RED BANK: APARTMENT PROJECTS PLANNED

red bank 121 monmouth street A rendering of the Monmouth Street side of the project proposed by Michael Salerno. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSixty-nine new apartments would be built on the edge of downtown Red Bank if two projects pending before the planning and zoning boards  win approval.

One would replace a building that holds a place in rock ‘n roll history as the home of Big Man’s West, a club owned by late saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

CLEMONS RECALLED AS A TRUE ‘BIG MAN’

clarenceClarence Clemons, right, backs up Stormin’ Norman Seldin, behind the piano, at the Lock, Stock and Barrel in Fair Haven sometime in the late ’70s. (Photo courtesy of Norman Seldin; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He’d already soared into the music industry stratosphere alongside Bruce Springsteen when Clarence Clemons bumped into an old friend, the guy who helped get him his start in the Jersey Shore music scene, and asked if he could sit in, like old times, playing the saxophone.

The late-1970s encounter took place in Sea Bright, where Clemons had a home and was known for towing local kids around with fishing poles for some post-tour R&R.

And earlier this year, to celebrate his 69th birthday, Clemons bought a plane ticket for a longtime friend and former bandmate to fly down to Florida to sing at the party.

Clemons, who passed away Saturday from complications of a stroke, invested as much of himself in his friends and community as he did in his music, friends told redbankgreen in interviews this week, following the Big Man’s death.

Flags will be flown at half-staff throughout New Jersey in Clemons’ honor Thursday. A funeral service was held Tuesday in Palm Beach, Florida.

Read More »

‘MAGIC WAS HAPPENING’ AT BIG MAN’S WEST

clemons-big-mans-westClarence Clemons playing at Big Man’s West in Red Bank in an undated photo courtesy of Lewis Bloom Photo. The Monmouth Street space is now home to a gym. (Click to enlarge)

big-mans-westHe’s best known, of course, for his blaring, evocative saxophone solos as a member the E Street Band behind Bruce Springsteen.

But Clarence Clemons, who died of complications from a stroke at age 69 Saturday, also staked out a bit of turf as an impressario of sorts, right here in Red Bank.

Clemons’ club, Big Man’s West, at 129 Monmouth Street, managed to pack a lot of musical history into just a few years of operation in the early 1980s before it succumbed to financial pressures, says George McMorrow, a Red Bank business owner who managed the club through its final months.

Read More »