By ED SALVAS
Asbury Park will be swinging to a jazz beat on the first weekend of August with the inauguration of a new summer music event in the city. Asbury Park Loves Jazz will take place on the weekend of Aug. 7, 8 and 9 with the sounds of Jazz being heard throughout the city from downtown to the boardwalk.
Asbury Park Loves Jazz is not just a Jazz Festival according to Jackie Pappas, executive director of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, which organized the event. She said the idea is to provide great music plus a host of peripheral activities, namely food and fun. She said the weekend promises to bring back the glory days of an Asbury Park music scene that once featured the hippest jazz music played anywhere.
“Asbury Park has a rich history of jazz – drawing icons from Duke Ellington and Count Basie, a Red Bank native, who played at Mrs. Jay’s Beer Garden in the 1930’s – long before it became the Stone Pony,” she said. “Asbury Park’s west side clubs on Springwood Avenue were home to one of the most vibrant Jazz scenes from 1910 to 1970.”
The roster of live entertainment for the Asbury Park Loves Jazz Weekend is a great mix of today’s top jazz musicians as well as artists creating the next generation of jazz history in venues on Main Street, downtown and the Boardwalk. The weekend begins Friday evening at the Transportation Center with a kickoff celebration of Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz with Cuban fare and a rum tasting. The music continues Saturday with free live music all day at Press Plaza.
On Sunday it’s the Main Event on stage at the Paramount Theater featuring a line-up of contemporary Jazz artists Chieli Minucci and Special EFX with guest Marion Meadows as well as Jonathan Fritzen and Vincent Ingala – the Next Generation. Also, violin artist Brooke Alford and pianist and composer Alex Bugnon. Tickets for the Main Event are available at www.Ticketmaster.com.
Pappas said the weekend was scheduled so people can mix music with other Asbury Park attractions, including the beach and boardwalk, over 50 restaurants with cuisine from around the world and other exciting nightlife beyond jazz. Watch for updates, including dining guides and lodging offers. Find out more about Asbury Park Loves Jazz at www.JazzAsbury.com.