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cecil-brooks-1Jazz drummer Cecil Brooks III at his kit, and working with a student, below. (Photos by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)


They call it the “black box” theater-within-a-theater, owing to its all-enveloping interior darkness.

But for five weekends this summer, the Marion Huber Theater space at Red Bank’s Two River Theater was also a place of mysteries revealed, as a handful of select jazz artists put on Saturday afternoon workshops between Friday and Saturday-night performances, giving free voice and instrument workshops to up-and-comers.

Put on by the borough-based Jazz Arts Project, the series concluded last Saturday with drummer Cecil Brooks III giving about a dozen percussionists tips on how to add snap to their swing.


joemuccioliconductBandleader and Jazz Arts Project founder Joe Muccioli keeps bringing bigger names to town, including Marlene VerPlanck, below. (Click to enlarge)

marleneverplanckSince 2006, the Red Bank-based  Jazz Arts Project has been serving up what founder and borough resident Joe Muccioli calls “straight-ahead, swinging, classic jazz.”

But over the life of the nonprofit’s Summer Jazz CafĂ© series, now in its fifth year, there’s also been something of a subtle evolution happening, says the bandleader known to fans and players around the globe as ‘Joe Mooch.’

“Every year, we seem to be able to attract a little bit higher-echelon performers,” he tells redbankgreen. “We’ve been drawing more from national acts and acts that tour internationally.

“Our followers are starting to understand that whenever we bring in an artist, he or she is a top-flight act, even if they’ve never heard of them.”

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