz Arts brand bust out of the boundaries of the Basie from time to time — witness the summertime slate of open-air concerts at Riverside Gardens, or the Summer Jazz Cafe series that candle-lights up the warm weekend nights at Two River Theater.
This Saturday night, the organization under the artistic direction of conductor-arranger-scholar Joe “Mooche” Muccioli returns to the Two River stage for the latest edition of what’s fast become a rhythmic rite of spring — the fundraiser concert event known as ‘An Enchanted Evening of Song.’
Scheduled to float its first note at 8 p.m., it’s the fourth annual edition of what’s been described as “an enchanting journey through the pages of the Great American Songbook.” Even more enchanting, the show’s a benefit for one of Jazz Arts Project’s most celebrated endeavors: a series of “Head Start”-style music education programs in Red Bank and Asbury Park, dedicated to providing kids from at-risk and underserved communities with the instruments, the instruction and the mentorship they need to make some beautiful music.
Conducted in concert with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County, the education sessions are designed to inspire a whole new generation of young musicians, here in the footsteps of where Count Basie and Duke Ellington first got a sense of their noble destiny, and where the likes of Billie Holiday and Lionel Hampton made it a point to stop by when on the road.
Joining Maestro Mooche and his marvelous RBJO organization onstage will be a mix of encore enchanters and Two River first-timers; a bill emceed once more by Jazz Arts board member, prime mover (and moonlighting serenader) Bob Tuzzo. Also on hand will be a fellow veteran of Sinatra salutes past: Monmouth County-based Chairman-of-the-Board channeler Tony Corrao.
Making their local debut will be the Belle Tones, an “All-American female trio” whose repertoire of Broadway blockbusters, songbook standards and patriotic perennials spans the decades from the 1920s to the 80s (with the expected reveille under the Andrews Sisters’ apple tree) — and rounding out the evening’s enchantments will be the classic-crooner romantic baritone of the awesomely talented Jerry Pearce.
Proceeds from the evening go to fund the Project’s aforementioned youth programs, and admission ($25, $50) includes a coffee and dessert reception in the lobby (a $100 VIP ticket also includes prime seating and entry to a pre-show cocktail hour). Take it here for tickets.