ON THE GREEN: CATCH THESE OUTSIDE

The reverb-drenched surf rock sounds of  the Sharkskins close out the concert season on the Fair Haven Municipal Dock Thursday night.

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.

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IN THE AIR: FREE MUSIC, MOVIES AND MORE

Week two of this summer’s Movies in the Park series in Red Bank features an entry from the ‘Star Wars’ catalog. Below, Layonne Holmes fronts the Motor City Revue in a return to Sandy Hook Wednesday.  

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.

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RED BANK: ‘CAFÉ SOCIETY’ JAZZES TWO RIVER

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.

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RED BANK: JAZZIN’ THE PARK IN JULY

Yes Yes Nonet: Saxman/bandleader Mike Kaplan and his Nonet sound a brassy keynote for a new summer series of free Jazz in the Park concerts Thursday night at Riverside Gardens.  

“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.

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RED BANK: JAZZED AND ENCHANTED

Master of ceremonies Bob Tuzzo (above) and the Belle Tones (below) are among the performers joining Joe Muccioli’s Red Bank Jazz Orchestra Saturday night at the Two River Theater.

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.’

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RED BANK: WORDS AND JAZZ ON MONMOUTH

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.

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RED BANK: A MOST JAZZY SINATRA BASH

don-most‘Happy Days’ cast member turned crooner Donny Most, above, joins Rat Pack legend Dean Martin’s daughter Deana, below and the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra at the Basie Sunday.

deana-martinJersey 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 »

RED BANK: JAZZ IN JULY AND BEYOND

Warren VacheTrumpeter 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.  

Keith MarksAlthough 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.

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RED BANK: JAZZ TALKIN’ ON MONMOUTH

Basie Armstrong Jazz LPsLouie 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. 

basie-bust2April 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.

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RED BANK: THAT’S SOME ENCHANTED EVENING

Khadijah MohammedKhadijah Mohammed, above, and Livia Tedesco, below, are among the performers joining Joe Muccioli’s Red Bank Jazz Orchestra Saturday night at the Two River Theater.

livia tedescoOther 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.

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BIG NEA AWARDS TO TWO RED BANK VENUES

Louis Prima JrNext-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.

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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.

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RED BANK: WRAPPING UP A JAZZY JULY

LayonneFaddisLayonne Holmes leads the New Standard Jazz Ensemble in a Thursday local debut at Riverside Gardens. Trumpeter Jon Faddis plays the Two River Theater’s Summer Jazz Café Friday.

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.

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RED BANK: SLICES OF PIE AND PIZZARELLI

SherriBuckyMiss 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.

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RED BANK: LADIES SING THE JAZZ

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.

Charenee WadeWith a spot-on tribute to an iconic diva of Jazz’s golden age, and a look at one of the Shore area’s most versatile vocal stylists, it’s all about the chanteuse this week in Red Bank.

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.

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RED BANK: JAZZ IS ALIVE AND KICKING

BruceWms TonyDeSareSaxman 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.

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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.

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RED BANK: AN ‘ENCHANTED’ ANNIVERSARY

Enchanted_Evening_50Jazz 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.

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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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A JAZZY SUMMER MUSIC CAMP IN RED BANK

JABC_024_(Large)Aspiring young musicians will get a chance to learn with the pros, during a Summer Music Camp program that commences August 4 in Red Bank. (photos by Roberto Muolo)

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.

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RED BANK: NOW YOU HAS JAZZ

Sweet WhiskeyVocalist Maggie Worsdale fronts the Sweet Whiskey Band in a set of “Songs Under the Influence,” Friday and Saturday at Two River Theater. (photo by Roberto Muolo)

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.

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RED BANK: WREMBEL BY THE RIVER

Stephen-Wrembel(1)

French-born “Gypsy Jazz” guitarist Stephane Wrembel is the star of this week’s edition of Summer Jazz Cafe, Friday and Saturday at Two River Theater.

The comparisons to the legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt are pretty well irresistible — after all, we’re dealing here with a European-born guitarist trained in the Gypsy campsite tradition around the French countryside. And then there’s the association with the City of Lights; a love affair that culminated in his recording of the theme for Woody Allen’s hit film Midnight in Paris.

Ask Joe Muccioli, however, and the artistic director of Red Bank’s Jazz Arts Project will tell you that Stephane Wrembel possesses a style all his own; a self-described “Impressionism approach” that finds the Belgian-born (and Brooklyn-based) composer cooking with regional ingredients that range from flamenco fury to guitar-god classic rock. Gigging in support of the recent release Dreamers of Dreams, Wrembel comes to the “black box” space at Two River Theater for a two-night stand this Friday and Saturday, July 18 and 19 — the latest in the 2014 slate of Summer Jazz Cafe events.

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RED BANK: PERSONS OF JAZZY INTEREST

houstonpersonHouston, we have a promenade: soul-bop sax legend Houston Person inaugurates a new session of Summer Jazz Cafe events, Friday and Saturday at Two River Theater.

If it’s the dog-day nights of summer, then it’s surely time to sound the cool-cat keynote for Summer Jazz Cafe, the annual stand of sophisticated entertainments that transforms the “black box” space at Two River Theater into the smartest little speakeasy you’ve ever entered into (although, if you’re making that entrance a little too fashionably late, you won’t see its like again for another whole year). Going on for the next four Friday and Saturday evenings, the series is the seasonal pride and joy of Red Bank’s own Jazz Arts Project and its artistic director, Joe Muccioli. And, as the man called “Mooche” explains, the Cafe events not only offer up intimately scaled and affordably priced evenings with several generations of world-class talent, but “make possible the next generation of musicians, as we fund our education programs through ticket sales to our events.”

This Friday and Saturday, July 11 and 12, sees a rare Red Bank area appearance by a 79 year old tenor sax legend that Muccioli and company “have been wanting to bring here for the longest time” — Houston Person, the specialist in “soulful hard bop” whose 30 year partnership with the late vocalist Etta Jones was but one extended interlude in a long career as bandleader, producer, and ace sideman for Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Dakota Staton and many others. Described as “a master of popular songs played in a relaxed, highly accessible style reminiscent of the great Ben Webster,” Person brings his quartet to town for a pair of 8 pm sessions.

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TONY, TINA, BOBBY, SANTTU-MATIAS & MORE

ChampianTuzzoAbove: Champian Fulton, Bob Tuzzo and Tony Corrao take the bandstand when the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presents “An Enchanted Evening of Song” at Two River Theater. Below, twentysomething European conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali makes his NJ Symphony debut at the Basie. 

Friday, February 28:

SantuRED BANK: While it admittedly ain’t Shakespeare, the interactive “environmental” phenomenon known as Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding can be said to be one of the most influential theatrical offerings in a generation — even indirectly spawning a stroll-through spin on Macbeth at a seedy Manhattan hotel.

Beginning tonight, and continuing for four more performances this weekend, lovebirds Tony Nunzio and Tina Vitale repeatedly renew their vows in a production presented by the Count Basie Theatre — hosted NOT at the venerable Monmouth Street venue, but practically next door, at the nearby Buona Sera Ristorante. It’s there that guests can “eat, drink, dance, converse and get caught up in the festivities” as they stand in for Tony n’ Tina’s various extended family members and frenemies. The comedy and the comedic “drama” unfold with seatings at 7:30 pm Friday, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturday, and 12 and 6 pm. Sunday. Tickets ($100) include the ceremony, reception, baked ziti dinner, champagne toast, wedding cake, music and dancing. A $150 VIP option includes a “classic Italian meal and seat up close to the action.” Check here for reservations, close to selling out as we post this — and toss that bouquet for some more great catches and matches, as we Mach it into March.

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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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