Coasting - SPJS Honors the Late George Mesterhazy By Ray Schweibert

By AC Weekly Staff
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George Mesterhazy.

SPJS Honors the Late George Mesterhazy By Ray Schweibert

The Somers Point Jazz Society (SPJS) will be recognizing George Mesterhazy, in memoriam, as its 2013 Jazz Master of the Year. The award ceremony and reception will take place 5pm Sunday, March 10, at Sandi Pointe in Somers Point. Following the ceremony there will be a performance featuring Barry Miles on piano, Tim Lekan on bass and Bob Shomo on drums. The event is free and open to the public. Mesterhazy, a Cape May resident regarded as one of the finest jazz pianists and arrangers in southern New Jersey, passed away suddenly April 21, 2012, at the age 59. The veteran musician was admired worldwide, and was nominated for a pair of Grammy awards for his work as a player and arranger with vocalist Shirley Horn. He was about to celebrate the release of his latest recording with world-renowned singer Paula West, Live at Jazz Standard, when he passed away. Mesterhazy’s longtime life partner, Vicki Watson, will accept the award for him. According to a release from the SPJS, “George was a multi-talented jazz musician who left a giant gap in the south Jersey jazz community with his passing last April. He was a huge supporter not only of the Somers Point Jazz Society but of jazz in general.” Mesterhazy came to America with his family when they fled Hungary following that country’s 1956 revolution. Eventually settling in Atlantic City, George first took up guitar and trumpet. After switching to piano and becoming a professional musician, he relocated to Los Angeles but later moved to Cape May. Among the jazz luminaries he played with in his career were Les Paul, Bernadette Peters, Gene Ammons and countless others. Call 927-6677 for more info, or visit

Singer-Songwriter Weekend Returns to Congress Hall

By Casey Harper 

A spectrum of 150 singer-songwriters will serenade spectators and industry insiders on 18 stages at 15 different venues in Cape May as the Victorian town hosts the 6th Annual Singer-Songwriter Cape May music business conference and showcase Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23. Designed for emerging artists of all genres, along with industry folks seeking to sign up-and-coming talent, the boutique event is the ideal setting for singer-songwriters in the tri-state area (and beyond) to network with each other as well as professionals within the musical community. Through a series of panels, workshops, and clinics, registrants will have the opportunity to share demos and absorb insights as knowledgeable industry veterans share their experiences. Among the featured performers and speakers is Tracy Grammer, who will be in the spotlight on Friday, and Ellis Paul, on Saturday (both in the Grand Ballroom at Congress Hall). Both veteran musicians will address conference goers at 5:15pm, then perform for the public shortly after at 8pm. Attendees should not only take in the extraordinary daytime events — which include seminars and mentoring sessions from publishers to producers to publicists (get a Cape May All Access Personalized Laminate, a program/directory, and a Cape May Compilation CD, at for $75 per person) — but the plethora of free showcases by emerging artists throughout town during the evening hours. Tickets for the Ballroom concerts are also available for the public for $10. After 5pm or so, the panels taking place inside the Ballroom are open to the public. For more information about the conference and showcase, call 888-944-1816, or visit

The Milk Carton Kids

The Ash & Clay (ANTI)

Ever since the Coen Brothers’ 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the correlating soundtrack brought the sounds of early Americana music back into the mainstream, there has been a lovely resurgence (and acceptance) of acoustic-based acts and recordings. From Gillian Welch and Iron & Wine to Mumford & Sons, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Civil Wars, not only has the world embraced the harmony-drenched sounds of bluegrass and old-timey fare, as well as the traditional instrumentation it sounds best with, but the music industry — the Grammy folks, for example — have also showed much love. One of the best new artists in this Americana sphere is the Milk Carton Kids, whose major label debut The Ash & Clay sounds like vintage Simon & Garfunkel at their best, with gorgeous guitars and the perfect nighttime vibe. This is music you can’t get enough of and I expect these “Kids” to be around for a while — at least to pick up a Grammy next February. — Jeff Schwachter

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