The Morris Museum has announced the schedule for this season’s Jazz on the Back Deck series of concerts, bringing back many jazz favorites and introducing one new group, Alla Boara. Here is the jazz lineup. All concerts are on Thursday nights beginning at 7:30 p.m.
- June 22: The Antoinette Montague Experience. Vocalist Montague will be joined by pianist Danny Mixon, bassist Melissa Slocum, drummer Bobby Sanabria, and tap dancer AC Lincoln. Expect a mix of blues, soul, and the American Songbook.
- June 29: Don Braden Big Band and Quartet. This concert will celebrate the June 16th release of Braden’s Earth Wind and Wonder Volume 2 album on the Creative Perspective Music label. Braden (photo above) can be heard on the album playing tenor saxophone, flute and alto flute. He is joined by pianists/keyboardists Art Hirahara and Miki Hayama, bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Jeremy Warren, and percussionist Kahlil Kwame Bell. The album contains songs such as Earth Wind and Fire’s “In the Stone” and Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love”, along with Braden originals, “Profusion” and “Arise”.
- July 13: Martin Pizzarelli and Friends. Continuing the Pizzarelli family tradition at the Morris Museum, bassist Pizzarelli can be expected to entertain the audience with a variety of songs from icons such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and George Gershwin – all infused with arrangements by his father, Bucky.
- July 27: Amani, A Celebration of Harry Belafonte. This collective of musicians, headed by multi-reedist Marty Eigen and vocalist Stephen Fuller, will celebrate the legacy of Harry Belafonte, who passed away April 25, 2023, at the age of 96.
- August 10: Evan Sherman Big Band. In March/April 2020, Evan Sherman was profiled in Jersey Jazz Magazine’s first Rising Star feature after his big band opened up the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in December 2019. Sherman’s big bands are usually a blend of young emerging talent and seasoned veterans.
- August 19: Alla Boara. Pointing out that Alla Boara’s instrumentation of trumpet, guitar, accordion, bass, and percussion “would not be out of place in a Neapolitan piazza,” AllAboutJazz’s John Chacona added that, “If the band has an Italian heart, it has a modern-jazz mind that incorporates advanced harmonies, shifting rhythms, high-wire soloing, and complex structures.”
Jazz on the Back Deck concerts are held atop the Morris Museum’s elevated parking deck. Attendees can arrive as early as 5 p.m. and should bring their own chairs and refreshments. If there is inclement weather, the concerts will be moved inside to the Bickford Theatre.
Support for the Back Deck series is provided by Morris County Tourism Bureau, a Division of the Morris County Economic Development Alliance. For more information, or to order tickets, log onto morrismuseum.org or call (973 971-3706.
PHOTO BY JACK GRASSA