Norman Seldin’s busy summer: big band shows, with autobiography and album to follow

norman seldin

ESTELLE MASSRY

NORMAN SELDIN

The Stormin’ Norman Seldin Big Band’s “New Orleans Revue” — which can be seen June 19 at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como, and July 5 at Springwood Park in Asbury Park — is the kind of show you won’t be able to see anywhere else this summer. Seldin and Ryan Gregg will play side-by-side pianos at the front of the stage, and the big band’s horn section will be composed of five saxophones (two tenors, two altos and one baritone). Others in the group will include singer-guitarists Pam McCoy and Chuck Lambert.

“It’s simple, basic New Orleans stuff with a lot of pop to it,” says Seldin. “An hour and a half set goes by in like 20 minutes. It’s toe-tappin’ stuff. You don’t have to bury your head down and concentrate. It’s just happy stuff that everybody knows, that they haven’t heard for years.”

He says the setlist will include hits by artists such as Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Big Joe Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. “And then we’re doing Bonnie Raitt stuff, and John Prine, and even some Linda Ronstadt,” he adds. “All classics. I’m not throwing any originals in.”

Seldin, one of the artists most responsible for creating a vibrant Asbury Park rock scene in the ’60s and ’70s (his band The Joyful Noyze featured a pre-E Street Band Clarence Clemons), is as busy as ever this summer. In addition to the shows, he is putting the finishing touches on an autobiography, “You Don’t Know Me” (co-written with Charlie Horner), and preparing to record a guest-filled album to be released along with it. He hopes to put out both, independently, by August.

The cover of the self-titled 1972 album by Norman Seldin and the Joyful Noyze.

He expects album guests to include Larry Chance (of the vocal group Larry Chance & the Earls), whom he used to manage, decades ago; E Street Band drummer Vini Lopez; the legendary session drummer Bernard Purdie (Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan); and others.

“He (Purdie) said, ‘If I’m not on this album, I will get my old ass personally down there and fit my shoe up your ass,’ ” says Seldin. “I said, ‘Bernard, you’re going to be on it.’ He said, ‘You’re damn right I’m gonna be on it!’ ”

As the title of “You Don’t Know Me” implies, Seldin will write about many things he hasn’t talked about before, publicly. “I think you probably won’t know 50 to 75 percent of anything in the book,” he said.

This includes stories about performing at the White House, and in England, and living in Mississippi and Florida from the late ’70s to the early ’90s. “I wasn’t here (in Asbury Park) when everything was wrecked,” he says. “I came back to nothing.”

He says he “never realized how much work went into this (a book). This was something I never expected. Practicing eight hours a day on piano, since I’m 3, seems like a minute thing compared to all this.”

He promises he won’t sugarcoat anything in the book. “At one point,” he remembers, “Charlie said, ‘What’s the matter?’ I’m tearing up: ‘I don’t like talking about this.’ He said, ‘Readers need to know how.’ So I gathered my ass up and, you know, spit it out.

“This book, it’s real life. Some parts of it hurt badly.”

He says the book won’t focus on his associations with the late Clemons and other famous members of the Asbury Park music scene.

“This book isn’t about them and it’s not about any one city in particular. It’s the whole life. I would rather sell 10,000 books and have it be the real story than have 50,000 out there and have 40 percent of it be absolute crap.”

Seldin will present big band shows at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como, June 19 at 4:30 p.m. (visit bar-a.com) and Springwood Park in Asbury Park, with the Ocean Avenue Stompers opening, July 5 at 6 p.m. (visit asburyparkmusiclives.org).

For more about Seldin, visit storminnormanseldin.reverbnation.com).

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