Recent Posts

Maxwell’s to return with new booking strategy

The bleacher seats have been taken out of the back room of Maxwell’s in Hoboken, and there’s a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It doesn’t really look like the same room anymore, which is fitting, since the artists who will play there when it reopens Oct. 24 are very different from the indie-rockers and scruffy punk bands who helped make the club legendary in the ’80s and ’90s. That’s right. Maxwell’s — which closed amid much fanfare in July 2013 but soon reopened its restaurant room — will be presenting music again in its small but famous back room, under a slightly modified name, Maxwell’s Tavern. Continue Reading →

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‘Hey Bartender,’ John Belushi with Allman Brothers

Those attending the Allman Brothers Band concert at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic on April 20, 1979, might have been expecting something special, since the show was being broadcast live on WNEW-FM. And they got, probably, a bigger surprise than they were expecting when John Belushi showed up during the encores to sing the blues standard, “Hey Bartender,” with the group — and do a cartwheel, which is visible at the 1:25 mark of the video, below. Belushi had already done his Blues Brothers routine on “Saturday Night Live” at this point, and the Blues Brothers album Briefcase Full of Blues came out in 1978, though the hit movie “The Blues Brothers” did not come out until 1980. I’m not sure who that is taking the harmonica solo on this song. If anybody knows, please let me know in the comments section, below. Continue Reading →

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Stanley Jordan salutes Stevie Ray Vaughan at Crossroads in Garwood

One world-class musician will pay tribute to another at Crossroads in Garwood Saturday, as jazz fusion guitarist Stanley Jordan leads a tribute to the late blues-rocker Stevie Ray Vaughan, the day after the 60th anniversary of Vaughan’s birth. Joining the 55-year-old Chicago native and Princeton University graduate will be drummer Bernard Purdie, whose credits range from Aretha Franklin to Miles Davis, Cat Stevens and Steely Dan; and bassist Charnett Moffett, a former member of the Wynton Marsalis Quintet who also has played with Art Blakey, Ornette Coleman and Dizzy Gillespie. Tickets can be purchased on Facebook at, or by calling Crossroads at (908) 518-0323. I talked to Jordan by phone on Wednesday. Q: Tell me a little bit about your history with Stevie Ray Vaughan. Continue Reading →

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Shows of the week: Fred Hammond and Donnie McClurkin, Thomas Wesley Stern, Billy Hector, Onyx

A church it is not, but over the past 12 months, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark has hosted a run of astoundingly good gospel performances. Last October, Kirk Franklin presented a fierce, funny, high-energy set of devotional music that, when the star sat at the piano, felt reassuringly traditional. That show was followed by a gospel revue curated by Bishop Hezekiah Walker that featured a mid-evening appearance by Camden’s Tye Tribbett, a musical polymath whose band finds the middle ground between Weather Report and the Black Eyed Peas. Franklin and Walker are both members of the first generation of gospel artists who had to reconcile church music with the ascendance of hip-hop — and so are Fred Hammond and Donnie McClurkin, who will co-headline at NJPAC on Friday night. Both singers are on the far side of 50, and both are modernizers who have nevertheless remained faithful to inspirational music. Continue Reading →

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