PAST PROJECTS, COLLABORATIONS AND RELATIONSHIPS:

Many of our projects and initiatives have become annual events as a result of tremendous positive feedback and response from our members and our audience. Those audiences are drawn from a wide area in and around the central/south New Jersey region and are growing in numbers and in terms of diverse demographics. The organization has gained a considerable amount of attention from the press and media sources throughout the state and our Summer Jazz Cafe' series was named "Pick of the Year" by the Tri-City News in the December year-end wrap up issue. Jazz Arts Project has been awarded eight consecutive and substantial grants from the Monmouth County Arts council as well as other community based and privately funded awards which allowed us to produce many free public events such as the gala holiday show "Cool Yule" at the historic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park.
 

The jazz artists chosen represent the top echelon of the global jazz community. These are musicians who regularly perform and headline in jazz festivals concerts and clubs throughout the world.

ANNUAL EVENTS

YEAR ROUND PROGRAMS FOR YOUTH – (See EDUCATION)

Jazz Arts Project provides year-round courses in our  Jazz Arts Academy (in Partnership with the Count Basie Theatre), Workshops, Showcase performances, Jazz Jams and a special “Head-Start” style music camp for very young students from at-risk and challenged communities.

TALKIN JAZZ  FREE LECTURES and (ADVOCACY)

April is National Jazz Appreciation Month.

Initiated by the Smithsonian Institute and established by an act of Congress in 2003, it is an annual event that pays tribute to jazz both as a historic and living American art form.  As a presenter and advocate for this art form, Jazz Arts Project continues to be dedicated to presenting and preserving straight ahead, swinging, classic jazz of the highest caliber.  In order to draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance to American culture, Jazz Arts Project hosts a weekly lecture/discussion series entitled "Talkin' Jazz" generally held on Monday evenings each year in April.  These sessions, offered free of charge and open to the general public are an opportunity to develop a relationship with community jazz lovers by presenting engaging and educational information about jazz in a small, intimate casual setting.  The talks include professional guest artists, authors, scholars, composers, arrangers, conductors and educators of national and international stature.  In the past some topics have included: Jazz and Democracy; Jazz: How to listen; Improvisation versus Composition; and Anecdotes Jokes and Stories. Jazz Arts Project artistic director, Joe Muccioli moderates the series and over the years has hosted numerous speakers including radio host and historian Phil Schapp, Vincent Pelotti from the Institute of Jazz Studies,  Gary Walker, Dorthaan Kirk and Shiela Anderson from Jazz Radio WBGO, Cecil Brooks III, Edward Kennedy Ellington, Jon Faddis, Chris Calloway Brooks, Ragtime specialist Terry Waldo, authors such as Bill Crow (Jazz Anecdotes), Ricky Riccardi (What A Wonderful World), Will Friedwald (Sinatra, The Song is You) and many others.

SUMMER JAZZFEST (Summer Jazz Café)

Summer JazzFest is one of Jazz Arts Project’s flagships programs.  Since 2006 audiences, artists, and critics alike have been raving about this annual series, citing an excellent atmosphere, great acoustics, and a consistently high level of artistry as reasons to return.  Several weekends each summer, attendees are 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.

Past performers at Summer JazzFest have included such luminaries in the jazz world as Bucky Pizzarelli, Buster Williams, Claudio Roditi, Steve Turre, Warren Vaché, Dave Valentin, Paul Meyers, Tony DeSare, Champian Fulton, Jay Leonhart, Aaron Weinstein, Cecil Brooks III, Valery Ponomarev, Wayne Escoffery, The Les Paul Trio, Wallace Roney, the Mingus Dynasty, and many others. Each year the series is carefully curated to bring a variety of the best jazz music available to the region.

Ticket prices for this series 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.

TIME LINE; HISTORY; ACHIEVEMENTS

 

2006 – founding year, NJ incorporation - Jazz Arts Project, Inc.  -

 

Jazz Arts Project Founder and Artistic Director, Joe Muccioli with the folks from Smith Barney – Joe Feola, Rick Donovan, and then Board Member Ralph Douglas

Early in 2006, artistic director Joe Muccioli approached several community members, friends and acquaintances for help in forming a new organization.  His vision was to operate at a regional and local level, serving the community by presenting professional performances showcasing top-flight national and international jazz artists who dedicate their lives to this art form.  In addition he wanted to build an audience who could appreciate this artistry and develop youth outreach and education programs as an advocate for the jazz arts.  Building upon his own professional relationships in the industry, Joe convinced many of his friends and colleagues to venture down to Red Bank and perform at the various events.  Over the years scores of top-flight jazz artists have either performed for or heard about JAZZ ARTS PROJECT presentations and cherish the opportunity to play in our venues.  They like that the audience is respectful and appreciative.  People really listen and that means a lot to an artist whose last gig may have been in a restaurant, club or lounge where the patrons don’t even notice.  “A lot of thought goes into our presentations,” says Muccioli, “We try to make the audience and the artists comfortable and appreciated.  We  publicize the events with full credit to the musicians and we note their credentials and bios wherever possible.  We make sure that the acoustics, the decor and the ambiance is as perfect as we can get it.”

 

< >Kick off Meet & Greet with community membersTwo River Theater invited us to present a summer series at their newly built theater.

 

  Inaugural season of Summer Jazz Café

 

Opening weekend: Summer Jazz Café with Bucky Pizzarelli, Tony DeSare and Steve Doyle

The first project was  Summer Jazz Café at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ.  The program offered an exciting selection of jazz performers on Friday and Sa turday evenings in a cafe’ setting in this new state-of-the-art, non-profit theater. These smaller ensembles offered a chance for performers to begin the process of not only developing an audience, but also to educate the community as to the wide variety of jazz genres.  This series continues to this day and has proven itself by consistently producing high quality and memorable events.

PHILOSOPHY and UNIQUE QUALITIES

-- The Unique qualities inherent in all of our programs is the pairing of the professional high caliber musicians in performance roles as well as having them becoming role models mentors, and educators/coaches to area youth.  In our series entitled “Legends and Lions” several true jazz legends performed workshops, seminars or master classes with area youth groups and young budding jazz musicians.  This same approach is utilized in our Jazz Arts Academy program which provides year ‘round instruction, classes, ensembles, workshops and other educational events to students in the greater central / south New Jersey region.  We believe that the true nature of the jazz arts is realized most effectively as an immersion in a total experience as listener as well as in learning to perform in a positive, nurturing and inspiring environment.  In this way students gain valuable experience and enrichment while opening up a world of opportunity.

Jazz Arts Project provides such entertainment and education in its mission to present, perform, educate and preserve.  Our audience is everyone – all ages, all colors, all cultures and all economic circumstances. We look forward to reaching and connecting to diverse communities, especially minority and underserved populations.  The arts, especially music and jazz in particular, bring people together in a shared experience. The project is successful when people leave smiling, when they know a little more than when they arrived, when they tell their friends about it and when they look forward to the next Jazz Arts Project program.  All of this augers well, not just for our organization, but for the health and well-being of all arts organizations.  Our aim is to build and develop audiences for Jazz Arts Project and by extension, for other area jazz artists and other arts organizations as well.  Our programs provide cultural enrichment that spotlights artistic excellence and educational programs enhancing the quality of life in our surrounding communities.

  • A Taste of Red Bank – A Taste of Jazz

The finale’ of that first year’s summer series was the debut of the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, which would become the flagship ensemble of Jazz Arts Project, conducted by Artistic Director, Joe Muccioli.  The August event was “A Taste of Red Bank – A Taste of Jazz,” a fundraiser for the Monmouth County Arts Council. The Orchestra featured a roster of top professional musicians and played for a large crowd on the plaza in front of Two River Theater.  The jazz was free to the public, while those who wanted to sample Red Bank’s numerous restaurants purchased tickets to enjoy the tasting menus.  The musical program of the 17-piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presented 2 hours of classic jazz compositions by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and others…performed by top industry professionals.

 

 

 

  • Ain’t Misbehavin’ lecture at Two River Theater

Next, Jazz Arts Project was invited by the Two River Theater Company to present an educational offering, a jazz history lecture prior to each performance of TRTC’s production of the jazz musical, Ain’t Misbehavin.  Jazz Arts Artistic Director Joe Muccioli offered an entertaining multi-media talk about the history of jazz and of Fats Waller, whose music was the basis for the musical. This event was not only educational and informative about jazz, but also supported the educational goals of the Two River Theater and Jazz Arts Project.

 

  • “Cool Yule”

In December, 2006 Jazz Arts Project presented its flagship performance ensemble, the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, on the main stage at Two River Theater, performing Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker, the suite of original Tchaikovsky themes adapted with Billy Strayhorn. This rarely performed suite is just one of many American jazz classics created by Ellington and Strayhorn, thus achieving our goal of perpetuating jazz classics. Joining us in performance was the Pilgrim Baptist Church Choir, also helping us to achieve our goals of diversity and community involvement.

The following evening the same program was presented at the historic Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park as the kick-off of a new series called Jazz Alive, which is collaboration with the Monmouth County Arts Council and The Black Box Theater of Asbury Park.  And, which was presented free to the public.

2007 – IRS final determination of non-profit status received.

           

  • Jazz Alive Series continues in Asbury Park.

As a part of this “Jazz Alive – Asbury Park” series, in February, 2006, Jazz Arts presented the brilliant young alto sax player Bruce Williams and his quartet.  In April our offering was The Wayne Goodman / Carl Maraghi Quartet, showcasing the classic arrangements of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet.  Both events were presented at the Joyful Noise Café – located on the historic West side of Asbury Park, a neighborhood where nearly all the jazz greats performed between 1940 and 1960.

 

 

Our final event in this series took place at the Asbury Park Jazz Festival on June 30th where Jazz Arts Project sponsored and presented the Claudio Roditi “Samba-Bop”

 

  • Summer Jazz Café moves to area restaurant

Due to scheduling issues at Two River Theater the 2008 Summer Series was presented at the Rivers Edge Café Restaurant in downtown Red Bank. Patrons could enjoy a great roster of jazz artists and have the ability to order dinner from an extensive continental menu.  Artists this year included: Cornetist Warren Vaché, Pianist Isaac Ben Ayala, Vibraphonist Joe Locke, and a special appearance by SNL star entertainer Joe Piscopo.

 

  • Gala performance at Count Basie Theatre –                                   Joe Piscopo’s Sinatra Birthday Bash

More than 800 people attended a special gala performance at the Count Basie Theatre in a special tribute to Frank Sinatra.  SNL star, TV personality and Entertainer Joe Piscopo stared in this first ever Sinatra Birthday Bash which also featured the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra conducted by Joe Muccioli.  This performance was billed as a fundraiser for the organization and kicked off a drive to attract donors and sponsors.

Annual Jazz Meeting and BBQ

Each September Jazz Arts Project throws a Garden Party/ Barbecue and Annual Meeting.  This is a chance for us to recognize and thank our supporting members, volunteers, sponsors and cherished friends who have been so helpful to our organization over the years.  Guests meet and greet with fellow supporters.  Enjoy a tasty repast, fun entertainment, some surprises and loads of goodwill.  A short official meeting of the Board of directors takes place and brings everyone up to date on past successes and challenges as well as our plans for the future.

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SINATRA BIRTHDAY BASH

AKA: Sinatra Tribute Gala  – Produced & Presented by Jazz Arts Project

at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ  -- Each December

A production of Jazz Arts Project, the Annual Sinatra Tribute Gala (formerly known as the Sinatra Birthday Bash) takes place each year on or around Frank Sinatra’s birthday as a tribute performance to “Old Blue Eyes.”  The finest available saloon singers, crooners and chanteuses all selected by audition specifically for this performance, take the Count Basie Theatre stage backed by the all-professional 18-piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra.  The event is a musical celebration of the life and artistry of the one and only Frank Sinatra.

Under the musical direction of Joe Muccioli, who Jazzwise Magazine says works with “a maximum of authenticity,” the cast sings the great songs of the American Songbook, the tunes associated with Sinatra during his long career.  The Sinatra gala is not a costume and wig show, but a sincere, respectful tribute in music and song to one of New Jersey’s favorite and most famous sons, performed by the finest singers working in Jersey today.

Since the show's debut, hundreds of singers have submitted their resumes and samples of their vocal work to the Count Basie Theatre for consideration.  One year even an Army Major (Rory Aylward) emailed his audition materials all the way from Afghanistan where he was stationed at the time.  Following an evaluation process, winners are selected to participate in this special performance.  The cast represents a wide range of experience and styles from young singers just starting out through amateur, semi-pro and professional performers of all ages.

This show is a perennial favorite that fills the house with die hard Sinatra fans who appreciate authentic, top notch live entertainment from a very talented cast and a world-class jazz orchestra in the true tradition of the Count Basie / Frank Sinatra collaborations of years past.  This past year the event celebrated the season with holiday favorites as well as classics from the Sinatra songbook.  Merry Christmas Frank Sinatra!   The Red Bank Regional High School Choir under the direction of Kristopher Zook was chosen to appear backing up the cast as well as performing their own feature songs.

This event traditionally is a virtual sell-out at the 1500 seat Count Basie Theatre.  Surplus proceeds from ticket sales and concessions (CD’s and souvenir items) help to fund our educational programs for the following year.

SPECIAL EVENTS CONCERTS & GALAS

From time to time we produce special concert events often acting as a fundraising gala.  Although not in a traditional sense of a benefit with speeches and rubber chicken dinners etc. but as fully produced professional concert presentations.

In 2013 Jazz Arts inaugurated a series at the Count Basie Theater entitled “BRINGING JAZZ TO THE BASIE – Where it Belongs!”

In February 2013 it was Jazz Trombone Great Wycliff Gordon along with Vocalist Layonne Holmes, Drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and the 18 piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra.

With swinging arrangements of new, classic and straight ahead jazz in a variety of styles, this concert proved to be a soulful journey through jazz history, from its New Orleans roots through Swing, Be-Bop and beyond.

In April of 2013 we produced A Gershwin Gala Concert that featured an expanded 24 piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra complete with French Horns, Tuba and even a violin section. This very special concert featured an all-Gershwin program.  On the first half Vocalist Maggie Worsdale treated the audience to some of the best Gershwin Songs from the great American songbook.  Pianist Jon Colianni then dazzled the crowd with a stunning performance of the Gershwin Classic Rhapsody In Blue in the original Paul Whiteman orchestration from 1924 specially reconstructed for this event by conductor Joe Muccioli.  The second half was devoted to a recreation of Miles Davis’ classic recording of Porgy and Bess, starring special guest soloist Jon Faddis who has been called “The world's greatest trumpeter” by Time Out New York Magazine.

Other concert events are produced in various other venues as well.  In March of 2014 we presented “An Enchanted Evening of Song” at the Two River Theater main stage.  This concert featured 3 wonderful singers including Bob Tuzzo and Tony Corrao along with special guest Champian Fulton.  An 8 piece ensemble culled from members of the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra rounded out the concert which was hailed as a wonderful evening of top notch musical entertainment.

2008 –   First grant received from Monmouth County Arts Council

  • Educational programs (Legends & Lions Series) inaugurated.

Jazz Arts Project has been engaged in planning and preparing for a commitment to robust educational programs for area youth from its inception.  After a successful two years of programming and production, the Monmouth County Arts Council awarded the project a grant with specific educational goals.  As such in 2008, it launched several events including one entitled “Legends & Lions,” which paired professional performers (the legends) with local students musicians (the Lions).  This program paved the way for later successful educational programs, which would come to define and endear the organization’s year-round efforts to its constituents.

  • Talkin’ Jazz Lecture Series begins…

The lecture series, “Talkin’ Jazz,” was launched in 2008 to foster discussion and increase knowledge about the jazz art form in the community.  Four events were held in April to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month.  Moderated by Artistic Director Joe Muccioli, these lectures and interviews features luminaries,  authors and educators.   Ed Berger (Associate Director: Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University), Bill Crow (master bassist and author), and Al Wright (historian, author, and educator) and educator and jazz musician Bruce Williams were the guest speakers for this first year of the series.

  • Summer Jazz Café series takes place at River’s Edge Café in Downtown Red Bank

Artists for the 2008 series included Jay Leonhart, John Colianni, Norman Simmons, Virginia Mayhew, Bucky Pizzarelli and the Morris Nanton Trio. This year we also presented a Singers Showcase where young upcoming singers were invited to perform a a opening short set before each main act.

  • 1st Annual All-Star Youth Jazz Ensemble Summer Workshop in Asbury Park, NJ

A comprehensive all day workshop for area student musicians.  Large Jazz ensemble, sectionals, small groups and individualized attention offered from professional musicians to all ages, all instruments; middle school, high school, college and adults.  Special master-classes with world-class jazz artists are given as an inspiration to the students.

  • Sinatra Birthday Bash at the Count Basie Theatre:

This year the Sinatra Birthday Bash was produced by Jazz Arts Project in association with the Count Basie Theatre.  What will prove to be a popular annual event the Sinatra Tribute concert will take place each year on or around Frank Sinatra’s birthday as a tribute performance to “Old Blue Eyes.”  The finest available saloon singers, crooners and chanteuses all selected by audition specifically for this performance, take the Count Basie Theatre stage backed by the all-professional 18-piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra.  The cast sings the great songs of the American Songbook, the tunes associated with Sinatra during his long career.  The Sinatra Birthday Bash is not a costume and wig show, but a sincere, respectful tribute in music and song to one of New Jersey’s favorite and most famous sons, performed by the finest singers working in Jersey today.

2009 –   Education programs expand to include “Jazz Arts Jam”

In 2009, the project added the “Jazz Arts Jam,” to it’s educational offerings, inviting over 50 students from the area to participate in a master class and jam session on the Count Basie Theatre stage with noted pianist, organist, and educator Radam Schwartz.

 

  • Monmouth County Arts Grant awarded for 2nd consecutive year

  • Asbury Park Summer Workshop held in July

  • Valentines day event:   Jazz for Lovers (& Others) presented at River’s Edge Café

Featuring Jazz Guitar great Gene Beroncini and Vocalist Chelsea Crow

  • Talkin’ Jazz Lecture Series

In 2009 the talkin’ Jazz Series moved into the newly built Carlton Lounge of the Count Basie Theatre.  Guest speakers included Jazz Radio Personality Phil Schaap, Edward Ellington (Grandson of Duke Ellington), Ragtime  specialist Terry Waldo and Musician Warren Smith.

  • Summer Jazz Café returns to Two River Theater

Beginning in early june with an amazing line up of artists the Summer Jazz Café returned to the Two River Theater.  Guest artists such as Claudio Roditi and his quartet, Terry Waldo, Ruth Brisbane, Joe Muranyi, Nikki Parrott, the Champian Fulton Trio, Warren Vaché and latin jazz star flutist Dave Valentine performed to capacity audiences throughout the series.  In addition the series moved over to River’s Edge Café for another 4 weeks of great jazz including a tribute to Benny Goodman with clarinetist Dan Block, Paul Meyers, Bucky Pizzarelli, Warren Vaché and the red Bank jazz All-Stars lead by tenor sax man Andy Farber.

Since the show's debut, hundreds of singers have submitted their resumes and samples of their vocal work to the Count Basie Theatre for consideration.  One year even an Army Major (Rory Aylward) emailed his audition materials all the way from Afghanistan where he was stationed at the time.  Following an evaluation process, winners are selected to participate in this special performance.  The cast represents a wide range of experience and styles from young singers just starting out through amateur, semi-pro and professional performers of all ages.

This show is a perennial favorite that fills the house with die hard Sinatra fans who appreciate authentic, top notch live entertainment from a very talented cast and a world-class jazz orchestra in the true tradition of the Count Basie / Frank Sinatra collaborations of years past

Founded in 2006

 

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© 2019 by Jazz Arts Project, Inc. 

Voicemail

(732) 784-3350

ADDRESS

PO Box 415

Red Bank, NJ 07701