When the annual Health, Wellness & Fitness Expo takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Music Pier in Ocean City, there will be lots to do. Guests can take a free fitness class, consult medical experts, or watch demonstrations. And while that’s all worthwhile, checking out the music of The Budesa Brothers has to be top of the list.
“We’ll be playing with drummer Tom Angello, who is part of the South Jersey Jazz Society,” says Rich Budesa, who performs as the Budesa Brothers with his brother, Robert Budesa. “We’ll be representing the jazz society that day.”
Unlike other jazz musicians, the Budesa Brothers need to offer that disclaimer — that they’ll be performing jazz at a particular event, rather than it being an assumption. Why? Because the Budesa Brothers aren’t just jazz musicians — the Budesa Brothers dabble in just about everything.
“We play everything from Earth, Wind & Fire to AC/DC,” says Rich Budesa. “My brother has a great voice, he can sing soul, Sinatra … we sing in harmony.”
But even that’s a little simplistic. Sure, they play some standard ongoing shows — they’ve played every Monday at Tomatoe’s in Margate for the past 12 years, (with the exception of a closing due to Hurricane Sandy). This is their third year playing Sundays through the summer at The Crab Trap in Somers Point, where they play with drummer Keith Hollis and perform meringue, waltzes and cha-chas for ballroom dancers. But they also, along with Sally Mitlas, play synagogues on Fridays.
“Sally likes how we sing and we started learning to sing Hebrew songs,” says Rich.
The breadth and depth of their experience is both broad and unique. From Rich recording with Grover Washington Jr., George Duke, and Lenny White to performing with Bootsie Barnes, Papa John DeFrancesco and Duane Eubanks; to Robertw recording and playing with Billy Paul to performing at The Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia; to their performance this Friday for the Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation Jazz Concert Series at The Claridge, the Budesa Brothers are as versatile — and talented — as they come.
As diverse as their playing is, jazz holds a special place for The Budesa Brothers.
“We’re musicians,” Rich says. “And jazz is the ultimate expression on an instrument for a musician.”