Plus DrewToonz weekly comic strip, the Album of the Week and Stone Harbor's Wings N Water Festival
Jazz Vespers Salute Chris Columbo
For one day — Sunday, Sept. 18 — the Asbury United Methodist Church in Atlantic City, home of the South Jersey Jazz Vespers, will be transformed into the bygone Club Harlem as a tribute to a name nearly as legendary as the club itself. Chris Columbo (1902-2002) was a jazz drummer who led the Club Harlem orchestra for 34 years, right up until the club closed its Kentucky Avenue doors forever in 1978. He continued to perform at other A.C. clubs, including in nearly every casino, into his 90s and was the oldest working musician in Atlantic City history. His goddaughter, jazz vocalist Angela Burton will sing with Hassan Abdullah (both pictured) and his quintet featuring drummer Tom Angello, who played at Club Harlem, at Asbury Methodist (1213 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City) on what would have been Columbo’s 109th birthday, beginning 4pm Sunday. “It’s important to give older citizens who knew and loved my godfather a lovely time to reminisce,” says Burton. “But it’s even more important to teach young men and women abut their proud local heritage, and Chris Columbo is an integral part of that musical history. We must never let go of his legacy.” Columbo’s career started in 1921 with Fletcher Henderson, a highly influential pianist and composer in the development of big-band jazz and swing music. He went on to play and record with such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Wild Bill Davis and Ella Fitzgerald. His son was the Count Basie Orchestra drummer, Sonny Payne. In 2005 a section of Kentucky Avenue, home of Club Harlem, was renamed Chris Columbo Lane. — Ray Schweibert
Exploring the Wetlands
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, sometimes it can be easy to forget just how beautiful and diverse the southern New Jersey wetlands really are. Reminding us of that has always been one of the goals of The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor. And that’s the focus of the institute’s annual Wings n’ Water Festival Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18. Dubbed a “Celebration of the Coast,” the festival is a massive exploration of the area’s wetlands complete with walking tours, bird watching, kayaking and “safaris” to check out the local wildlife. Of course it’s a festival as well, including live entertainment, children’s programs, a chowder-cooking contest and displays by artists, carvers and quilters. It’s a pretty packed schedule for the festival which starts off Friday, Sept. 16 with an opening reception and benefit auction at the institute (1075 Stone Harbor Blvd.). On Saturday and Sunday, the festival is dominated by activities and displays around Stone Harbor. (Visit wetlandsinstitute.org for full schedule). The center of the festival, however, is the institute itself where attendees can see turtle releases, hear live music and find children’s events. But really, those attending the festival will be crawling through the bays and marshes or on numerous cruises and, of course, safaris. Tickets, which are good for both days, are $12 for adults and $5 for children aged 2 to 12. — Mike Pritchard
Vol. 1 - Music from the HBO Original Series (Elektra)
As HBO’s Boardwalk Empire examines, American life during the early 1920s wasn’t that dissimilar to modern times. War, Wall Street, taxes, political corruption, immigration, and gang violence was on many people’s minds and the music of the time captures this essence of the dawning of the modern age. Timed to coincide with the season two premiere of the HBO drama series, Elektra Records has just released a collection of music from the first and second seasons of the show. Not only featuring the memorable performances by Stephen DeRosa (portraying Eddie Cantor) and Kathy Brier (as Sophie Tucker) from the show, the album — also available in a digital “deluxe” version with four extra songs — also includes modern artists such as Regina Spektor, Loudon Wainwright III, Leon Redbone, and others re-making songs from the era. New York City band Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks — the house band at Babette’s Nightclub on the show — are also featured on a handful of toe-tappin’ tunes. (Visit Atlantic City Weekly's Boardwalk Empire Notes Page here)— Jeff Schwachter
Drew Toonz (See more comics here)
It feels like this is truly the beginning of a real arts district in Atlantic City.
On Tuesday, Feb. 22, groundbreaking will commence on the newest Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian’s 19th museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will occupy a five-acre site on Constitution Avenue between 14th and 15th streets N.W., between the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
“We haven’t had a disappointing month yet, and Dan and Sandi have been fantastic. They’ve gone above and beyond anything we could ask them to do, and the audience has been terrific. It’s been a lot of fun. We couldn’t do it without the support of the community and without the help of Dan and Sandi. They’ve really championed the cause of jazz music in the Somers Point community.”
Seventy-five years ago, then Atlantic City Mayor Charles White decided to sponsor a songwriting contest. The prize was a cool $1,000 — pretty big bucks in those days — and the mission was to write a song about Atlantic City.
FIVE YEARS AGO THIS WEEK Atlantic City lost a treasure. I still carry around the late Sid Trusty’s faded yellow business card in my wallet. I got the opportunity to meet the man on a few occasions before he passed away on Aug. 16, 2004.
The night beat always pulsed in Atlantic City. Something about the way the moon lit the ocean and salt air swirled on the Boardwalk. You lazed on the beach by day, but when the sun slipped below the ...
� � Gambling on Art Two renowned artists now grace Atlantic City casinos with their art. On Tuesday, March 8, Josh and Kim Miller, owners of Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor helped install Peter Max's original painting, "The Colors of Resorts" (left) in the entrance of the Camelot Restaurant at Resorts Atlantic City. The painting highlights the distinctive art deco panache of Resorts casino in Max's unique style. Another local example of Max's work is the 40 by 200-foot mural adorning the exterior West Hall wall of Boardwalk Hall. Max exhibits yearly during Independence Day weekend at Ocean Galleries. On Wednesday, March 17, the Sands Casino Hotel unveiled a painting by world-renowned sports artist Jeffrey Rubin to document high-limit blackjack, craps and roulette games. Using the artist's trademark style of color, motion and in-the-moment realism, the painting (shown on Contents page) features actual Sands gamblers. Rubin, a Delaware resident, is an internationally recognized artist. Both paintings are welcome additions to the array of creative activity taking place in Atlantic City's current renaissance. - Steve Angelucci Kids in the Hall Do you know when the first black teacher began teaching in Atlantic City? How about the name of the city's first self-made millionaire? How about what...
A banner with the name Slappy White on it hung across Kentucky Avenue all summer. The late comedian and actor (who died in Brigantine in 1995) was booked for the entire season at Atlantic City’s famed Club Harlem. On this particular summer night, however — July 24, 1964, to be precise — hanging above the banner was yet another banner. It read: “Sam Cooke.”
Summertime, and the groovin’ is easy. Tourists fatten the regular jazz crowd cramming Kentucky Avenue, where the night never dies. Inside Club Harlem, they press against the bar and each other, as the organist and his quartet tune up on the bandstand. The music comes fast and the band is tight and the organ looses a torrent of sound. And there’s an added bonus for posterity: the live session is being recorded for an album, a rare occurrence in Atlantic City. This was the scene on the Saturday night of Aug. 9, 1969, when master jazz organist Lonnie Smith and company cut Move Your Hand, an exemplar of ’60s soul jazz, for the legendary Blue Note label. The title song, which became a hit, borrowed its lyric from a joke that Smith’s drummer told about a substitute preacher who couldn’t deliver the sermon because someone else’s hand was covering the text. (The joke is less than hysterical, but the number’s a grabber.) “One night, I was playing a little lick and just happened to say [“move your hand”] to the fellows in the band,” says Smith, now 67 and as busy as ever. “People loved it and always requested it.” It became...
At a fraction the size of the Showboat House of Blues' main music hall, one might assume that the Club Harlem Ballroom is reserved for lesser-known acts, or those that don't have the drawing power to...
THE ADDRESS WAS 32 North Kentucky Avenue, and it was a place where the music -- and the night -- never died. If the entire block, including the likes of Grace's Little Belmont and the Wonder Garden b...
Exploring the 1920s in Atlantic City
1912 Prohibition Party Convention