A jazz brunch series at The Vogel at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank began, Oct. 15, with jazz trombonist and singer Jeffery Miller’s quintet, and there will be another jazz brunch on Nov. 19, featuring singer Aubrey Johnson and pianist Randy Ingram.
But before that, on Nov. 13, there will be another Brunch at the Vogel, featuring Tarriona “Tank” Ball, frontwoman of the group Tank & the Bangas. This one is not being promoted as jazz brunch, though there is a jazz influence in the music Ball has made with the Bangas. But there are other many influences there, too, including funk, soul, hip-hop, gospel and rock. (Ball is also a writer who released her first book of poetry, “Vulnerable AF,” last year.)
The brunch series is sponsored by the Gia Maoine Prima Foundation, whose president Anthony Sylvester, a partner in Florham Park-based law firm Sherman Atlas Sylvester and Stamelman, told the audience at Miller’s show that Ball will be doing “whatever she feels like doing for an hour or so. It’s going to be incredibly interesting.”
The New Orleans-based Tank & the Bangas won NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert competition in 2017 and were nominated for a Grammy in 2020 in the Best New Artist category after their critically acclaimed Green Balloon album came out on the Verve label in 2019.
All tickets to the show include a buffet brunch, which begins at 11 a.m. Ball’s set begins at noon. Visit ticketmaster.com.
I attended the Oct. 15 brunch/concert, which attracted a near-capacity crowd that responded enthusiastically to Miller’s relaxed, virtuosic set, featuring gently melodic covers of standards such as “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (with vocals) and “What a Wonderful World” (as an instrumental) as well as his own expansive original songs.
About midway through his 80-minute performance, Miller — who, like Ball, hails from New Orleans — introduced a special guest, Endea Owens, best known as the bassist for the house band of television’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” Miller and Owens met, he said, when they were both students at The Juilliard School in New York; she was getting her master’s degree and he was an undergraduate. Also, he has played in her band The Cookout, and they both recently performed with Jon Batiste when he debuted his “American Symphony” at Carnegie Hall.
Owens, who has an ebullient stage presence, stayed onstage for a few songs, including Miles Davis’ “So What” and her own “Feel Good,” which she introduced by saying it has that title “because I want everyone in this room to feel good, to feel great, better than when they arrived here … we play this music for you, but you also give us energy, and the will and the drive to keep going, to keep doing this every day.”
The Gia Maione Prima Foundation was established in honor of singer Gia Maione Prima, who performed and recorded as a solo artist and as a duet partner of her husband, Louis Prima. Gia Maione Prima, who grew up in Toms River, died in 2013 at the age of 72.
As part of its mission to support the arts, the Gia Maione Prima Foundation is also a founding supporter of NJArts.net.
Here is a video of Tank & the Bangas’ video “No ID”:
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