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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RED BANK: THAT’S SOME ENCHANTED EVENING

Khadijah MohammedKhadijah Mohammed, above, and Livia Tedesco, below, are among the performers joining Joe Muccioli’s Red Bank Jazz Orchestra Saturday night at the Two River Theater.

livia tedescoOther burgs may jostle for the “music city” label, but when it comes to jazz on the Jersey Shore, no other town can boast the William ‘Count’ Basie-birthing pedigree and passionate preservationism of Red Bank. And no one has worked harder to keep that cool blue flame burning than the people of the Jazz Arts Project.

The borough-based nonprofit that gave us the annual Sinatra Birthday Bash, the Summer Jazz Café, the Talkin’ Jazz series and our very own Red Bank Jazz Orchestra have another, recently minted tradition here in the waning days of daylight-savings time. And when conductor-arranger-artistic director Joe Muccioli and the RBJO take the stage at Two River Theater this Saturday night, they’ll be compensating for that lost “spring-ahead” hour by living large during the third annual event known as An Enchanted Evening of Song.

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RED BANK: AN ‘ENCHANTED’ ANNIVERSARY

Enchanted_Evening_50Jazz chanteuse Champian Fulton and Tony Corrao (left)  join host Bob Tuzzo and Joe Muccioli’s Red Bank Jazz Orchestra for An Enchanted Evening of Song, celebrating ten years of Jazz Arts Project excitement with a Saturday night concert at two River Theater.

Hard as it is to believe, it’s been a whole ten years since the nonprofit Jazz Arts Project first formed in Red Bank, with the aim of fostering  an appreciation of “America’s classical music,” here in the borough that birthed the legendary Count Basie — to say nothing of giving fans of sophisticated swingin’ sounds an excuse to get dressed up and dig some local events with a big-city vibe.

Since that time, the Jazz Arts org has made a big, bold, glorious noise courtesy of concerts starring the flagship Red Bank Jazz Orchestra and its skipper, conductor-arranger-artistic director Joe Muccioli. Not content to offer just a couple of shows each year, Jazz Arts has stayed busy around the calendar, with annual offerings like April’s Talkin’ Jazz lecture series, the Summer Jazz Cafe at Two River Theater, and December’s Sinatra Birthday Bash at the Count Basie Theatre. In addition, the Project continues to nurture the next generation of monster talents, through its educational partnership with the Basie, and its Head Start-style programs (such as an ongoing endeavor with the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County) that gives kids from at-risk and challenged communities the tools and the skills they need to make life-changing music.

In March 2014, Jazz Arts Project took to the Two River stage for the first in a new series of special concert events entitled An Enchanted Evening of Song — and when “Mooche” and members of the RBJO reconvene on Bridge Avenue this Saturday night, March 7, they’ll be reuniting with featured stars of last year’s show in a swingin’ gala affair that celebrates the milestone anniversary of a real community resource, and a genuine class act.

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TONY, TINA, BOBBY, SANTTU-MATIAS & MORE

ChampianTuzzoAbove: Champian Fulton, Bob Tuzzo and Tony Corrao take the bandstand when the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presents “An Enchanted Evening of Song” at Two River Theater. Below, twentysomething European conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali makes his NJ Symphony debut at the Basie. 

Friday, February 28:

SantuRED BANK: While it admittedly ain’t Shakespeare, the interactive “environmental” phenomenon known as Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding can be said to be one of the most influential theatrical offerings in a generation — even indirectly spawning a stroll-through spin on Macbeth at a seedy Manhattan hotel.

Beginning tonight, and continuing for four more performances this weekend, lovebirds Tony Nunzio and Tina Vitale repeatedly renew their vows in a production presented by the Count Basie Theatre — hosted NOT at the venerable Monmouth Street venue, but practically next door, at the nearby Buona Sera Ristorante. It’s there that guests can “eat, drink, dance, converse and get caught up in the festivities” as they stand in for Tony n’ Tina’s various extended family members and frenemies. The comedy and the comedic “drama” unfold with seatings at 7:30 pm Friday, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturday, and 12 and 6 pm. Sunday. Tickets ($100) include the ceremony, reception, baked ziti dinner, champagne toast, wedding cake, music and dancing. A $150 VIP option includes a “classic Italian meal and seat up close to the action.” Check here for reservations, close to selling out as we post this — and toss that bouquet for some more great catches and matches, as we Mach it into March.

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