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John and Bucky Pizzarelli help celebrate Jersey jazz in Jersey City

The show was billed as a celebration of Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, all of whom lived in New Jersey for at least part of their lives. But once genial c0-headliner John Pizzarelli started, he couldn’t stop, mentioning that one song he performed, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” was written in co-writer Bob Hilliard’s Englewood home, and that the arrangement he used for another, “Witchcraft,” was by Don Sebesky of Mendham. He and his father, fellow New Jersey guitar master Bucky Pizzarelli, also performed two songs — “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” and an incredibly propulsive “Don’t Take Your Love Away From Me” — in tribute to Mahwah’s Les Paul, and John mentioned that guitarist Ed Laub, who also performed, used to take music lessons right after his time slot at Victor’s House of Music in Ridgewood, and that George Van Eps of Plainfield made the guitars they were using. The free, outdoor show — which took place at J. Owen Grundy Pier in Jersey City Thursday night, and was blessed with perfect late-summer weather — was conceived as a way to celebrate New Jersey’s 350th birthday, and also included a brief tribute to Oradell-born composer and arranger Nelson Riddle, whose daughter Rosemary was in attendance. Continue Reading →

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