In his review of vibraphonist Chuck Redd’s 2019 Dalphine Records album, Groove City, Dan Bilawsky of AllAboutJazz wrote that “one of the standout moments comes in balladic form with (Billy Strayhorn’s) ‘A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing’. Redd and (John) di Martino, sans rhythm section, dim the lights, and capture the essence of beauty in less than three minutes. It’s the type of performance that passes quickly yet hangs in the air. It’s but one of many examples of how Chuck Redd lives atop and within a song.”
On Sunday, November 12th, Chuck Redd (photo above) and pianist John di Martino will again be creating their musical magic as the duo headlines the New Jersey Jazz Society’s Jersey Jazz LIVE! concert at 3 p.m. at the Madison, NJ, Community Arts Center.
In 1980, Redd joined the Charlie Byrd Trio at the age of 21 and then became a member of the Great Guitars (Barney Kessel, Byrd and Herb Ellis). He was also the vibraphonist with the Mel Torme Quintet from 1991-1996. Redd is Artistic Director of the Oregon Festival of Music and has appeared at such New York venues as Mezzrow, Café Carlyle, and Birdland.
Di Martino’s latest album was Passion Flower The Music of Billy Strayhorn (Sunnyside: 2020). Reviewing it for AllAboutJazz, Dr. Judith Schlesinger wrote: “Among the many eulogies to Strayhorn’s genius, this one is unique in its fresh and straightforward interpretations.”
Redd and di Martino will be preceded by a Rising Star performance by two of the four NJJS 2023 scholarship winners: trombonist Richard LaRouech (East Aurora, NY/William Paterson), and tenor saxophonist Joseph Foglia (Raleigh, NC/William Paterson). The other two scholarship winners – trumpeter Banks Sapnar (Haddonfield, NJ/Temple) and trumpeter Grace Fox (Marlton, NJ/Manhattan School of Music) are unable to attend.
The scholarship winners will perform their opening act with a trio of veteran jazz performers: pianist Oscar Perez, Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Montclair State’s John J. Cali School of Music; bassist Mary Ann McSweeney, who served for several years on the faculty of Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy; and drummer Ron Vincent, who has presented workshops at more than 80 colleges and universities. Prior to the concerts, tenor saxophonist/flutist Don Braden, who is an NJJS Advisor, will lead a roundtable discussion with the scholarship winners.
LaRouech won the $1,000 scholarship for Performance. His major heroes on trombone are
J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, and Slide Hampton. Dr. David Demsey, Coordinator of Jazz Studies at William Paterson, said LaRouech is “among the strongest players we have had in our jazz program in a long time, certainly one of the strongest trombonists.”
Foglia won the $500 scholarship for Performance. His first influences on saxophone were Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon. “I would always listen to Bird and practice out of the omni- book (note-for-note transcriptions),” he said. Demsey described Foglia as “an inspired learner, and he has a very strong and rapidly expanding jazz vocabulary.”
The Madison Community Arts Center is located at 10 Kings Road in Madison, NJ. Admission to this event will be $10 for NJJS members and $15 for non-members. Student admission is $5 with valid ID. There will be light refreshments for purchase. To order tickets in advance, log onto madisonarts.ticketleap.com/new-jersey-jazz-society-concert-with-the-chuck-redd-duo/dates/Nov-12-2023_at_0300PM.
Funding for Jersey Jazz Live! has been made possible, in part, by funds from Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of The National Endowment for the Arts.
Photos below, from left: John di Martino, Richard LaRouech, Joseph Foglia.
JOSEPH FOGLIA PHOTO BY FRED H. POLITINSKY