STEWART, WILLIAMS TAKE IT TO THE COUNT

Locally connected guys Brian Williams and Jon Stewart — pictured during one of the NBC news anchor’s frequent appearances on THE DAILY SHOW — team up on December 16 for a Hurricane Sandy Relief fundraiser at the Count Basie, with tickets going on sale at noon today.

By TOM CHESEK

Ask anyone who’s ever wound up in line with him at Welsh Farms or Super Foodtown. Scroll through those tweets and Facebook posts from your sister-in-law who was seated at the very next table from him at Blue Water Seafood. Remind yourself that of all the refuges in this great land, the most recognized political satirist of our time chose to make his double-wide domicile on the Red Bank side of the Navesink (a scoop first reported right here on redbankgreen). No two ways about it — Jon Stewart is a Local Guy.

Then consider the case of the internationally renowned newsman, whose first job in media was delivery boy for the old Courier weekly in Middletown. A major figure on the national scene, whose interviews are frequently peppered with references to Brookdale Community College, or the former Perkins Pancake House on Route 35. From his days at Mater Dei High School to his time as a volunteer firefighter, Brian Williams remains at heart a Local Guy.

Although the host of The Daily Show and the anchor of NBC Nightly News have sometimes blurred the discussion of “which one’s the journalist, and which one’s the jokester,” the two titans of television have forged a fast friendship over the years — guesting on each other’s shows (with Williams tallying more than 20 shots on Stewart’s cablecast), and joining forces for the occasional tandem appearance. That is, when they’re not variously hosting the Oscars, reporting from war zones, interviewing heads of state, or drawing over 200,000 people to a rally at the National Mall.

On Sunday, December 16, the two locals team up once again for a one-time, one-of-a-kind live appearance — this time on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre, where they’re scheduled to sit down with moderator (and New York Times media reporter) Bill Carter in a free-form event from which all proceeds go to benefit Monmouth and Ocean Counties for Hurricane Sandy Relief, and for which tickets go on sale at noon today, December 5.

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BANDIERA & BAND TAKE ON ‘SOLO’ BEATLES

Bandiera on the Run: Guitarist Bob Bandiera (at right) assembles the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue at the Basie Friday for a tribute to the post-Beatle careers of the Beatles.

By TOM CHESEK

Does guitarist and vocalist Bob Bandiera‘s musical versatility have any limits?

When he’s not busy maintaining a longstanding lieutenancy with Southside Johnny and the Jukes, the veteran of over 40 years’ worth of local barband gigs might be globetrotting as a touring guitarist with Bon Jovi. Back home in Jersey, Bandiera’s been known to plan the occasional holiday-season Hope Concert (a star-studded series that’s boasted the participation of Bruce Springsteen, Southside, JBJ and more), travel with Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express, and, somewhere in there, prosecute a solo career that’s seen him play everywhere from theater-scale venues to the barstool in the corner at your favorite hometown watering hole.

But it’s the intermittent supergroup one-nighters by the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue at the Count Basie Theatre that have remained the best showcases of Bandiera’s virtuosity and encyclopedic mastery of pop music. Fronting a jukebox Justice League of talented friends from the regional bandscape, the guy who cut his teeth in such classic cover combos as Holme and Cats has conceived and performed tributes to favorite artists (Roy Orbison, Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees), as well as a Tribute to Trios, One Hit Wonders, Bands of Brothers and about a half dozen other theme-perfect entertainments.

On Friday, August 17, the-14 piece “Basie House Band” reconvenes at the Monmouth Street landmark for a special salute to the music of the Beatles. Special, because it’s a tribute to their solo careers, a rich vein of material from the years in which the former MopTops continued to write and make guest appearances on each other’s recordings — provided they didn’t all have to be in the same room together. The Legacy Rock Desk at redbankgreen spoke to Bandiera on why the 8 pm event may be even more special than we reckoned. Flip the record over for more.

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HOPE SWINGS ETERNAL FOR BANDIERA

lBob Bandiera brings his all-star jinglebell-jam rock spectacular back to the Basie on Monday night with Hope Concert V.

In an interview we did with Bob Bandiera a couple of seasons back, the veteran musical go-to guy fessed up to the effect that “I’ve got about 95 guitars. My wife is not happy about it — she allotted me two rooms for my music. But you know it’s fun to have that arsenal.”

What the Hardest Working Man in the Shore Music Business also appears to have is a “little black book” of friends that must rival the Oxford Unabridged for sheer heft — that, or a Rolodex the size of the “Big Wheel” from The Price Is Right.

On Monday night, December 19, a few of those friends — otherwise known as “almost every significant artist on the Jersey Shore” — will meet up with Bobby B in Red Bank town to take part in a little fundraiser show by the name of Hope Concert V, a local tradition that makes a much anticipated (and very much SOLD OUT) return to the boards of the Count Basie Theatre.

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