RED BANK: ILLUMINATING THE TOWN’S PAST

Marjorie Cavalier in Red Bank with the replacement Port of Red Bank sign she championed. The old sign  was already in bad shape in 2011, as seen at right in the photo below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A weather-beaten historical marker in Red Bank’s Marine Park was replaced last month, after some gentle lobbying by a recently retired teacher and history buff.

But Marjorie Cavalier, who pushed for replacement of the illegible ‘Port of Red Bank’ sign, isn’t finished. She’s now turned her attention to development of an app to help illuminate borough’s past. Read More »

RED BANK: BASIE TAKES OVER MOVIE THEATER

For several months, posters outside the pandemic-idled Bow Tie Cinemas have read: “This is not a Hollywood ending. This is a Red Bank beginning.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njDespite facing an uncertain post-pandemic future itself, Red Bank’s Count Basie Center for the Arts has added a two-screen movie theater to its portfolio.

The entertainment juggernaut has taken over the former Bow Tie Cinemas venue on White Street, the Basie said in an announcement Monday.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE SETS ‘BASIE 2020’ SKED

william count basie postersImages of William ‘Count’ Basie on display at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center last week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, built to honor a pioneering African-American journalist with Red Bank ties, plans to spotlight the borough-born musical giant William ‘Count’ Basie through 2020.

The occasion is the 85th anniversary of the formation of the Count Basie Orchestra, which is still touring 36 years after its founder’s death.

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RED BANK: HOSPITALS CLAIM BASIE MARQUEE

red bank nj count basie hackensack meridian marqueeThe new name, Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre, applies to the historic performance space, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It may always be best known to locals as ‘the Basie,’ but Red Bank’s oldest and most prominent entertainment venue is nothing if not prolific with monikers.

On Friday, yet another new one went up on the Monmouth Street marquee that bears the name of the town’s most famous son.

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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: 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: A BASIE HOMECOMING

ScottyBasieNYVScotty Barnhart and the Count Basie Orchestra make a too-rare and much-appreciated return to the historic venue that bears the name of the fabled Kid from Red Bank this Sunday, with the New York Voices making themselves heard.

“I called him the Chief,” said Count Basie Orchestra conductor Bill Hughes from the stage of the Count Basie Theatre, during a 2004 salute to the late and legendary William “Count” Basie. “He was ‘Bill’ to the well-to-do; ‘Count’ to the common folk… and to the pimps and hustlers he was simply BASIE.”

The baton’s since passed to trumpeter and bandleader Scotty Barnhart, but when the Basie Orchestra returns to Red Bank this Sunday, March 1, it’ll be picking up where it left off: celebrating the legacy of the fabled “Kid from Red Bank” in a too-rare match-up with another long-running institution that bears his brand.

Scheduled as a 3 pm matinee (or “3 O’Clock Jump,” in the pioneer swing pianist’s parlance?), the March 1 concert teams the CBO with a relatively young musical organization that bridges the perceived gap between the 1930s-’40s golden age of American jazz, and the globally savvy sounds of the new millennium — New York Voices.

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