Summer Jazz Café
Since the summer of 2006, Jazz Arts Project has been presenting straight ahead swinging classic jazz throughout the Greater South/Central NJ region. Audiences, artists, and critics alike rave about this Summer Jazz Cafe citing an excellent atmosphere, great acoustics, and a consistently high level of artistry as reasons to return. You will be seated at cozy candle-lit cocktail tables with Coffee, Tea and Delectable treats available from our jazz café. Elegant theatrical lighting and an intimate room add to everyone’s enjoyment. Last year the entire series was named a Tri-City News Pick of the Year.
In past years at Summer Jazz Cafe we have presented such luminaries in the jazz world as Bucky Pizzarelli, Claudio Roditi, Joe Locke, Warren Vaché, Dave Valentin, Norman Simmons, Howard Johnson, Paul Meyers, Tony DeSare, Champian Fulton, Jay Leonhart, Aaron Weinstein, Cecil Brooks, Valery Ponomarev, Wayne Escoffery The Les Paul Trio, Wallace Roney, the Mingus Dynasty and many others. You can be assured that each years series will present truly inspired and exciting world-class artists.
Ticket prices are kept to an absolute minimum in order to encourage wide participation and to build an audience for jazz in the local area. These events are subsidized to an extent by local grants and private funding and individual contributions from our members and patrons.
Friday, July 11th AND Saturday, July 12th at 8:00PM
Houston Person & his Quartet
Houston Person built his reputation as a Tenor Sax man and leader with a series of soulful recordings for Prestige in the 60s. However, for a large part of his career he was best-known for his legendary partnership with the great vocalist, Etta Jones, which lasted over 30 years until her death in 2001. His appearances as sideman are legion, and also include recordings with, Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Dakota Staton, Horace Silver, Charles Earland, Joey DeFrancesco, and many others. Dubbed “the natural heir to the Boss Tenor crown worn so long and so well by Gene Ammons” (Bob Porter), global performer Person knows the music business inside out, from booking his own tours to producing his own albums. As eclectic as he is talented, Person has recorded everything from disco and gospel to pop and R&B, in addition to his trademark, soulful hard bop. After years as producer and house tenor for HighNote, Person is now known as a master of popular songs played in a relaxed, highly accessible style reminiscent of the great Ben Webster.
Friday, July 18th AND Saturday, July 19th at 8:00PM
Stephane Wrembel & his Quartet
He’s been called “a revelation” by Rolling Stone. Woody Allen recruited him to score the theme to the 2012 Academy Award winning film Midnight in Paris, and he performed live during the Oscar Awards telecast. To say that French-born guitarist/composer Stephane Wrembel—who learned his craft among the Gypsies at campsites in the French countryside—has already had a remarkable career would be an understatement. But this virtuoso, who is now Brooklyn-based, has truly just begun to make his mark as one of the most original guitar voices in contemporary music. Although he built his reputation as a stylist in the mode of the iconic French Sinti guitarist Django Reinhardt, Wrembel now revels in transcending and expanding. “I’m digging deeper and deeper into my roots,” he says about his fifth album, “Origins.” His music touches upon everything from blues to flamenco to rock; all of these influences come together as something identifiable only as Stephane Wrembel. “It’s a different state of mind all together,” adds Wrembel, talking about Origins. “I always compose with a picture in mind. That Impressionism approach is the main thing that I’ve carried with me from Fontainebleau.” He has recorded seven albums as a leader, the latest of which (“Dreamers of Dreams”) was released in May 2014.
Friday, July 25th AND Saturday, July 26th at 8:00PM
Sweet Whiskey Band – “Songs Under The Influence”
The brainchild of vocalist Maggie Worsdale and pianist John Colianni, Sweet Whiskey is a wonderful jazz and American songbook cocktail adding in all the perfect ingredients including guitarist Nick Russo and bassist James Cammack to tantalize audiences with a true variety of sound that is designed to appeal to the music lover and casual listener alike. Vocalist and Co-founder Maggie Worsdale has recorded four albums of her own and keeps a busy performing schedule in and around the NJ/NY metropolitan area as well as national and international appearances. While in California in the early 1990’s, she had the pleasure of working with Bob Hope and George Burns, and as a guest with Les Brown and his Band of Renown. Maggie is a long time friend and performer at Jazz Arts Project events beginning in 2009 when she was chosen as one of the top ten vocalists in the NY/NJ area and honored to perform at the Sinatra Birthday Bash. Just this past year she also appeared with Colianni and the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra in a Gershwin Trubute Gala at the Count Basie Theatre. According to Bob Hope, “there’s one word for this gal – wonderful.” Pianist and the other co-founder John Colianni has been a force on the music scene since first working with famed bandleader and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton at the tender age of 19. Add five years and six albums as Mel Torme’s personal accompanist and then being chosen by guitar legend Les Paul to Join the Les Paul Quartet and you have an idea of the musical “chops” that John brings to the table – and that just happens to be his nickname “Johnny Chops.” In the words of Mel Torme, “he’s the best you’ll ever hear.”
Friday, August 1st AND Saturday, August 2nd at 8:00PM
Jazz Legends and lions Bruce Williams, Radam Schwartz and the Jazz Arts Academy Students
Bruce Williams is one of the New York Area’s most electrifying improvisers. Bruce has toured and played with some of the premier musicians of today, including Roy Hargrove’s “RH Factor” and Big Band, the Count Basie Big Band, the World Saxophone Quartet, and Frank Foster. A leader on three recordings and a sideman on dozens more, he is truly a musical force to be reckoned with. Bruce is also an inspiring educator. He is a professor of Saxaphone Studies at Bard College and serves as the principle jazz instructor for our own Jazz Arts Academy at the Count Basie Theatre. Radam Schwartz: Hammond B3 Organist and Jazz pianist Radam Schwartz has built his reputation over the last 30 years playing with such great musicians as Arthur and Red Prysock, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Al Hibler, and Jimmy Ford. He continues to make music history today playing with renowned artists Cecil Brooks III, Russell Malone, and David Fathead Newman among many others. Radam has hosted a Jam Session since 1986, beginning at the famous Peppermint Lounge in Orange, New Jersey, and in 1997 when the Mint closed its doors, moving to the Crossroads in Garwood, where you can still find him every Tuesday night. His recording, Organized (Muse Records 1995), was mentioned in the B3 Bible as one of the essential organ records of all time and Sesac gave Radam an award for being one of the top 5 Jazz Composers of 2007-08. Radam also has been a jazz educator for many years, he was music director at the Jazz Institute of New Jersey, artist-in-residence at Middlesex County Arts program, and is currently one of the instructors at the JAZZ ARTS ACADEMY at the Count Basie Theatre.
Opening Act: Jazz Arts Academy Summer Camp students This very special event will showcase our own “jazz lions” in what promises to be an impressive and inspiring opening set. These talented middle school and high school musicians, hailing from all over the region, have just completed a one-week intensive summer course focusing on Jazz improvisation, ensemble playing and jazz history.
Ticket Prices and Additional Information:
- For tickets contact the Two River Theater Box Office at 732.345.1400
- Click here to buy tickets online.
- General admission tickets, $25, Season series discount (choice of 4 shows) $80.00 Student discount – $10.00 per ticket (with student ID) Each ticket is subject to a $3 box office fee.
Information on previous summers: