Makin Waves Scene Report with Central Jersey Jazz Festival, Indian Summer festival and more

Central jersey Jazz Festival


Terri Lyne Carrington will perform at the Central Jersey Jazz Festival in New Brunswick, Sept. 15.

Also featured this week are Ancient Babies, North Jersey Indie Festival, Mint 400 Records, Bruce Wacker tribute at the Stone Pony and Russtival.

The Central Jersey Jazz Festival is an unprecedented collaborative partnership of three county seats, organizers said. The sixth annual event will take place Sept. 14-16 in downtown Flemington, New Brunswick and Somerville.

“To our knowledge, no other such collaboration exists in the arts or otherwise,” said Virginia DeBerry, co-founder of both the festival and the New Brunswick Jazz Project. “Middlesex County even shares use of their mobile stage with Somerset County for the day.”

New Brunswick Jazz Project was co-founded in 2010 by DeBerry, Jimmy Lenihan and Mike Tublin. The three are longtime friends and jazz fans even longer. In 2013, they co-founded the Central Jersey Jazz Festival with Rick St. Pierre, owner of Verve, a restaurant and jazz venue in Somerville.

“The festival is a great way to expose new listeners to American’s only original music,” organizers said. “And it’s all free.”

The jazzy weekend kicks off Sept. 14 in Flemington with a well-crafted roster of jazz ambassadors. They include:

Renowned Jersey guitarist Dave Stryker (Jack McDuff, Stanley Turrentine), a 10-time honoree of the Downbeat Critics and Readers’ Poll.

Chicago vocalist Sachal Vasandani (Jon Hendricks, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Stefon Harris).

NYC saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin (Clark Terry, Reggie Workman).

Jazz House Kids will perform briefly between sets, which they also will do on Sept. 16 in Somerville.

The New Brunswick lineup will feature on Sept. 15:

Three-time Grammy-winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington (Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter).

A salute to the father of modern-day jazz, Louis Armstrong, with 3 for Louis, a sextet featuring three trumpeters representing three generations, plus a three-piece rhythm section

Seventeen-year-old blind organist Matthew Whittaker, the youngest artist to be endorsed by Hammond in its 80-year history and a 2016 winner of ” Showtime at the Apollo.”

The New Brunswick Jazz Brass Band will perform briefly between sets.

The festival will close out on Sept. 16 in Somerville with:

Grammy-nominated vocalist Carla Cook (Jazz@Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Count Basie Orchestra, Lionel Hampton’s Big Band).

Vibraphonist Monte Croft, a 34-year veteran of the New York City music scene (Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, David “Fathead” Newman, Cassandra Wilson.

Husband-and-wife harp-trumpet duo Riza & Marcus Printup.


New Brunswick Jazz Project founders are pictured with National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Billy Cobb, second from left. Also pictured from left are Michael Tublin, Virginia DeBerry and Jimmy Lenihan.

Except for members of New Brunswick Jazz Brass Band and Jazz House Kids, none of the artists have appeared at the festival before, organizers said.

DeBerry said she is most looking forward to presenting Whitaker, a graduate of Jazz House Kids (a Montclair-based music school whose students frequently have performed at the festival). According to Jazz House Kids, Whitaker has not played Central Jersey Jazz Fest before, but he has played several others.

“He’s received such national recognition for his talent,” she said. “He’s also appeared on ‘Today,’ ‘Ellen’ and ‘Harry Connick,’ and already at some of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world.”

New this year is the Peroni Stage in each host town. In honor of the sponsoring Italian brewer, the festival will be giving away an Italian-made Martone bicycle at each show, organizers said.

Central Jersey Jazz Festival is presented by RWJBarnabas Health and also produced by Flemington Community Partnership, Somerville Arts on Division and longtime New Jersey jazz matron Sheila Anderson, an on-air personality of WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM and author of “The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac” and “How to Grow as a Musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed.”

Indian Summer and Asbury Park Bazaar will present their fifth annual festival with music, crafts, camping and more, Sept. 15-16 in Asbury Park. Indian Summer and Asbury Park Fall Bazaar will feature bands, DJs, camping, bonfires and yoga on the beach, along with shopping from 100-plus craft vendors. The event is a local summer celebration of makers, art and music in Asbury Park held in partnership with The Asbury Boardwalk. Festivities will take place at Convention Hall, The Anchor’s Bend and on the beach. In case of rain, music will be moved indoors.

The Indian Summer Beach Stage at The Anchor’s Bend will feature Brother Andrew, Illiterate Light, latewaves, Birthwater, gods, Ecstatic Vision, Purling Hiss and DJ Foggy Notion on Saturday and a traditional reggae sound system with The Steady Sound System and The Holdfast Sound on Sunday.

“It’s really a celebration of local summer and our talented creative community, everyone who lives and works here year round, all of the brilliant local artists, musicians and makers that all come together at this beautiful historic building in Asbury Park,” said enny Vickers Chyb, founder of the Asbury Park Bazaar.

“This year, in celebration of our fifth anniversary, we’re rolling back tickets to $10 for the Saturday music program and camping tickets are rolled back to $125 for a campsite for four people, including tickets, featuring some of the best national and local artists, all with their ties to Asbury Park,” added Joe Chyb, founder of Indian Summer and Jenny’s husband.

The Chybs also are known as the drummers in The Vice Rags and the all-female group Lyons.

When not camping or listening to music, festival-goers can enjoy a variety of hand-crafted works and vintage collections inside Convention Hall’s Grand Arcade. There, DJ Jay Insult will spin on Saturday and DJ Prestige on Sunday. Fall Bazaar highlights also will include beauty and wellness experiences such as styling beads, braids and waves by Shag and Spruce salons, lashes by I Love Lashes, oils and self-care by Vibes and Things, and henna tattoo. A photo booth and other photo ops will be available, along with craft workshops and a beach yoga benefit for Clean Water Action’s ReThink Disposable Program, which aims to reduce drinking straws and other single-use plastics and keep them off the beach and out of the ocean.

“Disposable plastics typically are used once and thrown away at events,” Vickers Chyb said. “Plastic cups and straws end up littering the beaches and in our water supplies and oceans. The event will offer a Straws by Request program and reusable stainless steel cups that event-goers can reuse all weekend long.”

Mint 400 recording act Ancient Babies have a tasty show coming up in support of their latest EP, Put Me Back in the Sunshine, a follow-up to the 2016 The Man from 1943 EP. The electronica rock band will groove Coney Island Baby in New York City, where they’ll also likely play an inventive version of “My Heart Will Go on” from the 1997 Oscar-winning film “Titanic.” They recently contributed that track to Mint 400’s new compilation, At the Movies.

In other Mint 400 news, the label will release a mix tape on Sept. 14 dedicated to its bands who have and/or will be playing the North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, which Mint 400 co-founded three years ago with Sniffling Indie Kids. The comp features new tracks from Cyclone Static, Guilty Giraffe and Tony Saxon. The latter two acts will be playing the festival on Oct. 6 at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City with label mates Yawn Mower, Shithead’s Rainbow and Ultra Major, plus Dentist, The Components, The Vaughns, LKFFCT, Psychiatric Metaphors, Professor Caveman, Smock, Glenn Morrow’s Cry for Help, The Royal Arctic Institute, Black Wail, State Champion Records’ Glazer, Ex-Maid and Secretary Legs. The festival also will feature an after party at FM Bar with The Vice Rags, who also record for Mint 400, and Tru. Mint 400 also will present a free show on Oct. 19 at Stosh’s in Fair Lawn with Shithead’s Rainbow, The Good Silver, Donnie Law, This Bliss, Pioneer the Eel and Dharma Plums.

Bruce Wacker was a great guitarist and guitar teacher. Many of his peers and protégés are banding together for a memorial tribute concert on Sept. 16 at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. They include The Matt O’Ree Band, The Stormin’ Norman Big New Orleans Band, The Bobby Donofrio Band, Pat Guadagno & Richie Oddo, Sandy Mack, Eryn O’Ree, Layonne Holmes, Eric Safka, Vic Cappetta, Damian Cremisio, Taz, Ray Johnson, Gerry Gironda, Ed Dougherty, Neil “The Purculator” Perkins, and, most likely, Michael Ghegan if he’s back from Europe on time, plus many surprise guests. Bruce died at the age of 61 on June 5 from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. He studied with Jersey jazz greats Tal Farlow and Harry Leahey and Jersey Shore bassist Gerald Carboy. He played in many Jersey Shore bands, including his own Bruce Wacker Band, and toured with The Spin Doctors, Robin Trower and Warren Haynes.

The 10th anniversary Russtival will be Sept. 15 and 16 at the Clinton Elks in Pittstown. Hunterdon County’s annual bash has raised nearly $70,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in memory of fallen rocker Russ Perry, whose popular band, Ground Zero, reunites every year for community shindig. Also performing will be some of the rich and fertile Hunterdon scene’s best bands, including 90 Proof, We May Be Right, Bones Weedsley, Black Cross Band, What the Funk?, Leather & Lace and much more. Barbecue, beer, raffles and vendors also will be among the highlights.

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at


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