While I like to consider myself a well-rounded music listener, if I take an honest look at my collection of music and playlists I am not sure I listen to jazz as often as I would like to do so. When I do hear jazz, I enjoy it. Throughout my musical journeys, I have been lucky enough to hear so many wonderful jazz musicians. Jazz is a great soundtrack to life as well as everything that represents life including film, television and other forms of art.
Jazz is a musical format that is freeing. It is, or can be, less structured than other forms or genres of music. It also can be made up of both individual expressions of music as well as band members playing collectively within the same song. There are complexities within the music that can take the listener through feelings and emotions.
When I listen to jazz, it makes me think, more so than any other genre of music I enjoy. Jazz enriches my mind, body and soul. While jazz has a rich history and intertwines with artists I was introduced to throughout my youth, such as Louie Armstrong, John Coltrane and Miles Davis (all of whose recordings are in my personal collection), it continues to have influence on artists throughout the world. Jazz music, more so than any other musical form I can think of, is a fluid form of instrumentation that seems to have few boundaries or limitations.
So I ask myself, as I write this week’s column, “Why is Jazz something I do not listen to regularly, despite all of the reasons I appreciate jazz, the uniqueness of the form and everything it stands for? Jazz is everywhere, so why is it not in heavy rotation in my personal collection and playlists?”
I believe the answer is in the question I just asked myself. I enjoy jazz nearly every time I hear it, whether in a live form, in television, in movies or theater. I enjoy it on the radio, on stations locally such as Stockton University’s WLFR 91.7 FM. Jazz is and will always be part of my life, even if it has not been a huge presence in my personal music collection.
This week we all have the opportunity to “Listen Up” and expand our jazz listening and appreciation thanks to the South Jersey Jazz Society’s Jazz @ the Point. The multi-day event will run Thursday, Oct. 10 to Sunday Oct. 13 throughout Somers Point and in Ocean City.
The South Jersey Jazz Society’s mission is to advance and facilitate the promotion, presentation, education and appreciation of America’s unique and diversified art form, jazz, in Somers Point and the surrounding communities. The organization has been in existence since 2004. Since the society began, it has helped the local school district by providing it with funds totaling nearly $30,000 to supplement its music and creative arts educational programs.
President and founding Somers Point Jazz Society member Nick Regine and the members have been a driving force in giving local residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy jazz close to home.
“This yearly event, made possibly by so many generous sponsors and supporters provides the opportunity for people in South Jersey to experience a level and high quality of jazz normally reserved for larger cities and metropolitan environments,” Regine said when asked about this year’s Jazz @ the Point offering.
So Listen Up! and take advantage of the chance to increase your musical experience with Jazz @ the Point.
For more information and details for both ticketed and free events, see southjerseyjazz.org or call 609-927-6677.
The scheduled events are as follows:
Thursday, Oct. 10
• Budesa Brothers Duo (free event) at Somers Point Brewery from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
• Akiko Tsuruga Quartet featuring Joe Magnarelli at The Gateway Playhouse from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
• SJJS Quartet featuring Chris Simonini, Howard Isaacson, Keith Hollis and E Shawn Q (free event) at the Anchorage Restaurant from 9:30 to 11 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 11
• Pat Bianchi Quartet featuring Joe Locke, Paul Bollenback, Byron Landham at the Gateway Playhouse from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
• Tony Monacco Organ Trio featuring Howard Paul at Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar from 9:30 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12
• Lucas Brown Septet featuring Elliot Bild, Nick Lombardelli, Behn Gillece, Sean Markey and Doug Hirlinger at the Gateway Playhouse from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
• Joey DeFrancesco Trio at the Gateway Playhouse from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
• Budesa Brothers Band featuring Tom Angello at Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar from 9:30 to 11 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 13
• Benedetto Guitar Jazz Bruno featuring Howard Paul and Jimmy Bruno at Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Michael Pedicin/ The Jazz Organ and It’s Philly/Atlantic City Connection (free event) at the Ocean City Free Public Library from 2 to 3:30 p.m.