LITTLE SILVER: A SATURDAY NIGHT SINATRA

When he’s not donning a tux for the annual “Sinatra Birthday Bash” concerts at the Count Basie Theatre or tributes to other entertainers of the pre-rock era, Dave DeLuca tours libraries, schools and other public venues all over the Greater Red Bank Green with such one-man presentations as “Rat Pack Flashback” and “That’s Amore.”

This Saturday, he returns for a “Saturday With Sinatra” tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes that brings him to a novel locale.

Read More »

RED BANK: A VERY GOOD YEAR FOR FRANK FANS

PicopoFloydDeanaJersey guys Joe Piscopo and Uncle Floyd Vivino join Dino’s daughter Deana Martin for a special Sunday afternoon Sinatra Centennial Birthday Bash.

In case you haven’t heard, December 12 marks the 100th anniversary of the humble Hoboken debut of Francis Albert Sinatra — the beyond-iconic “Chairman of the Board” whose birthday is the second most celebrated such affair on the twelfth-month calendar page.

It’s an occasion that’s being observed in swinging style from “New York, New York” to “”LA Is My Lady” and every casino cocktail lounge, piano bar and pizzeria in between — with a certain house right here in Red Bank a crucial part of the proceedings.

Read More »

MIDDLETOWN: SINATRA TIMES THREE

SinatraNathan DeDeo is among the singers making like Ol’ Blue Eyes all weekend long when SINATRA “OUR WAY” commandeers the MAC stage for three benefit shows, produced by Middletown’s own David J.V. Meenan (below).

1_David_MeenanMiddletown’s own David J.V. Meenan has hoofed his way into the Guinness Book of World Records as a champion long-distance tap dancer; performed on Broadway in A Chorus Line; and presented many an all-singing/ all-dancing extravaganza at Monmouth University.

Here in Red Bank, he managed his own playhouse (the Royale Theater on Monmouth Street) in the 1990s, and premiered his own original musical (Transatlantic) at the Count Basie.

 

Read More »

RED BANK: SATURDAYS WITH SINATRA

martocciCrooner Michael Martocci offers up Memories of Frank as the Sinatra-centennial year continues at the Count Basie on Saturday.

It’s not so much that Ol’ Blue Eyes is back: it’s more like he never went away, as the centennial of Frank Sinatra’s first vocalized notes (“I Did It My Waaahhh”) proceeds apace at the Count Basie Theatre, scene of our own Joe Muccioli’s annual Sinatra Birthday Bash concerts in December.

This Saturday night, the latest in a long line of spotlighted Sinatra tribute artists takes the famous stage when singer Michael Martocci brings his tux and baritone pipes to Red Bank for a fully orchestrated showcase entitled Memories of Frank.

Read More »

RED BANK: SOME FRANK TALK ABOUT JAZZ

RosemaryAbove: Rosemary Riddle Acerra — daughter of the great Sinatra arranger-conductor (and onetime Rumson resident) Nelson Riddle — joins author and music historian Will Friedwald (below) for a new slate of Talkin’ Jazz events hosted by the Count Basie Theatre — a schedule that begins Monday, April 20, and puts the focus on Frank.

friedwaldIf it seems like there’s just that much more of Ol’ Blue Eyes in the pre-summer wind — from two-part HBO documentaries, to countless tributes — it may have something to do with the fact that 2015 marks the centennial birthday of Jersey’s own Francis Albert Sinatra. Then again, it may just be business as usual here in the NY/NJ stomping grounds of Frank’s World; a land where you’re never far from a Sinatra signature song coming from the nearest pizza joint, piano bar, or even public library.

Here in Red Bank, National Jazz Appreciation Month means the reoccurrence of a recently minted (and minty-cool) tradition — the annual Talkin’ Jazz slate of edu-taining presentations, brought to you by the borough-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project and hosted by that homegrown organization’s artistic director, internationally noted music scholar, conductor and arranger Joe Muccioli. Relocated this year to the Count Basie Theatre‘s Performing Arts Academy rehearsal center at 111 Monmouth Street (the onetime WaWa that until very recently served as headquarters to community stage troupe Phoenix Productions), it’s an offering that begins an abbreviated schedule this Monday evening, April 20 — and that puts the spotlight squarely on Sinatra.

Read More »

MIDDLETOWN: A PACK OF ONE

Rat_Pack_Flashback_PromoSinger Dave DeLuca channels Dino, Sammy and Frank in a RAT PACK FLASHBACK that comes to Middletown Township Public Library on Monday,  June 9.

You’ve seen those tributes to the fabled Rat Pack of Vegas lore and legend — and its heart-‘n-soul core of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin — at Atlantic City casinos, New Year’s parties and our own Count Basie stage. But have you ever seen a one-man treatment of those three consummate entertainers, who together defined a cocktails-and-cufflinks era of old school cool?

Meet Dave DeLuca — onetime Motown songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist and, it tuns out, a masterful musical impressionist. It stands to reason that such a multi-talented guy might have nurtured a set of multiple personalities when performing — and when the singer brings his Rat Pack Flashback show to Middletown Township Public Library on Monday evening, June 9, he’ll be traveling in the HOV lane, accompanied by his spot-on channelings of Dino (“Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”), Sammy (“That Old Black Magic”) and The Chairman of the Board (“Summer Wind”).

Read More »

BLUE EYES DOES RED BANK, FOR WHITE XMAS

ZachHolliDebZach Alexander (Red Bank), Hollie Baines (Little Silver) and Deborah Dutcher (Rumson) are among the local vocalizers paying tribute to the Chairman of the Board during the 7th annual Sinatra Birthday Bash, this Friday at Count Basie’s place.

By TOM CHESEK

It’s got a collection of some of the greatest songbook and seasonal standards ever put to sheet music, driven by the “freight train” of Red Bank’s very own orchestral jazz band. It boasts the participation of nearly a dozen pop, jazz, and cabaret vocalists from all around the region — from weekend warriors to polished pros.

It’s a salute to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” that offers up a first local look at the winner of the 2013 Sinatra Idol competition — and it’s even packing a secret weapon: a first-person, real-world, one-degree-of-separation connection to the legendary Rat Pack itself.

For the 2013 edition of the Sinatra Birthday Bash, conductor-arranger-ringmaster Joe Muccioli promises “our biggest, most ambitious show ever” — an affair that teams the 18-piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra with a cast of 11 guest bandstand singers, and the assembled skills of the Red Bank Regional High School Concert Choir, under the direction of Kristopher Zook.

In the seventh annual tribute to Jersey’s own Francis Albert Sinatra — born 98 years ago, on December 12 — the man called “Mooche” will be serving up the expected cavalcade of Sinatra signatures, drawn from the iconic singer’s awe-inspiring 60-year career. The December 6 concert, set for 8 pm at the Count Basie Theatre, also sports a new angle — “a little holiday cheer thrown into the mix,” a fitting theme for the second most famous birthday celebration in December.

Read More »

BIRTHDAY BASH FOR BLUE EYES AT THE BASIE

Frank Sinatra and Count Basie — seen suiting up for an episode of the 1960s TV variety show Hollywood Palace — return in spirit this Friday night, when the Skinny Kid from Hoboken is celebrated in song at the venue named for the legendary “Kid from Red Bank.”

By TOM CHESEK

Call it Frank’s World — a land that stretches from the Hoboken clamhouses, where a young and skinny Frank Sinatra first sang for his supper, to the Atlantic City casinos and big-town auditoriums where the established entertainer played to sellout crowds well into his eighth decade. And in between, a thousand pizza joints and ristorantes where the Sinatra soundtrack has never stopped.

Frank’s World took a beating all around when Hurricane Sandy swaggered through the region — a catastrophe that birthed a bevy of benefit concerts and allowed the area’s professional musicians to step up in the way that musicians have long been known to do. It’s a phenomenon about which Joe Muccioli observes, “I know people who have been on call to take part in all sorts of benefit events who are themselves in the same boat as the hardest-hit people in the area.”

The conductor of the 18 piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra (and artistic director of the borough-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project) returns to the Count Basie Theatre this Friday for one of his most passionate pet projects — the Sinatra Birthday Bash, the sixth annual edition of which takes the famous stage of the place named for one of Sinatra’s favorite partners in swing, William “Count” Basie, at 8 pm.

Read More »

SWINGING INTO SINATRA AT A BASIE BASH

Joe Muccioli (left) conducts the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra in the fifth annual Sinatra Birthday Bash event, Friday night at Basie’s place — an occasion that also marks the release of the RBJO’s first CD, below.

By TOM CHESEK

rbjo-cd-coverPerhaps the smartest thing that Frank Sinatra ever did in his 82 years on “Frank’s world” was to come out swingin’ into the month of December — a cold and sometimes cruel month of holiday pressures and pleasures, to be sure, but also a season of giving in which a new commemorative box set or tribute arrives swaddled in gift wrap at each anniversary of the Chairman of the Board’s birth.

At the Count Basie Theatre — that regional headquarters for everything from Scrooge and the Nutcracker to the Messiah and various jinglebell rockers — there’s one seasonal signifier that trades the Santa hat for a sportily cocked fedora, and it’s a little local tradition called the Sinatra Birthday Bash.

The brainchild of the Red Bank-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project and its artistic director — globetrotting arranger-conductor and jazz scholar Joe Muccioli — the annual concert event brings together a marvelous mix of voices with the 17-piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, an organization of sought-after session aces hand-picked and conducted by the maestro named “Mooche.” Best of all, they get to do their thing on the famous stage of the place named for one of Sinatra’s favorite partners in swing, William “Count” Basie.

This Friday night, December 9, Muccioli and company celebrate the 96th birthday of “Old Blue Eyes” in a fifth annual Bash program that also marks a milestone for the RBJO — the release of the acclaimed orchestra’s first commercial recording.

Read More »