Jazz scholar/ WBGO disc jockey Gary Walker and guitarist Vic Juris are among the special guests TALKIN’ JAZZ with Joe Muccioli, in the series that returns to the Count Basie’s Carlton Lounge for three Mondays beginning tonight. 

Start Joe Muccioli to talking and he’ll tell you that “Jazz…grew up with America. It symbolizes American democracy.”

“You put several people into a place, a situation, and you honor all of their abilities, but at the same time you have rules, an underlying structure…a constitution,” he says.

A Red Bank resident and the artistic director of the borough-based nonprofit  Jazz Arts Project, the man they call “Mooche” has done a lot of talking, studying, teaching and listening on the topic of jazz — and he’s walked the walk as well, having traveled the world conducting, arranging and working with everyone from Joe Piscopo to the London Philharmonic.

Here in the borough that birthed William “Count” Basie, we know Muccioli as the maestro behind the annual Sinatra Birthday Bash events at the  Count Basie Theatre; as the co-founder of the Jazz Arts Academy program; as the host of the way-cool Summer Jazz series at Two River Theater — and as leader of the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, the 17-piece organization that issued its maiden recording Strike Up the Band in 2011.

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talkinjazz1Alto ace Bruce Williams is tonight’s guest, and the legendary Louis Armstrong is next week’s topic, when the Talkin’ Jazz series returns to the Count Basie’s Carlton Lounge beginning tonight.


April is National Jazz Appreciation Month (it’s also National Garden Month, National Poetry Month, and National Irritable Bowel Syndrome Month, but those are stories for another time) — a fact made manifest here in the Basie-birthing borough by the Navesink.

Every April for the past four years, Red Bank’s globe-trotting jazz scholar, conductor, arranger and producer Joe Muccioli has teamed with his fellow founders of the Jazz Arts Project to host a quietly swingin’ soiree by the name of Talkin’ Jazz, a weekly Monday night series of intimate gatherings that serve to illuminate the human element, the sweet science and even the silly stuff behind what the Man Called Mooch has branded “America’s classical music.”

Presented inside the Carlton Lounge (that’s the cool and comfortable VIP room on the ground floor of the Count Basie Theatre), it’s a happening that’s blessedly free of tuxedo’d pretension, free of nightclub noise — and free of charge. While you’re under no obligation to knock on the door and tell ’em “Joe sent me,” you can do so if you’re feeling frisky and fancy free. And, best of all, you can head on over there this very evening, if you’re feeling jazzily spontaneous.

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