From star-kissed surf and free-range country to plein-air pickin’ and fresh-air film, the season of outdoor diversions remains very much in effect on the Greater Red Bank Green. We’ve got the roundup of public-welcome events under the summer sky — and over the next seven days and nights — all of them free as a breeze.
It all starts tonight, weather permitting, with the latest installment of the Summer 2017 Movies in Riverside Gardens Park series, sponsored by Red Bank Parks and Recreation and brought to you by Shore Flicks.
There’s a chance to imagine yourself as part of the biggest franchise in film fantasy history. Some power pop on the dock. A heat-blast of Latin-flavored jazz in the park. A little beach-music soul on the sands. And one of the world’s most beloved plays on yonder grassy knoll.
It’s all going on beneath the setting sun and stars of the Greater Red Bank Green — and all fabulously free of charge in the evenings to come.
Harmonica/vibes virtuoso Hendrik Muerkens (right, with vocalist Angelita Li) joins his Samba Jazz East combo to inaugurate a new series of Summer Jazz Café events Friday and Saturday at Two River Theater.
“We’ve curated this summer series for more than a decade now,” says Joe Muccioli, noted conductor/arranger, impresario and artistic director of Red Bank-based Jazz Arts Project. “Each night is truly a unique experience, paying homage to a bygone era of swinging, yet elegant café society.”
Whether he’s auditioning hopefuls for the annual Sinatra Birthday Bash at the Basie; kicking it old-school scholarly via his Talkin’ Jazz lectures; working with the student cats and kittens of the Jazz Arts Academy, or programming the summertime Jazz in the Park series at Riverside Gardens, the man called “Mooche” is one passionately productive guy — but perhaps his greatest passion is reserved for Summer Jazz Café, the annual slate of intimate weekend occurrences that return to the borough of Basie this Friday and Saturday.
“Summertime, and the livin’s easy,” sang Satchmo and Ella in their symphonically jazzy take on Porgy and Bess — but if you’re one of the folks from the Jazz Arts Project, you might find the season of beach blankets, barbecues and bug zappers to be busier than a drum solo by the late great Buddy Rich.
It’s an interlude that swings things in classic night-owl style via this weekend’s inaugural entry in the long-running Summer Jazz Cafe series — about which more to come here on redbankgreen. But before all that, Red Bank-based nonprofit that brought you December’s annual Sinatra Birthday Bash and April’s Talkin’ Jazz lecture series jumps into July with the first in a weekly Thursday schedule of free Jazz in the Park events at Riverside Gardens.
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.’
Jazz chanteuse Champian Fulton (above) is among the guest speakers — while Ella Fitzgerald and “Kid from Red Bank” Count Basie are among the topics — when the annual Talkin’ Jazz series returns Monday.
“If you can play — if you can show me something, whoever you are — I’m listening,” said Red Bank-based jazz maven Joe “Mooche” Muccioli in these paperless pages several years back. It was a statement that underscored the democratic attributes of jazz music — and at the same time, it served to drive home the point that a true jazz player has got to go beyond talking that talk, and walk that walk.
During the National Jazz Appreciation Month of April, however, it’s also about talking the talk — particularly when the spoken word serves to illuminate the music that’s been called America’s one truly homegrown art form.
Jersey guy Francis Albert Sinatra: his birthday is marked every December with merriment and song, and perhaps nowhere more so than here in the heart of downtown Red Bank. And why not, given that we’re home to a hallowed hall christened in memory of one of the Chairman of the Board’s partners in pop perfection: piano player, bandleader and “Kid From Red Bank” Bill “Count” Basie.
Each year our own Joe “Mooche” Muccioli — noted conductor, arranger, scholar and artistic director of the nonprofit Jazz Arts Project — fires up the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra for a grand concert that salutes the signature songs and style of Sinatra with the help of some special guest vocalists. Read More
“Giving Tuesday,” founded in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd St. YMCA and the United Nations Foundation, was originally a “response to commercialism and consumerism” during the holiday season. It has since turned into an international day of giving.
Tomorrow, November 29, the nonprofit Count Basie Theatre will join forces with radio station 94.3 The Point and The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, to raise funds for both the theatre’s sensory-friendly programming, and for POAC Autism Services.
“Giving Tuesday” at the Basie will kick-off at 5:30 a.m., with a day-long broadcast from 94.3 The Point / WJLK-FM Radio. Listeners will be invited to drop by and give donations in person, or to make donations via theBASIE.org.
The organizations will also use the day-long effort and radio broadcast to raise funds for POAC Autism Services of Brick. Two dollars from every Count Basie Theatre ticket sold on November 29 will be donated to the group, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and adults with autism achieve their fullest potential by providing quality education, support and recreation at no cost to participants.
“Reaching all audiences with the highest level of the performing arts is part of our not for profit mission,” said Adam Philipson, CEO and President of the historic Count Basie Theatre. “We strive to be inclusive and create barrier-free experiences and these shows will support our guests and families with special needs including autism spectrum disorder.”
“We are looking forward to partnering with the Count Basie Theatre in bringing the Jersey Shore together to support this important cause,” said Steve Ardolina, Regional Operations Manager for Townsquare Media Group New Jersey, which owns WJLK.
In addition, the Jersey Shore-based Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, which uses philanthropy to increase citizen activity and economic development opportunities through the arts, healthcare and education, has generously agreed to match all donations up to $25,000.
“The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation is proud to be able to work with a great non-profit partner like the Count Basie Theatre,” said executive director and Basie board member Jeremy Grunin. “The ability to support POAC Autism Services in their mission coupled with further showing the power of the arts through the Basie was too powerful an endeavor to ignore.”
Earlier this year, the Basie team worked with POAC to train staff in advance of the theatre’s first-ever sensory-friendly mainstage performance.
“POAC is so thrilled to be involved with Count Basie Theater’s sensory-friendly programming and their fundraising efforts on Giving Tuesday,” said Simone Tellini, Director of Program Development at POAC. “Children and adults on the autism (ASD) spectrum often have sensory issues that make it difficult to participate in and enjoy community-based activities, especially those involving the arts. These activities are essential, especially for children, and vital to their growth in so many ways.
“Last February,” Tellini continued, “the Basie provided a wonderful show that, for many children, was their first experience with live theater. The management and staff went above and beyond to make everyone feel comfortable and accepted. We applaud the Count Basie’s commitment to our families and look forward to future events and programs.”
The live “Giving Tuesday” broadcast will feature performances from students of the Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy’s Jazz Arts Project, Rockit! and Voices vocal ensemble. In addition, cast members from the Tony Award winning ONCE, playing that evening on the Basie stage, will go on air to perform the musical’s signature hit, “Falling Slowly.”
Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council
Some two dozen arts groups in Monmouth County — 15 of them based in Red Bank and surrounding communities — have been named by Monmouth Arts as the recipients of their ArtHelps Local Arts Program Grant Awards for Fiscal Year 2017.
Designed to help Monmouth Arts meet its mission to enrich the community by inspiring and fostering the arts, the grants will result in over 3,000 high quality, low cost art events (art exhibitions, concerts, dance, theater, film and festivals) estimated to reach over 800,000 people. The 24 awarded grants totaled $94,500, including $3,500 in mini-grants that will be awarded during the year for smaller arts projects by organizations including new and emerging groups.
The awards were presented at a networking meeting held at House of Independents in Asbury Park on September 21, an event during which Monmouth Arts premiered their new website, and special guest Michael Pilla of Pilla Creative Marketing spoke on building your audience with email marketing and Facebook ads.
Pay no attention to those displays of back-to-school supplies, and put aside all thoughts of pre-season football, post-season baseball, and campaign-season roller derby. Yes, the summer of 2016 is still a thing (even at the Rio Olympics, where technically it’s winter), and the parks, beaches and portable stages of the Greater Red Bank Green still offer a plethora of open-air entertainments and recreational options in the coming days and nights — almost all of them free of charge.
It begins tonight, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of a truly golden oldie, 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, pick up some cooling seasonal treats from Gracie and the Dudes, and enjoy Dorothy and the Dudes as they once again undertake the screen’s most memorable road trip. Follow Shore Flicks on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on weather-related cancellations or other schedule changes (including a recently added batch of fishy features at Sea Bright’s Municipal Beach) — then take it around the bend for more fun beneath the sun and stars.
Whether you’re on stay-cation — or simply navigating your way through daily life here in on the Greater Red Bank Green — there’s no denying that July offers a fairly awesome menu of open-air entertainments and recreational options. We’ve got a rundown of outdoor events — mostly free of charge — designed to entice you out of the house in the coming midsummer nights and days.
It all starts tonight, July 12, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of the gleefully anarchic animation “Minions.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, and enjoy some ice cream from the newly opened Gracie and the Dudes stand in the park. Take it to our redbankgreen roundup for details on the entire summer screening schedule and weather-related updates. Then take it around the bend for more fun and adventure beneath the summer sun and stars.
Trumpeter Warren Vaché sounds the keynote for a new series of Summer Jazz Cafe events at Two River Theater this weekend. Keith Marks, below parks it at Riverside Gardens for the first in A slate of free outdoor jazz concerts Thursday night.
Although it keeps a year-round beat that includes December’s annual Sinatra Birthday Bash, the spring series of Talkin’ Jazz lectures and the ongoing sessions of the Jazz Arts Academy, summertime means the livin’ is also busy for the Jazz Arts Project, the nonprofit arts organization based here in Red Bank, the borough that gave the world Count Basie (to say nothing of the late and legendary Johnny Jazz).
It’s a flurry of activity that really hits home in this first full week of July, as Jazz Arts and artistic director Joe “Mooche” Muccioli introduce a new schedule for a seasonal signifier — the celebrated Summer Jazz Café at Two River Theater — along with the return of a relatively recent warm-weather diversion: the free series of Jazz in the Park concerts at Riverside Gardens Park.
Louie Armstrong and Count Basie, who shared the grooves of many a compilation but never made a record together, are among the topics at a new slate of free TALKIN’ JAZZ events that begin tonight. Below, the Basie bust at the Red Bank train station.
April is National Jazz Appreciation Month, and here in Red Bank, birthplace of the great William “Count” Basie, jazz sounds the keynote for a recently minted (and minty-cool) tradition: an 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.
Other 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.
Next-generation swing-music wildman Louis Prima Jr. and his Witnesses will perform at the Count Basie Theatre in spring 2016, as part of an enhanced Jazz at the Basie slate funded by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Two River Theater also received an NEA grant, toward the development of a new musical. (Photo by Mitchell Glotzer)
From press materials issued by The Count Basie Theatre and Sen. Bob Menendez
Two major nonprofit arts entities in Red Bank have been named as recipients of a National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Art Works award for 2015. The Count Basie Theatre and Two River Theater were among 15 New Jersey-based organizations awarded a total of $290,000 toward the development of original arts programming; part of a 51st annual slate of NEA grants totaling $27.7 million and supporting more than 1,100 projects in 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
The NEA’s Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields. Two River Theater Company was recipient of $20,000 to support the development and funding of The Ballad of Little Jo, an original musical featuring lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger and music by Mike Reid (A Wind in the Willows Christmas), as well as supplementary education programming (discussions, student matinees, classroom teachers’ guides) that focuses on the women of Frontier America.
In celebrating its namesake, the Basie will use its $15,000 NEA grant to help produce a series of programs and activities celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month, with jazz-related lectures, films and biopics scheduled to take place throughout April 2016. On May 19 the celebration will continue with a jazz-centric edition of the Count Basie Theatre’s “No Shush!” kid’s concert series, starring Louis Prima Jr and the Witnesses, as well as the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra under the direction of conductor Joe “Mooche” Muccioli, artistic director of the Jazz Arts Project at the Basie’s Performing Arts Academy. Proceeds from that performance — and a donation from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, named for Prima’s late mother — will match the NEA gift.
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.
Whether you’re a serious jazz aficionado – you know, the kind who hears a record and can name the session date, all of the players, and what they had for lunch – or simply one who digs all that a sophisticatedly swinging set does to the general mood, you’ve got to appreciate the fact that it’s been a July to remember, jazzwise, in Red Bank.
This weekend sees the final entry in the 2015 Summer Jazz Café series at Two River Theater, while the music plays on at Riverside Gardens during the free Thursday night slate of Jazz in the Park concerts; all of it programmed by borough-based Jazz Arts Project and artistic director Joe “Mooche” Muccioli.
Miss Sherri Ehrlich displays her grown-up pop side in the park as Sherri Pie plays a Thursday night freebie at Riverside Gardens. Guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli joins Ed Laub at Two River Theater’s Summer Jazz Café Friday and Saturday .
A well known “kindie-rocker” of the Greater Red Bank Green shows her grownup pop chops during an up-past-bedtime concert, and a granddaddy of the Jersey jazz scene displays the stuff that’s made him a cross-generational favorite as Red Bank’s resolutely jazzy July continues at Riverside Gardens Park and Two River Theater, brought you by Joe “Mooche” Muccioli and the borough-based Jazz Arts Project.
Eryn Shewell, above, leads the Whiskey Devils to the water at Riverside Gardens Thursday night. Charenee Wade, below, channels the late great “Lady Day” Billie Holiday Friday and Saturday at Two River Theater’s Summer Jazz Cafe.
Beginning Thursday night, a three-night interlude of cool jazz sounds wafts into Riverside Gardens Park and the Two River Theater, programmed by borough-based Jazz Arts Project and its co-founding father/artistic director Joe “Mooche” Muccioli.
Saxman Bruce Williams kicks off a summer schedule of free Jazz in the Park sessions Thursday night at Riverside Gardens… while Friday and Saturday find Café-society crooner Tony DeSare playing a two night stand at Two River Theater.
Like, who says Jazz is a moribund museum piece, fit more for starchy concert-hall settings than those people’s-choice settings that made it what it is? Certainly not the Red Bank-based Jazz Arts Project, an organization that keeps a porchlight burning in the town that’s gifted the world with Count Basie, Al Wright, and the immortal Johnny Jazz.
Now in its 10th year of operation, the nonprofit overseen by artistic director Joe “Mooche” Muccioli has stepped up its game – with the return of the celebrated Summer Jazz Cafe series, an expanded slate of Jazz Arts Academy offerings, and (for the first time in the event’s long-running history) a schedule of free Jazz in the Park concerts that’s been programmed in full by Mooche and company.
Above: 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.
If 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.
Jazz 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.
Press release from Jazz Arts Project
Young people who want to experience the gift of learning to make music are invited to take part in a new one-week headstart music camp for beginning instrumental music students. The program, coordinated by the Red Bank-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project, will take place August 4 through 8 at Red Bank Middle School, and is offered free of charge to all interested students in the district.
The camp will offer individual and grouplessons, ensembles and workshops, led by a specialized and highly qualified staff experienced in music education and performance.
The program was initiated by Jazz Arts Project during the summer of 2012 in Asbury Park, and continues each year in that community.
April may be National Jazz Appreciation Month — a fact driven home locally and yearly by Joe Muccioli‘s Talkin’ Jazz series at the Count Basie Theatre — but things really heat up jazzwise in this Basie-birthing borough during the month of July, an interlude during which several weekends’ worth of Summer Jazz cafe events at Two River Theater are keynoted by open-air Thursdays at Riverside Gardens’ Jazz in the Park series.
The 2014 slate of outdoor concerts (presented by Red Bank Parks and Recreation Department) continues on the evening of July 24 in a classically cool vein, when drummer Darwin B. Oden and his combo return to the banks of the Navesink for some improvisatory, exploratory sets ‘neath the setting sun and stars. The music kicks in at 7:30 pm (weather permitting; call Parks and Rec at 732-530-2782 for day-of-show updates); bring lawn chairs or blankets, and dress comfy casual — then go home, get dressed for a sophisticated night on the town, and reconvene at Two River for an extra special Friday and Saturday session.