People who want to investigate the southern New Jersey jazz scene will soon only have to seek out one CD to hear many of the finest players.
Seventeen artists gave tracks to the Somers Point Jazz Society artist member CD compilation project, which will be available later this fall and was partially funded by a kickerstarter campaign.
"Within the deadline, we ended up with
22 people that decided they were going to participate. We ended up with very solid usable material," said trumpeter Bob Ferguson, of Linwood, who has been on a two-year quest to make the CD. "All of the compositions that were basically donated to this project, you can't put a price on the artistic compositions that we received."
The purpose of the 17-track CD is to highlight the talent of the artist members of the society, to be used as a promotional item to attract future members and sponsors, and to provide exposure to the Somers Point jazz scene.
Performers on the CD include saxophonist Michael Pedicin, of Linwood; bassist Tim Lekan, of Ocean City; vocalist Gina Roche, of Atlantic City; and others.
Somers Point Jazz Society is a non-profit organization. The CD will not be sold. It will be given to society members and anyone interested in hearing it. Besides Ferguson, the main people behind the album are Grammy Award-winning music producer Joe Donofrio of Brigantine; drummer Vic Stevens. of Winslow Township, Camden County; Pedicin; arranger and saxophonist Ed Vezhino and drummer Tom Angelo, both of Egg Harbor Township; and Bryan Jones, of Linwood, the jazz society's executive director.
The CD's intent is to reveal how many talented people are in the society, Donofrio said.
"We thought this would be a nice way to introduce a lot of the members of the society that are vibrant in the community... Maybe, that will help other people join," Donofrio said.
The jazz society has about 300 members, 60 of them are musicians, Ferguson said.
A successful kickstarter.com campaign ended earlier this month. The goal was to raise $1,500, but more than $2,000 was raised by 50 backers. The society will pay for the remainder of the costs, which is not expected to be more than $2,500, Ferguson said. One of the ways costs were held in check were the artists were asked to contribute original compositions, so money was not spent to pay for the use of permission to use previously recorded and copyright-written material.
Another cost-saving measure was having the artists submit songs they had already recorded, so money was not spent on recording studio time. Stevens, who owns Giant Steps Recording Studio, was responsible for making all the tracks recorded separately sound like a unified CD.
One thousand copies of the CDs will be pressed, Ferguson said.
This is really going to be a world-class recording in a lot of ways, just the people that are on it," Ferguson said. "We have some incredible musicians that are part of the organization. We're hoping we can build our artist membership for the future. We want to bring young people in."
Don Smedley, 68, of Ocean City, was one of the 14 board members who voted for the project.
"I thought it was a great idea... I'm looking forward to hearing it because they are people I know well, people who I have heard play and don't know that well, so it's a good group of people, and it should be an excellent CD," Smedley said.
Vocalist Cathy Rocco, of Brigantine, is one of the few artists who contributed a well-known song. Listeners will hear her version of the classic "Autumn Leaves."
"It's a little outside the normal tradition of what that song is all about. It's a very different arrangement," said Rocco about her version of "Autumn Leaves." "I decided it wanted to be a part of it (the CD) because I think it's for a very worthy cause and that's to get other people on board with jazz and join the jazz society and to help the jazz culture grow."
Contact Vincent Jackson:
Somers Point Jazz Society CD
The Somers Point Jazz Society artist member album compilation project will be released this fall. For a copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The CD will be given free to all Somers Point Jazz Society members. A $40 annual membership includes CD and admission to summer and winter jazz events and discounts on tickets to the Jazz@the Point Festival