This Saturday, at the Atlantic City Weekly Health & Wellness Expo, there will be vendors and fitness classes, and — hopefully — some pretty nice weather. But there will also be free music to kick things off at 8:30 a.m. with Tom Angello and the Budesa Brothers. That alone is worth getting up early on a Saturday.
Angello is a bit of a local legend. A jazz drummer and bandleader, not only has he played throughout South Jersey on and off since his late teens, but he also sits on the executive board of the South Jersey Jazz Society.
“I started to get gigs at (ages) 17 and 18 with some local musicians,” Angello says. “I was playing what we called ‘society gigs’ at hotels throughout Atlantic City.”
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Though Angello loved jazz, he started a photography business — Olympic Studio in Northfield — when he was just 23 years old. And while he still managed to keep his foot in the door, the business prevented Angello from being able to dedicate a substantial amount of time to music.
“I had to cut back on music because the studio was getting so busy,” Angello, who has played such high profile venues as the Club Harlem and 500 Club, says. “I missed it. Any chance I had, I would go out and listen to others or sit in and play.”
Angello got back into music full-time seven or eight years ago when he retired from his studio. In addition to leading Tom Angello’s All Star Band, which performs regularly at Gregory’s Restaurant throughout the winter, Angello is adept at performing with a variety of jazz players. On Saturday, he’ll be playing with The Budesa Brothers.
“They’re great musicians,” Angello says. “They play the same style of traditional be-bop style jazz (as Angello), but they also play some Top 40.”
The Budesa Brothers are composed of brothers Richard and Robert Budesa, a pianist and guitarist, respectively. The brothers were recently featured on NPR’s “American Routes” and “Jazz Night in America” and have performed with the likes of Grover Washington Jr., among others.
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Together, Angello and the Budesa Brothers will perform mostly instrumental jazz, with some vocals thrown in, from the likes of George Benson, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Jimmy McGriff and Charlie Parker.
“We’ll be playing mostly light jazz rather than anything too heavy,” says Angello, noting the early time of the show. “When people sit down and experience it, people will say, ‘That’s the first time I listened to live jazz … and I really liked it’.”