RED BANK: ROCKIT & A RASCAL TO ROCK BASIE

The classic-rock conservatory kids of the Count Basie’s Rockit! program hit the Basie boards Saturday with a salute to the Summer of Love. 

It goes without saying that none of the dynamic young vocalists and instrumentalists of Rockit! at the Basie were around for 1967’s fabled Summer of Love — and chances are excellent that few if any of their parents were, either. So perhaps their grandparents could tell them a thing or two about life a half a century ago, when the air was charged with ready-or-not change and momentum, not to mention patchouli oil.

Of course, you didn’t have to be there with flowers in your hair to recognize that the year was a pivotal one for the popular culture in general, and a fast-maturing rock music in particular. So when the kids from Rockit! take to the famous stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank this Saturday evening, they’ll be channeling the spirit of the era’s most game-changing album — and welcoming an in-the-flesh veteran of a genuine hit-making institution.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDTS STAR AT ROCKIT GALA

Van Zandts RockitCount Basie Theatre board members Maureen and Steven Van Zandt (center) are pictured with performers from the Rockit Live music program at a 2014 concert event. The Van Zandts will be guest of honor at Rockit’s inaugural fundraising gala on September 25. (Photo courtesy Rockit Live Foundation)

Press release from Rockit Live Foundation

The Rockit Live Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural gala, honoring Maureen and Steven Van Zandt for their lifetime devotion and contribution to young artists and music education.

A benefit dinner will be held at Buona Sera Palazzo Banquet Hall in Ocean Township on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25, and will feature livemusical performances from the young Rockit musicians, along with Steven Van Zandt and special guests.

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RED BANK: ROCKIT AROUND THE SPROCKETS

Drummer_Carmine_Appice_(right)_works_with_Basie_Rockit!_students_in_advance_of_their_Vanguard_Awards_performance_on_August_29th.Legendary drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck) is shown working with students of the Count Basie’s Rockit! program in 2015. The classic-rock conservatory kids hit the Basie boards on Saturday with a program entitled, “Rock and Roll Goes to the Movies.”  

It’s been an unfathomably long time — at least a couple of generations before any of the student musicians of Rockit! at the Basie were born — but there was a day when the presence of a youth-oriented rhythm bopper like “Rock Around the Clock” on a major-studio movie soundtrack represented a societal sea-change, one that threatened to spill soda-fountain milkshakes into the riot-torn streets and tilt the earth off its axis more surely than the atomic arsenals of any Commie (or possibly Martian) power.

Since then, of course, Hollywood has more than made its peace with the jukebox. Uncle Oscar and cousin Grammy soon discovered a mutually lucrative method of keeping the cashboxes ka-chinging. Entire film vehicles were engineered around performers who had never so much as appeared in a school pageant. Rockers became actors and even directors. The carefully curated and licensed soundtrack album became an art form unto itself.

On Saturday night, the kids from Rockit! return to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for a whirlwind tour of that cultural crossroads where “Rock and Roll Goes to the Movies.”

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