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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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Grammy-nominated trumpeter Jon Faddis inaugurates a new series of “Talkin’ Jazz” events at the Count Basie tonight — then joins the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra this Sunday for a salute to George Gershwin.


April, in case you didn’t know, is National Jazz Appreciation Month, and here in the borough that birthed the great William “Count” Basie, a man called “Mooche” is preparing a savvy smorgasbord of treats for classic jazz buffs and curious cats alike.

It’s a pollen-cloud of activity that goes up this evening, April 9, with the first in an annual slate of Talkin’ Jazz presentations.

Hosted by globe-trotting jazz scholar/arranger/bandleader Joe Muccioli at the Count Basie Theatre, the free series kicks off with a presentation by trumpet ace Jon Faddis at 7 p.m. The Grammy nominee makes his first of two appearances this week on the Basie stage, with a discussion of “Legacies and Legends in Jazz: from Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie to Miles Davis and Beyond” that’s capped by a screening of Bird — director Clint Eastwood’s 1988 biopic of Parker, with Forest Whitaker in the title role and Faddis featured prominently on the movie’s soundtrack.

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Conductor Joe “Mooche” Muccioli with the “freight train” that is the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, which takes to the Count Basie Theatre boards for the first in a new series of themed concert events Sunday.


Red Bank doesn’t have riverboat casino gambling. There’s no year-round Santa Claus Village no go-kart track. You’ll need to head way out of town to take a winery tour, or find a decent shad festival.

What the town does have is its very own Red Bank Jazz Orchestra — a 17-piece organization of “first call” cats that’s a source of some pride for the borough that birthed the great William “Count” Basie, and the envy of pretty much anyplace this side of Lincoln Center.

Conducted by Red Bank’s own Joe Muccioli — globe-trotting jazz scholar/arranger/bandleader, and artistic director of the borough-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project — the RBJO is identified most closely with the Sinatra Birthday Bash, the annual event that commandeers the Count Basie Theatre for a tribute to the Chairman of the Board. The momentum generated by those Sinatra salutes over the course of the past six years (and the collective itch by the assembled players to do this more than once or twice a year) spurred the man they call “Mooche” to look into starting up a series of showcase concerts starring the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra — a slate of events that would team the RBJO with special guest performers, and spotlight great composers or classic musicians.

This Sunday afternoon, February 24, the first of two scheduled Jazz Orchestra events at the Basie gets underway, when intrepid trombonist Wycliffe Gordon joins maestro Mooche and the gang for a happening that’s being called nothing less than “a soulful journey through jazz history.”

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