Jazz Futures

December 3, 2023

For the second consecutive month, the New Jersey Jazz Society’s Jersey Jazz LIVE! concert presented blended performances combining two generations of jazz musicians – veteran artists and rising stars.

In October, the Bill Mays Trio invited William Paterson University freshmen, trumpeter Violet Mujica and guitarist Sam Wagner, to join them in a performance of Gene De Paul’s “Star Eyes”, recorded by Charlie Parker in 1951 (See njjs.org, “More News”). On Sunday, November 12, two of the NJJS 2023 scholarship winners, trombonist Richard LeRouech and tenor saxophonist Joseph Foglia (both William Paterson students) performed at the Jersey Jazz LIVE! concert in Madison, NJ, accompanied by the seasoned rhythm section of pianist Oscar Perez, bassist Mary Ann McSweeney, and drummer Ron Vincent. As a bonus, that day’s headliner, vibraphonist Chuck Redd, joined in as well. (Photo above, from left: McSweeney, LeRouech, Vincent, Foglia).

The concert was preceded by a roundtable discussion led by NJJS Advisor tenor saxophonist/flutist Don Braden. It was an opportunity for the young student musicians to ask questions and to learn about the successes and pitfalls experienced by those who have come before them.

The rising stars opening act included some American Songbook and jazz standards such as Frank Loesser’s “I’ve Never Been in Love Before”, Jack Strachey’s “These Foolish Things”, and Duke Pearson’s “Jeannine”. The latter tune was recorded by Cannonball Adderley on the classic 1960 Riverside album, Them Dirty Blues.

When Redd, joined by pianist John di Martino (photo below), took the stage for the main concert, he treated the audience to a number of anecdotes about his early career, including his experiences with guitarists Charlie Byrd and Barney Kessel and the time he almost met Antonio Carlos Jobim. The set included Jobim’s “Wave”, along with Thelonius Monk’s “Evidence”, and Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing”, among many other favorites.

This was truly a special day, highlighting jazz’s past, present, and future.

The next Jersey Jazz LIVE! concert, on Sunday, December 10, will feature the vocal group, the Royal Bopsters, preceded by a rising stars opening act presenting a trio led by New Jersey City University trumpeter Parker Cheek.


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