JERSEY CITY, N.J., June 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Acclaimed vocalist and guitarist John Pizzarelli and his father, the legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, will appear with the New Jersey City University Alumni Jazz Big Band conducted by NJCU Professor Richard Lowenthal. Part of the University's celebration of New Jersey's 350th birthday, the concert will pay tribute to Jersey boys Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, all residents of the State at some point of their careers. The concert is part of NJCU President Sue Henderson's commitment to provide cultural activities for Jersey City and Hudson County. The free performance will take place at the J. Owen Grundy Pier, Exchange Place, Jersey City, on Thursday, September 18, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
The Alumni Band will feature musicians who studied at the University from the late 1960s to the present. Among the performers will be drummer Rich DeRosa (recipient of the 2014 NJCU Distinguished Alumni Award); sax players Mark Friedman and Bob Magnuson; and trumpeters John Pendenza, Vinnie Cutro and Freddie Hendrix.
"This concert serves as a tribute to the ongoing quality of NJCU students and faculty, as well as our trend-setting degree programs in jazz," stated President Henderson. "Thanks to talented professionals like Professor Dick Lowenthal our students can benefit from their teaching, mentoring and networking. Dick has performed across the globe for decades, sometimes with students or alumni. We're proud that Dick is beginning his 48th year as a faculty member in our Caroline L. Guarini Department of Music, Dance and Theatre."
John Pizzarelli grew up in Saddle River and started playing the guitar at the age of six, only natural, with his father being legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. After working with many vocal and jazz greats, John went out on his own, and in 1993, was selected to be the opening act for a Frank Sinatra international tour. His credits include: Foxwoods Casino TV commercial; 2002 recording with George Shearing; 2006 recording "Dear Mr. Sinatra"; 2008 Grammy award nominated album "With a Song in My Heart"; and his current album "Double Exposure." He also starred in the Broadway show "Dream," a 1997 revue of Johnny Mercer songs, and is co-host with his wife, Broadway star Jessica Molaskey, of a nationally syndicated radio show, "Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli."
Bucky Pizzarelli, after performing with the Vaughn Monroe dance band for several years, joined NBC staff in 1952, and in 1964 became a member of The Tonight Show Band starring Johnny Carson. He toured several times with Benny Goodman, performed many times at the White House, and in 2005 was inducted into the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame. He has also been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and the American Jazz Hall of Fame. Bucky, sons John and Martin (bassist), and daughter-in-law Jessica have recorded and appeared together in concert.
As for "The Other Jersey Boys," Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken on Monroe Street and in 1935 joined a local group "The Three Flashes" that became the "Hoboken Four." He worked as a singing waiter and emcee at the Rustic Cabin in Englewood Cliffs before becoming an international sensation. Count Basie was born in Red Bank and started his career by operating lights and providing improvised piano accompaniment for silent films at a local movie theater. Both Sinatra and Basie have been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Big band leader Glenn Miller lived in Tenafly in the Cotswold, a mansion converted into apartments on Inness Road, before becoming a major in the U.S. Army during World War II. He lost his life in a plane crash while on active duty. Trombonist and popular bandleader Tommy Dorsey lived for almost 10 years in a mansion on 20.5 acres off Route 202 in Bernardsville, where he became a local legend for his parties.
This is the second year the NJCU Alumni Jazz Big Band has been featured in the NJCU President's Jazz Concert. Last September, the Big Band performed with trumpet great Jon Faddis as part of the day-long celebration of the inauguration of Dr. Henderson as president of New Jersey City University.
NJCU offers an outstanding program in jazz studies featuring a faculty of world-class New York-based jazz artists. Both undergraduates and graduate students take part in a rigorous program designed to develop their improvisational, compositional and ensemble skills. The program also offers courses in the business side of the industry. NJCU alumni have an impressive list of credits including Broadway, television, the recording industry, and symphony orchestras. Alumni have worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Gerry Mulligan, Ray Charles, Peter Nero, Marian McPartland, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Mathis, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Horace Silver, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, and Tony Bennett.
The concert is free and open to the public. The J. Owen Grundy Pier is conveniently located near public transportation and there are parking lots in the area. For more information, call 201-200-3352 or visit the NJCU website at www.njcu.edu.
Contact: Don Jay Smith
SOURCE New Jersey City University