His jazz tribute to the 19th century Navy Master Commandant Richard Somers begins with a stately, slow and ominous movement in a minor key.
"It's dark and brooding," said composer, sax player and bandleader Ed Vezinho, of Egg Harbor Township. The music reflects the dangers Somers and his men will face as they attempt to destroy vessels of the Barbary Coast pirates off the coast of Tripoli, Libya, in 1804.
Nick Regine, of the Somers Point Jazz Society, commissioned Vezinho to write an original piece to be performed Oct. 7 to honor Somers, whose family settled Somers Point and who was killed with his crew in an explosion on that Libya mission.
The adjunct professor of music at Rowan University and Richard Stockton College uses orchestration to convey events.
"In the explosion scene, the instruments make some guttural, crazy noises," said Vezinho, whose Ed Vezinho/Jim Ward Big Band has been playing together since 1977. His solo credits include playing with Aretha Franklin and with The Temptations. He has written music for clients around the world, including the Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Friend Bob Ferguson, a trumpet player and Stockton business professor from Linwood, prepared a visual montage of scenes from Somers Point and Libya that will be shown simultaneously.
Somers and his men are buried under what is now a parking lot in Tripoli despite U.S. government efforts to bring their bodies home.
The Jazz Tribute to Master Commandant Richard Somers is 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, 908 Shore Road, Somers Point. Admission is $10. Visit spjazz.org or call 609-927-6677.
Scholarship fund success
Suad El Amin and Alan Omar raised $2,709 for the Hasan Scholarship Fund, for graduates of Atlantic City High School, at a tribute concert Aug. 17. The event honored Kaleem Shabazz, president of the Masjid Muhammad mosque in Atlantic City and a member of the interfaith group Bridge of Faith.
Join Deb Mento, of Hammonton, and others as they make pillowcases for pediatric cancer patients 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 22 at Hammonton Fire Department No. 2, 51 N. White Horse Pike, Hammonton.
It's a project of the South Jersey Chapter of the nonprofit ConKerr Cancer, coordinated by Sharon Cadwell of Cape May, a retired Macy's operations director. Contact SharonConKerr@comcast.net or call 609-408-4068.