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Talkin' Jazz is back! — April 2020

This Year Count Basie, The Blues and....TBA

In a special arts partnership with Two River Theater, we are presenting this year's Talkin' Jazz series at the iconic Red Bank theater.  Two River's upcoming production of Lackawana Blues  is a magical, musical, and deeply personal work written and performed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson.  


Lackawanna Blues is a reminiscence of his 1950s childhood growing up on the banks of Lake Erie. Santiago-Hudson takes on more than 20 colorful characters—from would-be philosophers and petty hustlers to lost souls and abandoned lovers—in a brilliant celebration of the eccentric boardinghouse he grew up in. Santiago-Hudson returns to his roots in this tour de force performance with live blues music by composer Bill Sims Jr.

This series will take place at

Two River Theater

Although this is a free event, space is limited.  Please reserve your ticket through the Two River Theater Box office

Click Here to Reserve Your Tickets

April is National Jazz Appreciation Month initiated by the Smithsonian Institute and established by an act of Congress. It is an annual celebration that pays tribute to jazz as an historic and living American art form. Since 2008, Jazz Arts Project has participated by curating a series of lectures and Q & A panels featuring noted jazz luminaries and scholars, hosted & moderated by Joe Muccioli, Artistic Director of Jazz Arts Project. This free community event is a great introduction to jazz for novices or a wonderful extension of knowledge for connoisseurs.

Guest Speakers & Subjects



Vincent Pelotte From the Instute for Jazz Studies  “April in Paris, April in Red Bank" Celebrating the 85th year of the Count Basie Orchestra 

Count Basie was born in Red Bank in 1904 and walked the streets of Red Bank like we do today. He attended school here and was inspired to become a musical entertainer by the annual carnival that came to town. “2020: The Year of Basie” will involve as many merchants, businesses, local officials, art galleries, theaters and others to celebrate the name of Count Basie.  The year-long campaign will showcase “pop-up” exhibits throughout the town that focuses on “The Kid from Red Bank.”  The town-wide public exhibit will tell the story and roots of Count Basie, a story that hasn’t been told anywhere in Red Bank. There’s so much to the Count Basie story that people who live, work and shop here do not know. The bandleader was revered by jazz musicians and his legacy lives on today through the Count Basie Orchestra, which is celebrating its 85th Anniversary this year.  

MONDAY, APRIL 20TH at 7:00PM    --   TBA


TUESDAY, APRIL 27th  at 7:00PM    TBA







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Talkin' Jazz  2017

“One for the Count!” — Tribute to Count Basie — Guest Speaker: Darrell Lawrence Willis

Jazz icon, Count Basie, was born William James Basie August 21, 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey. Count Basie is considered one of the greatest bandleaders of all times. He was the arbiter of the big band swing sound and his unique style of fusing the blues and jazz forms established swing as a predominant music style. Basie changed the jazz landscape and shaped mid-20th century popular music, duly earning the title “King of Swing” because he made the world want to dance.  Basie earned nine Grammy Awards making history in 1958 by becoming the first African-American to receive the award. He has had an unprecedented four recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame – One O’Clock Jump (1979), April in Paris (1985), Everyday I Have the Blues (1992), and Lester Leaps In (2005), along with a slew of other awards and honors not only for his music, but for his humanitarianism and philanthropy around the world.  Basie died April 26, 1984 in Hollywood, FL but his legacy is still swinging strong.

“Mulligan Stew” — The Life & Music of Gerry Mulligan — Guest Speaker: Sanford Josephson

In the pantheon of jazz, Gerry Mulligan represents not one, but two major voices. He is not only one of the unarguably historic voices on the baritone saxophone, but he is also a major arranger who wrote for some of the major big bands and his own recordings, not to mention the game-changing 1949 Birth of the Cool recording which is often credited only to Gil Evans but also featured Mulligan’s arranging voice.

“100 Years of Ella!” — Guest Speaker: Champian Fulton

Let’s celebrate Ella’s legacy of songs! Ella sang everything. Every kind of music. She started out as a Big Band Singer, hitting the charts with the popular tunes of the thirties and forties. Ella was the greatest female interpreter of American Popular Song. She revolutionized the music world with her perfect pitch, melodious voice and her unforgettable ability to “scat”.  She sang Jazz using her voice like one of the instruments in the band.  Through the many decades of her performing career she recorded countless albums including her beloved “songbook” series.

Archives   2016

This is a work in progress there is much more to come...

 Here are some of Jazz Arts Project’s speakers from previous years:

  • “The State of Jazz”  Dorthaan Kirk and Sheila Anderson, two venerable personalities from WBGO Jazz 88.3

  • “Jazz Jokes and Anecdotes” with Master Bassist and author Bill Crow

  • “What A Wonderful World” Ricky Riccardi Project Archivist for the Louis Armstrong House Museum

  • “Improvisation and Education with venerable saxophonist and Jazz Arts Academy instructor Bruce Williams

  • “Mary Lou Williams – The First Lady of Jazz” with Vincent Pelote from the Institute of Jazz Studies

  • “Jazz Clubs then and now”  with veteran musician and club owner of Cecil’s jazz club Cecil Brooks III

  • ‘From Russia with Love”  with Russian born trumpet artist Valery Ponomarev

  • “A Great Day In Harlem”  discussing and showing of that historic film documentary film

  • “Ragtime” with specialist and Eubie Blake Protege´ Terry Waldo

  • The Quintessential Charlie Parker” with jazz historian, radio personality and raconteur Phil Schaap

  • “Jazz and the American Culture” with Musician/ Educator/ Author – Warren Smith.

  • The Ellington Mystique” with Duke Ellington’s grandson Edward Kennedy Ellington

  • “Listen” with Ed Berger, Associate Director of The Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.

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