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RED BANK: SANSONE TO TURN UP THE STEAM

Johnny Sansone (left) is joined by guitarist John Fohl (right) for a special “Reckless Steamy Nights” house party that brings a blast of N’awlins heat to Red Bank’s Woman’s Club Friday night.

For the latest in their long-running series of monthly Reckless Steamy Nights live music events, the folks at the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation are cranking up the burners and serving up a fiery gumbo laced with the flavors of New Orleans.

Going up this Friday at the old Anthony Reckless estate (home of the Woman’s Club of Red Bank), the 8:30 p.m. house party throws open the door for a Big Easy bluesman of impeccable credentials: singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Sansone.

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RED BANK: FAB FAUX SPINS ‘REVOLVER’

The Fab Faux take the Basie stage Saturday for a full-on recreation of the revolutionary Beatles album ‘Revolver.’ (Photo by Michael Weintraub)

In a season that’s justifiably obsessed with the golden anniversary of a little phonograph record by the name of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it might be easy to overlook the album that truly made the Pepper platter possible: Revolver, the 1966 Beatles release that kicked off the Fab Four’s focus on studio projects in earnest — and an idea-packed long-player that more than a few observers consider to be the greatest rock album of all time.

For the 16th edition of what’s become a dependable signifier of summer in Red Bank, the super-sessionman Beatle-reboot known as the Fab Faux takes the stage of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Saturday night for a performance of Revolver in its entirety, plus a mixed set of classic hits.

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LINCROFT: BLUEGRASS IN THE GRASS

It could happen, just like that, by the picnic tables near the playground equipment. On the shaded lawn across from the Visitors Center. Maybe somewhere around the barn, along the lakeside trails, or down by the old gazebo. According to the folks at the Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Association of New Jersey (BOTMA), the phenomenon known as Pickin’ in the Park could occur with the suddenness of a kinder-gentler summer storm — and “you just never know who will show up to spend the day pickin’.”

Regular readers of redbankgreen have been clued in to the BOTMA organization’s monthly Sunday jams  at Little Silver’s Embury United Methodist Church — a “best kept secret” that runs from September to May each year. But as to the question of where the music goes in summer, look no further than the many public nooks and crannies of Lincroft’s Thompson Park.

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SANDY HOOK: BEACH CONCERTS ARE BACK

The season of free Sandy Hook Beach Concerts lets fly its first note Wednesday evening, with the Brian Kirk and the Jirks head back to the beach when the free concert series on Sandy Hook returns Wednesday evening.

If you’ve got sand in your (flip-flop) dancing shoes…picnic provisions in your cooler…the salty sea air at your back…and a classic party-starting song in your head, courtesy of a plugged-in professional band…you just might have found yourself at the Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series, the 2017 schedule of which serves up its first volley tomorrow evening, June 14.

Going up around 6 p.m. at Beach Area E on the Hook, the long-running Wednesday series of free-for-alls is sponsored by the nonprofit Sandy Hook Foundation, and arrives complete with sandy sitdown seating, all-natural A/C, and complimentary picture-perfect sunsets.

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RED BANK: SYMPHONY ‘FINALE’ AT BASIE

Conductor Xian Zhang discusses the New Jersey Symphony’s season-finale concerts, which include at stop in Red Bank Saturday night.

It was an eclectic slate of programming, one in which sought-after international soloists and the works of the old masters shared the stage with modern Broadway babies and romantic favorites from the contemporary pop playlist.

For its season finale at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra kicks out the jams in classically classical fashion Saturday under the baton of celebrated conductor Xian Zhang.

But as redbankgreen regulars know, the concert won’t be the last opportunity for locals to hear a symphony this summer.

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RED BANK: STREETLIFE BUSKS OUT ALL OVER

Luminous hula-hoop artist Eryka Andrex in performance during a past edition of Red Bank StreetLife, the weekly summer sidewalk concert series that returns to town Saturday. 

If it’s the start of June, it must be time for the return of Red Bank StreetLife, the summertime Saturday series of live entertainment that commandeers the sidewalks, storefronts and bumpouts of the borough’s business district beginning — and, for the first time in its 17-year history — on the third Thursday of June and July.

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LINCROFT: A JAZZY ‘TONIGHT’ SHOW AT CBA

Longtime ‘Tonight Show’ bandleader Kevin Eubanks is this year’s spotlight attraction at the annual jazz concert fundraiser at Christian Brothers Academy.

The recent graduation ceremony may have marched to the traditionally stately strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” but adhering to a recently minted tradition at Christian Brothers Academy, the close of the academic session is being given a jazzy jam-session coda, courtesy of this year’s edition of the CBA Jazz Series.

Tonight, the 350-seat Henderson Theatre at the Lincroft school hosts the sixth annual entry in the fundraiser concert series, an event that appropriately enough stars the onetime leader of TV’s Tonight Show band, guitarist Kevin Eubanks.

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RED BANK: ‘BOBFEST’ OF DYLAN, WAR & PEACE

A promo video recaps the history of the annual Bobfest salute to Bob Dylan, which returns to the Count Basie Theatre Thursday night.

When he first offered an impromptu birthday toast to Bob Dylan during a 1999 set at the old Downtown Café in Red Bank, Jersey Shore “saloon singer” supreme Pat Guadagno didn’t harbor any thoughts of making Bobfest an annual thing, let alone an ever-expanding phenomenon with a life and passionate following all its own.

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RED BANK: MCC AWARDS VOCAL SCHOLARSHIPS

Press release from Monmouth Civic Chorus

Students from Red Bank Regional High School and Middletown High School North were among the vocally talented New Jersey high school seniors  awarded a total of $3000, as part of The Monmouth Civic Chorus scholarship program for 2017. The awards will be presented on June 2 during the “Northern Lights” Chorus concert at St. Mary Church, located at 1 Phalanx Road in Colts Neck.

A $1000 first-place award went to RBR student Ashleigh Dannielle Wolf; a member of the school’s Concert and Chamber choirs, as well as the New Jersey All State Treble and Mixed Choirs, the All State Opera Chorus, and the New Jersey All Shore Chorus, whose scholarship she also won in 2017. A resident of Freehold, Ashleigh plans to attend the Eastman School of Music.

A $700 award went to MHSN student Richard Cardile, who has performed with the school’s Concert and Chamber choirs, as well as the High School North singing group Acapella. A member of the New Jersey All Shore Chorus, New Jersey All State Mixed Chorus and the Middletown Assembly of God Church Choir, Richard plans to attend Montclair State University.

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RED BANK: SYMPHONY TO PLAY MARINE PARK

Music lovers are expected to line the slope at Marine Park to hear the New Jersey Symphony. Restrooms now under construction are visible at top left. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

RiverFest may be off the calendar, but there will be at least one night of music in Red Bank’s Marine Park this summer.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra plans to christen the newly refurbished park with a free, open-air concert in July.

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RED BANK: SUNSET SONATA AT ST. THOMAS

Celebrated young pianist Nicolas Namoradze visits Red Bank’s St. Thomas Episcopal Church Saturday for the latest in a new series of Impromptu Classical Music Recitals.

Aficionados of vocal and instrumental classical music already know the borough of Red Bank (plus its landmark Tower Hill Church and Count Basie Theatre) as the area’s undisputed headquarters for such cultural commerce — a welcoming harbor for everything from the Monmouth Symphony and Monmouth Civic Chorus, to the New Jersey Chamber Singers and the Monmouth Conservatory of Music.

If there remains something of a “best kept secret” on the scene, it would have to be St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the West Side house of worship (at 26 East Sunset Avenue) that recently became the area’s host venue of choice for the highly regarded touring presentations known as the Impromptu! Classical Music Recital Series. And this Saturday night, the series returns to Sunset as the church’s grand Yamaha piano welcomes the expert touch of the celebrated 24-year old composer-pianist Nicolas Namoradze.

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RED BANK: A FRONTIER FUNDER AT TWO RIVER

Two River Theater.

Although it’s a brand-spanking-new addition to the growing crop of world premieres from Red Bank’s own Two River Theater Company, the upcoming production The Ballad of Little Jo represents the culmination of a years-long process, through which the borough-based stage troupe nurtured and developed the highly anticipated musical adaptation that closes out its 2016-’17 season in grand style.

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A KEY EVENT FOR RBR PIANO PROGRAM

Pictured (left to right) with their Piano teacher Camille Thompson are several of the piano majors performing at Red Bank Regional’s celebratory concert on May 24: Anna Cuozzo, Jacqueline Conforti, Pieter Lootsma, Elijah Nishiura, and Griffin Perry. Playing the piano is Andrew Hall.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

On the evening of Wednesday, May 24, the piano majors of the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Red Bank Regional High School invite the public to a special Piano and Harp Concert at the high school on Ridge Road in Little Silver. Scheduled for 7 p.m., the event celebrates the 25th anniversary of the high school’s piano program, and showcases ten piano majors in performances of pieces from such classical masters as Chopin, Beethoven and Bach.

The student performers  include piano majors Evan Bardinas (Bradley Beach), William Casey (Red Bank), Jacqueline Conforti (Millstone), Anna Cuozzo (Little Silver), Andrew Hall (Little Silver), Pieter Lootsma (Little Silver), Elijah Nishiura (Red Bank), Griffin Perry (Little Silver), Salvatore Valente (Atlantic Highlands), and Jalen Willis (Neptune City).

In addition, a Harp Ensemble including Alona Gerdes (Bradley Beach), Edith Hernandez (Red Bank), Charlotte Jansky (Little Silver), Adeline Monfil (Red Bank), and Edith Torres (Union Beach) will play ensemble pieces “Allegro” by Suzuki and “Rondeau” by Mouret.

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RED BANK: JAZZED AND ENCHANTED

Master of ceremonies Bob Tuzzo (above) and the Belle Tones (below) are among the performers joining Joe Muccioli’s Red Bank Jazz Orchestra Saturday night at the Two River Theater.

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.’

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LINCROFT: ROOM FOR TWO MORE, AT UUCMC

Folk singer Joe Crookston takes the mic at the Unitarian Meetinghouse this Saturday at the latest in the slate of Earth Room Concerts.

A little more than a year since sounding its first note in spring 2016, the Earth Room Concert Series at Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation has established itself as a successful and genuinely “alternative” outpost in the midst of a big music-mad backyard.

Even as other area towns and venues have made a name for themselves as go-to places for classical music, jazz, blues, bluegrass and rock, the organizers of the Earth Room series sensed something of a deficit when it came to connecting folk music fans with national/international touring acts — the kind who often couldn’t stake out a place to play, other than the odd summertime festival.

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LINCROFT: ART AND MUSIC FEST IS A BIG TENT

Live artist demos are just some of the attractions at Thompson Park during Saturday’s Creative Arts and Music Festival.

While it doesn’t really qualify as a “best kept secret,” the annual Creative Arts and Music Festival in Lincroft does keep a bit of a low profile, relative to such  parking-lot-packers as last weekend’s Red Bank International Beer Wine and Food Fest.

But if your idea of a mid-spring’s afternoon is to enjoy a comfortably paced introduction to some of the Greater Red Bank Green’s  most inspired purveyors of sight and sound — mixed with ample breathing room, free admission, and plenty of free parking — then Saturday’s daylong happening at Thompson Park could be just the pre-season appetizer you’re looking for.

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RED BANK: BASIE SEEKS TEEN OPERA VOICES

Press release from Count Basie Theatre 

The Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy today has announced a summer residency with famed Los Angeles Opera director Eli Villanueva, on a summer opera camp program for vocalists aged 10-17.

The two-week intensive, open to students of all vocal types, begins with auditions on Saturday, May 20 — and culminates with a pair of performances of Brundibar, the famed children’s opera originally staged at the Theresientadt concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia. Needs-based scholarships will be available to those students who qualify.

The public performances will take place on Saturday, August 19 at the Count Basie Theatre and on Sunday, August 20 at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River.

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RED BANK: FOOD FEST TO PACK PARKING LOT

More than 20 local food purveyors will be present  when the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest commandeers the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

While the recent cancellation of Riverfest has left a hole in Red Bank’s yearly segue into summer, fans of strolling smorgasbords and top-down tunes needn’t wait too long to get their festival fix — as this Sunday, the White Street municipal parking lot will be the scene for the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest.

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LINCROFT: DOGS AND GUITARS ON DISPLAY

The Monmouth County SPCA’s annual Dog Walk and Pet Fair returns to Brookdale Community College Saturday.

This weekend marks the return of two more-or-less yearly events to the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College — the Monmouth County SPCA Dog Walk and Pet Fair and the Brookdale Guitar Show — both of which had their origins in the generally cooler months and have since relocated to rank among the favorite rites of spring on the Greater Red Bank Green.

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FAIR HAVEN: SELDIN STORMS BACK AT 70

Shore music legend Stormin’ Norman Seldin returns to the scene of a legendary months-long stand when he observes his 70th birthday Saturday night in Fair Haven.

With all due props to Count Basie, he’s the “other” Kid from Red Bank, even if he’s long since earned a senior discount at IHOP.

To aficionados of the Shore music scene, Stormin’ Norman Seldin is still the same ginger-haired, piano-pounding prodigy (at age 13, the youngest person to become a member of the American Federation of Musicians) who’d staked out a career as a singer, bandleader, promoter and record label owner by his teens — and who, through his old combo the Joyful Noyze, introduced audiences to a bigger-than-life talent by the name of Clarence Clemons.

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RED BANK: RIVERFEST UNPLUGGED, AGAIN

The event, which often drew tens of thousands of visitors to Marine Park, was revived in 2011 after a 10-year absence. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Scratch another big outdoor event from the calendar: this year’s Red Bank Riverfest is off.

The cancellation followed a dispute over money, with the borough claiming it had been shorted last year, and an event organizer saying the town had “nickeled and dimed” the food-and-music festival until it was no longer viable.

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RED BANK: BASIE TO ABSORB CONSERVATORY

Vladislav Kovalsky, below, plans to fold the Monmouth Conservatory of Music, which he’s headed since 1998, into the Count Basie Theatre.

In a move that further cements its place at the heart of the Greater Red Bank Green’s cultural life, the Count Basie Theatre plans to merge the borough-based Monmouth Conservatory of Music into its existing suite of musical training and performance programs.

In a statement released Wednesday, the theater’s board of directors detailed a plan to assume operations of the 53-year-old MCM as a component of the Basie’s slate of specialized instruction programs in jazz, classic rock and Broadway-style performing arts.

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LINCROFT: A NOVEL SETTING FOR FOLK FANS

Toronto-based folk musicians the Young Novelists (above) and Pittsburgh’s Brad Yoder (below) play the Unitarian meetinghouse Saturday night.

In just one year as a regularly scheduled feature on this planet, the Earth Room Concert Series at Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation has managed to make a big noise — in its own relatively quiet, intimately scaled fashion.

Internationally known touring and recording artists who otherwise couldn’t stake a claim at any of the Jersey Shore’s many concert halls, rock clubs and coverband bars have found snug harbor — and connected with passionate audiences of folk/ roots/ Americana music fans — within the welcoming walls of the UUC’s West Front Street meetinghouse.

This Saturday evening, the series that’s spotlighted the talents of singing spouses (the Kennedys), sisters (the Nields), surviving partners (Tracy Grammer) and stalwart solos (Matt Nakoa) introduces the Greater Red Bank Green to another couple of musically minded marrieds: the Toronto-based group known as the Young Novelists.

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RED BANK: WORDS AND JAZZ ON MONMOUTH

Jazz chanteuse Champian Fulton (above) is among the guest speakers — while Ella Fitzgerald and “Kid from Red Bank” Count Basie are among the topics — when the annual Talkin’ Jazz series returns Monday. 

“If you can play —— if you can show me something, whoever you are —— I’’m listening,” said Red Bank-based jazz maven Joe “Mooche” Muccioli in these paperless pages several years back. It was a statement that underscored the democratic attributes of jazz music — and at the same time, it served to drive home the point that a true jazz player has got to go beyond talking that talk, and walk that walk.

During the National Jazz Appreciation Month of April, however, it’s also about talking the talk — particularly when the spoken word serves to illuminate the music that’s been called America’s one truly homegrown art form.

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