A concert celebrating the life of the late Nancy Wertheim Swarbrick (known to all as Big Nancy), the great blues harmonica player and a tireless supporter of the Jersey music scene, will be held at one of her favorite clubs, Roxy and Dukes in Dunellen, on Oct. 7.
According to the event’s Facebook page, participants will include Root Glen, Bob White, the Slaves of New Brunswick, Matt Witte’s Coach and Commando, and Big Nancy’s Supreme Court band (featuring Yolanda Briggs). According to the page, though, details are tentative “with more to come.”
Swarbrick, who grew up in Green Brook and lived in Piscataway, died in August at the age of 61. Her career included work behind the scenes — she booked shows at Trenton State College and the Red Bull Inn in Bridgewater — as well as teaching, and many, many nights on the stage. Over the years, she played with legendary blues artists such as Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, Willie Dixon and Hubert Sumlin, as well as Clarence Clemons, Levon Helm and Bernie Worrell.
She was also, I’d like to add, one of the nicest, most positive and uncynical people I’ve come to know in more than 30 years of covering the music scene in New Jersey.