RED BANK: PARTY LIKE IT’S SINATRA 99

RBJOConductor and arranger Joe Muccioli takes the baton once again as the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presents its eighth annual Sinatra Birthday Bash this Saturday, at Count Basie’s place — a set of swingin’ standards that features Red Bank’s Vance Villastrigo (right) among many others.

VANCE_VILLASTRIGODon’t look now, but this Friday marks the 99th anniversary of the birth of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. As a cause for song and festivity, it’s only the second most celebrated birthday in December — but for thousands of fans in the Chairman of the Board’s onetime Jersey stomping grounds, it’s an occasion in which Red Bank plays a significant role.

Count Joe Muccioli among the music-biz pros who’ve got their work cut out for them in the Sinatra Centennial year of 2015 — but that’s all down the road, as the man called Mooche has a big current project on his plate: the Sinatra Birthday Bash, the eighth annual edition of which arrives at the Count Basie Theatre on Friday night.

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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.

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A SHAKING, BOUNCING, OOH-LA-LA WEEKEND

Grace and the Nocturnals bring a bit of ooh-la-la to the Basie tonight. Bar Bounce bops into Red Bank for Hurricane Sandy relief Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, February 22

RED BANK: Two River Theater continues its presentation of August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running,” with performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $24 to $42 and are available online. 21 Bridge Avenue.

RED BANK: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, whose songs have been featured in popular television shows over the years such as Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill, bring their blues, folk, and alternative rock sounds to the Count Basie Theatre at 8 p.m. for a set of tunes off their new album, The Lion The Beast The Beat. Tickets are $29.50, $34.50, and $39.50. 99 Monmouth Street.

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