New this year, the Cape Bank Jazz @ The Point tweaked its format to allow guests to catch a full set of every ensemble appearing.
One reason the Cape Bank Jazz @ The Point festival has not only survived but thrived regardless of the economy is that it’s given jazz fans top-flight entertainment for a reasonable fee. That’s certainly the case with the 13th version of the festival, which takes place this Thursday through Sunday, March 10-13, at three venues in Somers Point.
So good is the caliber of talent brought in by the Somers Point Jazz Society each year that any of the 10 ensembles could qualify as a festival headliner, and for that reason a modification was made in the scheduling to allow guests to experience all 10.
“The [festival] committee has been very conscious of structuring the set times and the schedule so that an ambitious jazz lover could actually hear a complete set of every single artist in the festival,” says Tim Lekan, artistic director of the Somers Point Jazz Society. “Sometimes with festivals it’s one or the other and there isn’t a choice, or you might catch a full set of somebody but only the tail end of somebody else’s set. We wanted to give everybody the opportunity to hear all of the artists, and we’re also very excited about having the late-night upstairs at Sandi Pointe.”
As much as Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro’s banquet hall is probably the festival’s premier viewing venue, its upstairs loft is the most intimate, likened by Lekan to the old-style jazz clubs. On Friday night the Orrin Evans Quartet plays there and on Saturday night it’s the Eric Alexander Quartet (each playing two sets, starting 9:30 and 11:30pm).
“[Pianist] Orrin Evans, who’s from the Philly area, was supposed to be part of our festival a few years ago but he got stuck in Europe and we had to bring in a last-minute sub,” says Lekan. “So we’re really glad to finally get him back. And Eric Alexander is like a living legend on the tenor sax.”
Alexander and trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, who performs two sets with his quartet at Gregory’s Restaurant on Friday night (8 and 9pm), are Somers Point festival veterans. New to the festival is Ignacio Berroa, whose quartet plays Sandi Pointe’s main room on Saturday (8 and 9pm). According to his bio (see spjazz.org), Berroa is one of the greatest jazz drummers of the modern era. He was part of legendary Dizzy Gillespie’s quartet, and was hailed by Gillespie as “the only Latin drummer in the history of American music that intimately knows both worlds — his native Afro Cuban music as well as jazz.”
Two others who have been part of past festivals are guitarist Yotam Silberstein and vocalist Joanna Pascale. Silberstein plays with his trio Sunday at Gregory’s (2 and 4pm), and Pascale on Sunday at Sandi Pointe (4 and 6pm).
“Yotam is here for the first time as a leader, but he’s been here in the past as part of other ensembles,” says Lekan. “Joanna we’ve had a few years back, but the difference this year is that we partnered her up with the horn section of the Ed Vezinho/Jim Ward Big Band. Her quintet is doing a lot of great arrangements from her saxophonist, Larry McKenna.”
Other festival artists include the Will Clark Quartet (Thursday at Gregory’s, 8:30pm), the Edgardo Cintron Band (Thursday at Mission Point Church, 7pm) and the Michael Pedicin Quartet (Friday at Sandi Pointe, 8 and 10pm).
“Michael Pedicin’s sort of a legend in this area and has a couple new projects going on, including bringing in this group called the Brubeck Project,” says Lekan. “Michael’s actually an alumnus of [renowned jazz pianist] Dave Brubeck, and his bass player [Michael Moore] and drummer [Randy Jones] in this group are actually still current members of Dave Brubeck’s band.”
Modern jazz artist Richie Goods and Nuclear Fusion will play two sets at Gregory’s on Saturday night (8 and 10pm).
2011 Cape Bank Jazz @ the Point
Tickets are $70 for an all-event pass, $40 Friday and Saturday (for all three venues), and $30 Sunday (for both venues). Thursday events are free.
Thursday, March 10
• Edgardo Cintron & the Cintron Band, Mission Point Church (900 New York Ave.), 7-10pm.
• Will Clark Quartet, Gregory’s Restaurant (900 Shore Rd.), 8:30-11:30pm.
Friday, March 11
• Michael Pedicin Quartet/ The Brubeck Project, Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro (908 Shore Rd), sets at 8pm and 10pm.
• Joe Magnarelli Quartet, Gregory’s Restaurant, sets at 8pm and 10pm.
• Orrin Evans Quartet, Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro (upstairs), sets at 9:30pm and 11:30pm.
Saturday, March 12
• Ignacio Berroa Quartet, Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, sets at 8pm and 10pm.
• Richie Goods and Nuclear Fusion, Gregory’s Restaurant, sets at 8pm and 10pm.
• Eric Alexander Quartet, Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro (upstairs), sets at 9:30pm and 11:30pm.
Sunday, March 13
• Yotam Silberstein Trio, Gregory’s Restaurant, sets at 2pm and 4pm.
• Joanna Pascale Quintet with the Ed Vezinho/Jim Ward Big Band, Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, sets at 4pm and 6pm.
Additionally on Sunday, author Sandy Warren will be signing copies of her new book, Art Blakey Cookin’ and Jammin’: Recipes and Remembrances from a Jazz Life, as part of the festival from 3-4pm at Sandi Pointe, and again following the first set of the Joanna Pascale Quintet at Sandi Pointe.
The multi-day, multi-venue nighttime event has thrived in recent years, raising thousands of dollars for the Somers Point School District’s arts and music programs over the years.
The Somers Point Jazz Society is bringing back its popular monthly Winter Jazz Series starting Jan. 19, when the VCF Trio visits Gregory’s Restaurant.
The Mulgrew Miller Trio is one of this year’s headlining acts at the 15th annual Somers Point Jazz Society Jazz @ the Point Festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday, March 8-11. Miller’s trio performs two sets (8 and 10pm) Friday, March 9, in the banquet room of Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro (see sidebar for details).
The Mulgrew Miller Trio and Jimmy Cobb's Mob headline this year's 15th annual Cape Bank Jazz @ The Point Festival in March.
In its first three years, the SPJS Benefit and Silent Auction has raised between $4,000 and $5,000 annually based on a $20-per-person donation, and the silent-auction sale of items donated by the community. This year’s donations include several jazz-oriented pieces of artwork.
'I never want to be a gimmicky woman in jazz. It’s a by-product of what I do, because I am a woman, but I always wanted to be a great musician. ...I like wearing dresses and heels, you know, make-up. It’s funny, because I used to try to blend in when I first moved to New York. I was physically very girly, but I wore slacks and pants, because I wanted to blend in.'
Peering out of the second floor window of his white stucco home on East Mill Street in Northfield, Art Blakey could see nothing but sky and greenery. He used to say it felt like he was in a tree house -- miles away from the hustle and bustle of New York City or Paris. If the the late musician had peered into the future, however -- say about 30 years -- he couldn't have possibly foreseen the events that would transpire in his temporarily adopted hometown region this weekend. The Cape Savings Bank Jazz @ The Point festival, March 1-4, being presented as a multi-event tribute to the jazz legend, will honor a man who spent the better part of the 1950s through the 1980s helping to shape (and keep alive) the hard bop side of jazz. While doing so he performed all over the world, recording on hundreds of sessions and, perhaps most significantly, fostering the careers of numerous young jazz players who would become huge forces on the jazz scene themselves -- Clifford Brown, Keith Jarrett and Wynton Marsalis, to name a mere few. Although he was born in Pittsburgh and spent most of his life as a...
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