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New Jersey Jazz Society 50th Anniversary Concert Set For October 9th

New Jersey Jazz Society 50th Anniversary Concert Set For October 9th

Courtesy Stew Schiffer

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Playing with [Bill] Crow is truly a blessing. I grew up hearing some of his most famous recordings. To stop and listen to him playing next to me is something I am still trying to wrap my head around.
—Leonieke Scheuble
During the early 1970s, New Jersey jazz fans would gather at the Chester Inn to hear Chuck Slate’s Traditional Jazz Band or at the Hillside Lounge (also in Chester) to see cornetist Wild Bill Davison, or alto saxophonist Rudy Powell, or guitarist Al Casey.

In October 1972, under the leadership of the late Jack Stine, these informal gatherings were transformed into regular concerts as the New Jersey Jazz Society was created. On October 9, 2022, the New Jersey Jazz Society will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a benefit concert from 2-5 p.m. at Saint Elizabeth University’s Dolan Hall in Morristown, NJ. We will honor two legends – bassist Bill Crow and tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who will perform with an all-star group of supporting artists. The Co-Musical Directors will be pianist Larry Fuller and tenor saxophonist/flutist Don Braden. Other performers will include bassist Matthew Parrish, drummer Jason Tiemann, cornetist Warren Vache, vocalist Lucy Wijnands, keyboardist Leonieke Scheuble, and 2022 Scholarship Winners – Trumpeter Liam Sutcliffe (Rutgers), vocalist Jimmy Waltman (Princeton), bassist Sam AuBuchon (William Paterson), and guitarist Derick Campos (Montclair State). Author and music producer Chuck Granata will be Master of Ceremonies.

Throughout his career, which began in the 1950s, the 94-year-old Crow has played and recorded with a long list of jazz legends including Bob Brookmeyer, Benny Goodman, Marian McPartland, Gerry Mulligan, and Clark Terry, among many, many others. Crow celebrated his 94th birthday in December 2021 at Shanghai Jazz in Madison, NJ. Trombonist Art Baron, who attended the birthday party, said, “Bill Crow is in a category all by himself. He has the spirit and zest of a young man and is a walking history of our glo­rious music.”

Among Crow’s many current activities is performing in the Generations of Jazz Trio, led by Scheuble. For Scheuble (in photo with Crow at this year’s OSPAC Jazz Festival), “playing with Crow is truly a blessing. I grew up hearing some of his most famous recordings. To stop and listen to him playing next to me is something I am still trying to wrap my head around.”

Houston Person is a perennial New Jersey Jazz Society favorite with a special affinity for tunes from the Great American Songbook. A typical Person performance could include such well-known standards as David Raksin’s “Laura”, Richard Rodgers’ “My Romance”, and Jerome Kern’s “The Way You Look Tonight”. But, on one of his more recent albums, Houston Person: Live in Paris (HighNote, 2021), Person demonstrated his versatility. Reviewing the album for All About Jazz, Jack Bowers pointed out that Person, “having blown his way through the Great American Songbook many times by now, makes only one stop there – Marvin Hamlisch’s ‘The Way We Were’.” Instead, wrote Bowers, he focused on “enticing themes by Johnny Griffin, Benny Carter, Billy Taylor, Buddy Johnson, Bobby Hebb, and Lester Young.” The album reached Number 1 on the JazzWeek charts in January 2022. At the Sarasota Jazz Festival this past March, the 87-year-old Person teamed with trumpeter Terell Stafford on George Gershwin’s “Fascinatin’ Rhythm’ and Hebb’s “Sunny”, sandwiched around Johnson’s “Since I Fell for You.”

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