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A SPECIAL JANUARY COMING ATTRACTION: Robert Santa  Presents “Happy Birthday Elvis Tribute by Richie Santa” Strand Theater January 9th    bY Calvin Schwartz A SPECIAL JANUARY COMING ATTRACTION: Robert Santa Presents “Happy Birthday Elvis Tribute by Richie Santa” Strand Theater January 9th bY Calvin Schwartz(0)

A SPECIAL JANUARY COMING ATTRACTION: Robert Santa  Presents “Happy Birthday Elvis Tribute by Richie Santa” Strand Theater January 9th    bY Calvin Schwartz


I’m often in that emotional hyper-sensitized state of music, vintage, sentimentality with concomitant  passionate needs to explore and expand horizons. So if YOU seek a combination of all those worlds, firstly you find a perfect theater, resplendent in history and art-deco and it’s The Strand Center for the Arts. Then you combine that ambiance with music that became part of the matrix of a generation which wondrously endures; Elvis Presley of course.  There’s a method to the construction of this paragraph; it’s to highlight a perfect night. We’ve got the theater and now a most amazing performer; a quintessential Elvis transformation; an uncanny resemblance and a powerful Elvis voice; and here’s Richie Santa. So you’ll have it all that night.  And it’s Elvis’ Birthday. And as I often say, get thee off the sedentary sofa and come on down. And yes a 10 piece band AND Comic John Pizzi.

Calvin Schwartz   December 28, 2015






Here is the Facebook Event Page: Robert Santa  Presents “Happy Birthday Elvis Tribute by Richie Santa”


“Elvis Presley is the reason Brooklyn born Richie Santa became an entertainer and has made a career as a Tribute Artist. The resemblance is amazing, then add the power of Richie’s voice and the transformation is complete! Come join us celebrate the Birthday of the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ with Elvis Tribute Artist RICHIE SANTA and a LIVE 10 piece band! AND John Pizzi, one of the hottest rising comics in the entertainment industry, with his unique brand of comedy, will start the night off with some laughs“


Tickets are $55 VIP Meet & Greet with Premium Seating, $45, $35 and $25. (Plus $5 fee per ticket).


Purchase Online:      Phone: (732) 367-7789








A while back, I was invited to the Strand Theatre as a journalist. And so began my love affair to remember with this magnificent theatre, built in 1922, and a recent National Historical Landmark. Carry me back to the days when deco meant art with exquisite attention to a theatre’s detail. Sitting on stage, bathed in warm saffron chandelier light, I was in a museum, back to the splendor of 1920’s.  I spent that afternoon exploring the theatre; from sitting in a dressing room, bright light bulbs highlighting my exuberant face to all the trappings of the real backstage world. I love this theatre.




Suddenly the image of the movie Field of Dreams comes to mind (writing this) remembering I’m a stream of consciousness guy. So if the Strand builds (provides) great entertainment into their programming, then they (you) will come. And that’s exactly what’s been happening at the Strand. One of my other conscious thoughts is to exhort readers to get off the sedentary sofa and celebrate the Strand. Perhaps you live only once works here too; get out and enjoy yourself.

The Strand Center for the Arts Board of Directors cordially invites everyone to celebrate the life of theater at their 93th Anniversary Gala on Tuesday, September 29th with cocktails, fare and entertainment by the fantastic Kevin Gilmore and Scott Solomon.  Tickets are $100 in advance by mail or purchased online ($5 fee per ticket). For more info:   or

Calvin Schwartz     9-21-15



ANOTHER MUST TO ATTEND: Comedian Mike Marino, The Presidential Tour Concert with special guest Comedian Sunda Croonquist.  Saturday August 15th Paramount Theater Asbury Park USA   bY Calvin Schwartz ANOTHER MUST TO ATTEND: Comedian Mike Marino, The Presidential Tour Concert with special guest Comedian Sunda Croonquist. Saturday August 15th Paramount Theater Asbury Park USA bY Calvin Schwartz(0)

ANOTHER MUST TO ATTEND: Comedian Mike Marino, The Presidential Tour Concert with special guest Comedian Sunda Croonquist.  Saturday August 15th Paramount Theater Asbury Park USA   bY Calvin Schwartz    August 4th 2015   


If its summer, I usually write about the Jersey shore. It’s so easy these days as Jersey has become a pinnacle of American Pop Culture; Jersey Boys, Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Jersey Shore, Jersey Housewives, Garden State, Jersey Girl. American Pharaoh, Triple Crown winner came to Monmouth Park on Sunday; extraordinary. Perhaps there is nothing quite like our shore with all it has to offer especially during the summer. And Asbury Park has become an epicenter of music, food and dreams. I’ll go as far as to say it’s just about nirvana to be at the shore on a Saturday night.

This equation I am developing becomes even more pronounced when you add a national and global Jersey comedian in concert on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. Not just any comedian but Mike Marino, NJ’s Bad Boy of Comedy comes home to the shore. Then add another Jersey native/comedian, Sunda Croonquist. AND Hosted by Steve Trevelise!!  It’s just a perfect night. Grab some dinner at a plethora of restaurants in Asbury Park or up and down the shore. Before-hand, play the pinball machines at Silverball. If you’re worried about traffic, I’ll even tell you about a secret road to the shore. No excuses.

What I am saying and equating, this is one special ‘funny as hell’ night that should not be missed. Life is short. I’m 6’5”   Let me talk about Mike and Sunda now.



In 2012, I discovered the genius of comedian Mike Marino in Asbury Park.  Mike was performing at the first Asbury Park Comedy Festival.  Since I discovered Lenny Bruce in the 60’s, I’ve morphed into a comedic snob. I need sharp incisive cerebral worldly comedy to laugh. Mike delivers that. And concomitantly (along the way), I’ve become a huge fan of Mike Marino. Why not; I love to laugh for 90 minutes straight each and every time I see him; it’s this stressful world we live in. Mike has a handle, a release and grasp of our world.  The genius of Marino’s humor is to take our modern (expletive omitted) lives and shove it under a comedic microscope.  And when you see him in concert, you get a chance to see the ‘Marino’ face; how he loves to laugh with the audience at his own humor; that genuineness and warmth draws us in and embraces. Even more than that, being a comedic snob, countless times looking at Mike, I can’t help but see Jack Benny, who had one of the greatest comedic facial expressions as well as incredible timing. Benny was Johnny Carson’s all-time favorite; Mike Marino’s expressions and timing is right there with Jack Benny. And now it appears Mike Marino is running for President. I just have to hear about that. I wonder if he needs campaign workers.

Mike Marino website:   (a whole collection of videos to watch)

One of my favorites; Live at Borgatta trailer:











A few years ago, I had the opportunity (which became a thrill) to see Sunda Croonquist perform at the Second Annual Asbury Park Comedy Fest. Sunda dazzled with her sharp, quick wit (cerebral intelligent humor) and I got a chance to chat with her back stage. Sunda’s humor is rare, precious and beautiful as she is. What’s particularly meaningful for me as a comedic snob is Sunda’s ability to reach (in an extremely personal way) every single person in the audience. Shortly into her act, you’ll understand how she so effectively and personally reaches you (makes you identify) She’s this dynamo of personality and ethnicity (she’ll explain) as she constructs comedy from her so many varied viewpoints of life. And for me the best; she’s a Jersey girl albeit in LA now.

Sunda Croonquist website:





Tickets: check their websites, Stone Pony ,

AND CHECK OUT SUNDA’S NEW COOKBOOK:    “The Kosher Soul Food Cookbook”  Co-authored it with Nir Weinblut of La Gondola of Beverly Hills.











COMING ATTRACTIONS: “3 Sails Jazz Festival” at Ocean County College on June 12 & June 13.  bY Calvin Schwartz COMING ATTRACTIONS: “3 Sails Jazz Festival” at Ocean County College on June 12 & June 13. bY Calvin Schwartz(0)

“3 Sails Jazz Festival” at Ocean County College on June 12 & June 13.





TOMS RIVER, NJ – Bernie Williams, former-NY Yankee and jazz guitarist, will be featured with Latin jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera at the First Annual 3 Sails Jazz Festival held on the Ocean County College Main Campus, College Drive, Toms River, NJ.  The two-day music fest will be held on Friday, June 12, and Saturday, June 13 (Rain Date: Sun, Jun 14).  Fifteen featured artists will reflect different styles of jazz including classic, smooth, Latin, big band, funk, and contemporary.  Tickets are on sale now.


On Friday, June 12, Gates open at 1:00 p.m.  Note: Artist lineup subject to change.  Ellis & Delfeayo Marsalis (father and son duo known for traditional New Orleans Jazz), Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (legendary groove drummer) featuring Frankie Cicala (guitarist from Frankie & The Burn), United States Navy Band Commodores (premier jazz ensemble), DYAD (jazz duo honored as one of the top 50 jazz recording artists), and the OCC Jazz Band (students from Ocean County College).  


On Saturday, June 13, Gates open at 11:00 a.m.  Note: Artist lineup subject to change.  Paquito D’Rivera (Latin jazz legend) featuring Bernie Williams (former-NY Yankee and jazz guitarist)T.S. Monk (jazz and R&B drummer/chairman of Thelonius Monk Institute), Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers (San Francisco-based sultry jazz diva), Don Braden (swinging, soulful saxophonist) featuring Vanessa Rubin (vocalist), Tuffus Zimbabwe (keyboardist for “Saturday Night Live” House Band), and Blue Plate Special (bluesy tunes and tight vocal harmonies).


Two-Day Pass: $90 (adult) / $35* (student) / $20 (ages 13-17)

One-Day Pass: $60 (adult) / $18* (student) / $12 (ages 13-17)

(*must present valid student ID at Grunin Center Box Office at time of purchase)

Children 12 & under: Free with paying adult

VIP Package: $250 (two-day Adult Pass, access to VIP Tent, food & refreshments, meet & greets, signed CD & photo, t-shirt & poster, name printed in program)


Ticket prices include admission and concerts only.  Food, refreshments, and merchandise are a separate purchase.  For tickets, visit or call the Grunin Center Box Office at 732-255-0500.


This program is made possible in part by a grant administered by the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission from funds granted by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.



Friday, June 12, 2015



United State Navy Band Commodores: Jazz is America’s music and the U.S. Navy Band Commodores, the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, has been performing the very best of big band jazz for the Navy and the nation for over 40 years.  Formed in 1969, this 18-member group continues the jazz big band legacy with some of the finest musicians in the world.  The Commodores’ mission includes public concerts, national tours, ceremonial support in honoring our veterans, jazz education classes and clinics, and protocol performances for high-level military and civilian government officials.

The Navy’s Commodores are held in high regard nationwide by concert patrons and critics alike.  The list of guest artists that have appeared with theCommodores reads like a “Who’s Who” of jazz and popular music: Ray Charles, Branford Marsalis, Clark Terry, Grover Washington, Jr., Chris Potter, Jerry Bergonzi, Eddie Daniels, James Moody, and many more.  The Commodores have appeared on TV shows, played nearly all major jazz festivals, and toured across the United States and abroad.  In conjunction with the Airmen of Note (Air Force) and the Army Blues (Army), the Commodores host the annual Joint Service Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C.

A versatile ensemble for the 21st century, the Commodores write and arrange much of their vast library of music.  Their concerts are an eclectic mix of traditional big band, exciting jazz vocal arrangements, as well as fresh new instrumental music written specifically for the Commodores. This vibrant, dynamic musical group is constantly striving for musical excellence and the pursuit of new and exciting ways to communicate with their audience.


Friday, June 12, 2015

DYAD: Saxophonist Lou Caimano and pianist Eric Olsen are the extraordinary pairing that makes up DYAD.  Together they reveal a sophisticated love affair between reed and keyboard.  Their music is a blend of contradictions: edgy and tender, childlike and sophisticated, intelligent and romantic.  With grace, style, virtuosity, and originality, DYAD plays original compositions, Latin rhythms, and formidable jazz standards, at times re-imagining beautiful classical compositions as contemporary jazz arrangements.


Caimano is a saxophonist, composer, and educator.  He is the composer/arranger of numerous jazz fusion, new age, and commercial compositions, including CD releases Manhattan Twilight and the first Dyad collaboration.  Performance credits include the Broadway orchestras of A Chorus Line, CATS, Dancin’, Evita, 42nd Street, La Cage aux Folles, Mame, and Shrek the Musical, among others.  Caimano has performed with well-known acts such as The Four Tops, The Temptations, Mellow Kings, Urbie Green, Jimmy Holmes, Arnie Lawrence, John Mahegan, Rita Moreno, Marvin Stamm, Enzo Stuarti, Clark Terry, Jerry Vale, and Nancy Wilson.  He has also appeared in the movies Muppets Take Manhattan and The Juror.

Olsen has crafted a distinguished career in both classical and jazz music, as a pianist, organist, composer, and conductor.  He has performed at jazz festivals, Carnie Hall, Birdland, and the Knitting Factory, as well as overseas in France, Germany, India, New Zealand, Fiji, and Taiwan.  Olsen has worked, recorded, and collaborated with many jazz musicians including Pharoan Aklaff, Don Braden, Ratzo Harris, Billy Hart, Tim Horner, John Isley, B.D. Lenz, Bucky Pizzarelli, Dominic Spera, and Eliot Zigmund.  In addition, he has worked with top classical musicians and opera singers such as Betty Allen, Klara Barlow, Walter Cassel, Margaret Harshaw, Kevin Maynor, Girogio Tozzi, and Virginia Zeani.  His discography includes classical, jazz, and meditation.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Bernard “Pretty” Purdie & Friends featuring Frankie Cicala: Who provided the back-beat for Steely Dan’s “Aja”?  For whom have Isaac Hayes, Donny Hathaway, B.B. King, “Sweet” Lou Donaldson, Joe Cocker, and Hank Crawford reserved a stool behind the drum kit?  None other than Bernard Lee “Pretty” Purdie.  It seems that no other drummer has seen the interior of a recording studio as often as Purdie, who has laid down the beat on over 3,000 albums.


Born in 1939, Purdie is an American session drummer, considered an influential and innovative exponent of funk.  Purdie began banging out rhythms on improvised equipment at just six years old, and at 14, he purchased his first real drum set and became the most important provider for the family – earning his pay with country and carnival bands.  In 1960, Purdie moved to New York City and played with Lonnie Youngblood before landing his first hit with King Curtis.  This led to his engagement with Aretha Franklin in 1970 – beginning an unparalleled career.


Known as a groove drummer, Purdie created many well-known drum patterns including the “Purdie Shuffle.”  Variations on his shuffle can be heard on Led Zeppelin’s “Fool in the Rain” and Toto’s “Rosanna,” among others.  Purdie has been a regular guest in the studios of the stars of jazz, soul, and rock, working with James Brown, Paul Butterfield, Miles Davis, Tom Jones, Hall & Oates, Herbie Mann, Rolling Stones, Todd Rundgren, and Cat Stevens, among many others, as well as producing his own solo albums.


Purdie’s rhythms have appeared as samples on nearly every “Acid Jazz” record released in the past few years – the new genre that has so successfully hosted the renaissance of Soul Jazz.  Bernard Purdie has now gathered together a flock of like-minded souls and created the new album, Soul to Jazz.  These 13 songs prove that the pioneer of the hybrid blend of jazz, soul, and funky tunes is still light years ahead of his imitators.


Frankie Cicala: Frankie Cicala has been dazzling Jersey Shore audiences with his eclectic sensuous soulful guitar playing for over 30 years.  Cicala is the guitarist for legendary drummer Bernard Purdie, traveling all over the United States and abroad.  An in demand session player and guitar teacher, Cicala is always giving his talents back to the community in which he resides (Toms River, NJ).


In his former years, Cicala slowly developed his craft, fortunate that he had some of the best players in the world of jazz and guitars to help him further his skills.  Vinnie Corrao, Harry Leahey, Joe Cinderella, and the late Tal Farlow all took Cicala under their wings and instilled in him the passion and talents that are so evident in his playing.  Cicala stays in touch with his teachers, and on occasion can be found jamming with them.


While in his heart, Cicala is a jazzman, he is also quite adept at playing other styles of music.  His live club dates are filled with the sounds of funk, R&B, blues, and rock & roll; he plays them all with his own distinctive style and signature.  Cicala has performed at the New Jersey Jazz Festival and Count Basie Theatre, among many others venues.


Over the years, Cicala has performed and/or recorded with the likes of Cecil DuValle, members of the Teddy Pendergrass Band, Billie Daniels, Patti LaBelle, Bernard Purdie, Charles Earland, Leslie Gore, Lloyd Price, Tico Torres, LaMar Mitchell, Bernie Worrell, and Stanley Roots … not to mention Scott Chinery, Steve Howe, Tar Farlow, Johnny Winter, and Scotty Moore.


Cicala has been a frequent session guitarist for Grammy Award-winning producer Tony Camillo, shared guitar duties with Paul Jackson, Jr. on the CD Ashley Garrington, and was music director for Capital Records recording artist, Pru.


In 1992, Cicala formed the band Frankie & The Burn, playing to enthusiastic crowds in bars and clubs throughout the Jersey Shore and surrounding areas for the past 23 years.  The band’s first CD, Frankie & The Burn, was release in 1993, with Frankie & The Burn II released in 1995, and Frankie & The Burn Christmas in 1996, with Cicala taking producing, recording, and performing on all three CDs.


The long awaited jazz CD, Frankie Plays!, was released in 2007.  With six original songs along with renditions of “Wishing On A Star” and “Classical Gas,” Cicala performed with notable musicians such as Bernard Purdie, Steve Jankowski, Tommy LaBella, LaMar Mitchell, and Chico Huff.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Ellis & Delfeayo Marsalis: One of the top trombonists, composers, and producers in jazz today, Delfeayo Marsalis is known for his “technical excellence, inventive mind, and frequent touches of humor” (Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times).  He is “one of the best, most imaginative, and musical of the trombonists of his generation” (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner).


From the age of 17, Delfeayo has produced over 100 recordings for major artists including Harry Connick, Jr., Marcus Roberts, Spike Lee, Terence Blanchard, Marcus Roberts, Adam Makowicz, Nicholas Payton, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and the projects of Ellis, Branford, and Wynton Marsalis.


As an exceptional trombonist, Delfeayo toured internationally with renowned bandleaders Art Blakey, Abdullah Ibrahim, Slide Hampton, Max Roach, and Elvin Jones.  During a tour with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he was filmed as part of the Ken Burns documentary, Jazz, and was an integral part of the DVD, featured on PBS, Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration, that assembled all the musical Marsalis family for the first time.  In January 2011, the Marsalis family (Delfeayo, father Ellis, and brothers Branford, Wynton, and Jason) earned the nation’s highest jazz honor – a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.


As a bandleader, Delfeayo has earned wide acclaim for his albums: Pontius Pilate’s Decision, Musashi, Minions Dominion, and Sweet Thunder.  His latest album,Last Southern Gentleman, is a landmark recording for pairing the trombonist with father Ellis Marsalis, Jr., on a collaborative album for the first time.


Ellis Marsalis, Jr. is an American jazz pianist.  Active since the late 1940s, Ellis came to greater attention in the 1980s and 1990s as the patriarch of a musical family, featuring sons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason.


From his first professional performance with “The Groovy Boys” over 50 years ago, Ellis has been a major influence in jazz.  He played with fellow modernists including Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, and Al Hirt, becoming one of the most respected jazz pianists.  Although he recorded more than a dozen of his own albums, and was featured on albums by many jazz greats, Ellis shunned the spotlight to focus on teaching.


As a leading educator at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans, and Xavier University of Louisiana, Ellis has influenced the careers of countless musicians, including Harry Connick Jr., Nicholas Payton, and his sons.  In 2007, Ellis received an honorary doctorate from Tulane University for his contributions to jazz and musical education.  In 2008, he was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.  The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music at Musicians’ Village in New Orleans is named in honor of the patriarch.


Friday, June 12, 2015

OCC Jazz Band: Students from Ocean County College




Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blue Plate Special: This New Jersey based band serves up a blend of American roots playing a variety of bluegrass, swing, original, and traditional tunes.  Featuring strong three-part vocal harmonies, Blue Plate Special mixes the acoustic sounds of accordion, banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and upright bass.  Crowds of all ages enjoy their bluesy tunes and tight vocal harmonies.


Blue Plate Special has toured internationally and shared the stage with Les Paul, Tom Chapin, C.J. Chenier, and Little Feat, to name just a few.  When not traveling and playing around the tri-state area, the group can be found jamming on a front porch, getting reading for the next show.


The band’s latest CD, Nowhere Fast, features 12 new original songs showcasing Blue Plate Special’s wide range of influences including bluegrass, swing, country, Cajun, polka, and gospel.  Two of the cuts have been featured in nationally-aired documentaries.


Blue Plate Special features five creative musicians.  Dave Gross, mandolin/vocals, has a unique mandolin style influenced by a wide range of players from western swing great Tiny Moore to Dawg music innovator David Grisman.  Jay Friedman, fiddle/guitar, has a vocal style that helps define the bands strong sound.  Friedman’s clever songwriting tells stories with a twist, drawing from all styles of music.  James Hemp, guitar/vocals, is a flatpick guitarist.  This Oklahoma native produces generous yields of that freshly-picked bluegrass sound.  Tom Wise, bass/harmonica, has twangy laid back vocals that reveal his mid-western heritage.  His strong songwriting incorporates some wide-ranging musical influences.  Dan Whitener, banjo/guitar/vocals, is part of the group Gangstagrass, which combines authentic bluegrass and rap.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tuffus Zimbabwe & Friends: A versatile composer, pianist, and educator Tuffus Zimbabwe plays keyboards in NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) House Band.  On SNL, he has played keyboards behind names such as Bruno Mars, Christina Applegate, Justin Timberlake, and Mick Jagger.  In addition, he has composed and arranged music for the SNL band.


Classically trained, his parents made it a point to provide Zimbabwe with substantial musical exposure.  He began by studying classical piano at the early age of five.  At 12, he explored gospel music.  In his early teens, he began his formal training in jazz.


Zimbabwe’s composition skills landed him a spot on Liz Walker’s CBS-TV morning show where he performed his original “African Breeze” with the Tuffus Zimbabwe Group.  One of his original compositions was already being used weekly as the theme for this show.  Elsewhere, he has performed in several festivals and venues across the United States and works with a number of groups such as Ron Reid’s Sunsteel band and Jovol Bell’s Reality.


Currently, Zimbabwe teaches through the Piano Outreach of New York (PONY) and has maintained an active role as a music educator, teaching jazz at New York University, as well as in numerous youth programs.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Don Braden featuring Vanessa Rubin: A jazz musician of the highest caliber, Don Braden has toured the world, for over 30 years, leading his own ensembles on saxophone and flute, as a special guest, and as a sideman with jazz greats such as Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, among others.


Braden has composed music for ensembles ranging from duo to full symphonic orchestra, in many styles, for recordings (including 19 CDs as a leader and over 80 as a sideman), film, and television networks Nickelodeon and CBS.  He is a leading arranger of contemporary standards, and has built a solid collection of newer American songs into his jazz repertoire.


He is also a world renowned educator, having spent nearly two decades giving master classes at countless schools and universities, and running first class educational programs such as NJPAC’s Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens, the Litchfield Jazz Camp, and most recently, the Harvard University Monday Jazz Band.


An imaginative, technically excellent, soulful saxophonist, Braden’s harmonic and rhythmic sophistication give him a unique approach to improvising as well as composing and arranging.  Most important of all, Braden has a beautiful sound, and he swings!  All this combines with his joyous yet disciplined personality to make him one of the most important musicians working today.


Vanessa Rubin: Endowed with the kind of liquid phrasing and sheer wisdom that comes from depth of experience on the jazz performance campaign trail, Vanessa Rubin is an ever-evolving classic singer in the making.  The development of a true jazz singer is a long-range prospect, laden with learning experiences that forge the voice into a true instrument, rich with passion, deeply invested in living through life’s joys and perils; such is the journey of Rubin, jazz singer extraordinaire.  Capable of employing the gamut of emotions, Rubin can range from whisper to shout in the blink of an eye; from honey-laden ballads purring like a kitten, to up tempo swinging and scatting like a fluent saxophone, she delivers the goods.


One of the surest tests of a jazz singer is her acceptance by skilled players; the relationship between instrumentalist and vocalist is so often fraught with distrust.  Rubin has never experienced such travails.  From the time she joined the New York jazz community in the early 1980s, under the guidance of such grandmasters as Barry Harris and Frank Foster, Rubin’s acceptance has been universal.  Instrumentalists have always been impressed by her way around a song, her willingness to flow with their muse, and her innate ability to swing that music.


The list of great musicians who have graced her recordings and bandstands is quite impressive: Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Woody Herman Orchestra, Jazz Crusaders, Etta Jones, Don Braden, Monty Alexander, Cecil Bridgewater, Kenny Burrell, Frank Foster, Billy Higgins, Lewis Nash, Houston Person, Patience Higgins, Toots Thielemans, Steve Turre, Cedar Walton, Grover Washington, Jr., and James Williams, among others.


The range of material within Rubin’s broad comfort zone is impressive.  It takes conviction and expertise to address the work of composers ranging from Ellington, Gershwin, and Weil to Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, Wayne Shorter, and Sting.  But all’s well when Rubin immerses her pearly tones in such a capacious range of material, not to mention her own considerable pallet of originals.


Clearly Vanessa Rubin’s musical skills do not end on the bandstand.  She’s not only vocalist, lyricist, and composer, she’s producer, arranger, educator (cited for “Outstanding Service to Jazz Education” by the International Association of Jazz Educators), music business consultant/facilitator, and music student adjudicator engaged by such auspicious institutions as the Thelonious Monk Institute, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center.  Labeled one of the “Diva Nouvelles” by Essence Magazine, Rubin continues on a sure and true sojourn towards mastering her craft.


As a 2011 Kevin Klein Award Nominee for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical,” Vanessa continues to demonstrate her chameleon like ability extending her gift of storytelling in the one woman theatrical portrayal of the great Billie Holiday in Yesterdays, An Evening with Billie Holiday, while also interpreting many of Holiday’s most remembered songs.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

T.S. Monk: Drummer, bandleader, composer, and vocalist, T.S. Monk was drawn to the drums before the age of ten.  His destiny was sealed when Max Roach, with whom he studied, gave him his first drum set.  After earning a reputation in school as a rabble-rouser, the young Monk joined his father’s trio and toured with his dad until the elder Monk’s retirement in 1975.


Monk eventually launched into the music that had captivated him and his generation – R&B.  He first toured with a group called Natural Essence, and later, along with his sister, Barbara, formed his own band.  He then proceeded to have hits on two recordings, House of Music and More of the Good Life.

In 1992, Monk formed his jazz sextet and received rave reviews, “this band soars and sizzles!”  One of the most unique groups on the circuit, the T.S. Monk Sextet’s cohesive and driving style has been heard at the JVC Jazz at the Bowl Festival, Sun Valley Center, Lied Center for the Performing Arts, and many legendary jazz clubs.


Monk received the New York Jazz Awards First Annual “Recording of the Year” and Downbeat’s prestigious 63rd Album of the Year Reader’s Choice Award for Monk on Monk.  An 80th Anniversary Birthday Tribute to Thelonious Sphere Monk, Monk on Monk featured 20 guest artists including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Arturo Sandoval, Dianne Reeves, Nnenna Freelon, and Howard Johnson, among others.  Critics and the public lauded Monk as his father’s true musical heir, as bandleader and performer.  Rave reviews in the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and LA Times, echoed the public sentiment of the sold out concert hall shows across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.


With Crosstalk, Monk’s most recent release, he seamlessly bridges musical worlds, adding vocals for the first time in more than 15 years.  His upcoming release,Higher Ground, expands on his venture into the “smooth” realm of jazz.  Although there are very straight up jazz tunes throughout the CD, including a scat song “Mosaic,” Monk also goes straight into a smooth mode with “Ladera Heights.”  If funky is what you want, he’s got some “Funky Jazz” going on too!


T.S. Monk continues to display his leadership and artistry through his recordings and live performances worldwide on television and in concert.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers: Sultry chanteuse Lavay Smith evokes a sensuous era of glamorous jazz divas and sexy pinups adding a modern, feminist twist as she combines world-class singing and musicianship with contemporary and provocative lyrics.  Vocalist and bandleader of the Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Smith’s singing style has been influenced by Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Bessie Smith, and Little Esther Phillips.  Her enticing stage style is a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page.  Whether singing her own compositions or drawing on a large repertoire of classics, Smith and her all-star 8-piece band bake up an instant recipe for good times.


The Red Hot Skillet Lickers features some of the finest musicians anywhere, consisting of four horns, piano, bass, and drums.  These all-stars have performed and recorded with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Tito Puente, Lionel Hampton, Jay McShann, Johnny Otis, Wynton Marsalis, Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, Taj Mahal, and Little Esther Phillips, to name a few.  The band first performed in 1989 and immediately began attracting crowds thanks to Smith’s big bluesy voice, exciting stage personality, and glamorous approach.


Smith owns record label, Fat Note Records, and produces her own CDs with musical director Chris Siebert.  Her debut CD, One Hour Mama, was an independent smash hit, outselling most major label jazz and blues releases, a true testament to her musical and business savvy.  Her second CD, Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Miss Thing, repeated this success, staying on the Billboard Jazz charts for 20 consecutive weeks, and rising to #10.


Important publications have sung the praises of Smith and her band, including Jazz Times, Blues Revue, Jazziz, The New York Press, Living Blues, and theAlternative Press.  Television and radio appearances include “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” Fox TV’s “Fox Files,” and NPR’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge.”


Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers maintain a busy schedule of over 250 performances per year, including extensive touring throughout the United States and Canada.  They have performed at many prestigious venues including Lincoln Center, The Montreal Jazz Festival, The Chicago Jazz Festival, The Ottawa Jazz Festival, The Monterey Jazz Festival, The Kansas City Jazz & Blues Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival, The Toronto Jazz Festival, and The Playboy Jazz Festival.


Saturday, June 13, 2015


Paquito D’Rivera featuring Bernie Williams: He defies categorization!  The winner of 14 Grammy Awards, Paquito D’Rivera is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer.  His highly-acclaimed groups, the Chamber Jazz Ensemble, the Paquito D’Rivera Big Band, and the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet, are in great demand worldwide.  His work often reveals widespread and eclectic musical interests, ranging from Afro-Cuban rhythms to jazz and back to his classical origins.


Born in Havana, Cuba, D’Rivera performed at age 10 with the National Theater Orchestra, and, at 17, became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony playing alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, and clarinet.  D’Rivera was a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere, which featured an explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical, and traditional Cuban music.  Irakere won D’Rivera his first Grammy Award in 1979 for Best Latin Recording.  He received his 14 Grammy Award in 2014, for Best Latin Jazz Album, Song for Maura.  He was a founding member of the United Nations Orchestra, a 15-piece ensemble organized by Dizzy Gillespie to showcase the fusion of Latin and Caribbean influences with jazz.  D’Rivera continues to appear as guest conductor.  D’Rivera received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Carnegie Hall for his contributions to Latin music.


While D’Rivera’s discography includes more than 30 solo albums, reflecting a dedication and enthusiasm for jazz, bebop, and Latin music, his contributions to classical music are also impressive.  His classical solo performances include the London Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, and Brooklyn Philharmonic, among others.  In his passion to bring Latin repertoire to greater prominence, D’Rivera has successfully created and promoted all types of classical compositions, including his three chamber compositions recorded live in concert with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.


In addition to his extraordinary performing career, D’Rivera has gained a reputation as an accomplished composer.  He received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, and was appointed as Composer-In-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.  His numerous commissions include compositions for Jazz at Lincoln Center, Library of Congress, and Syracuse University, among others.


D’Rivera is the recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Award, National Medal of the Arts, the Kennedy Center’s Living Jazz Legend Award, Jazz Journalist Association’s Clarinetist of the Year Award, African-American Classical Music Award from Spelman College, and was named a Nelson A. Rockefeller Honoree.


The National Endowment for the Arts website affirms that D’Rivera “has become the consummate multinational ambassador, creating and promoting a cross-culture of music that moves effortlessly among jazz, Latin, and Mozart.”



Bernie Williams: A four-time World Series Champion and a five-time All Star, Bernie Williams made his major league debut with the NY Yankees in May 1991 and played Centerfield for 16 years.  Throughout his baseball career, Williams’ passion for music never waned and the sound of his guitar would often be heard emanating from the clubhouse or during team flights.  It was no surprise when Williams’ demonstrated how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his first album, Journey Within (2003).  The album featured fusions of jazz, rock, and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ Latin heritage and was met with strong critical praise and instant chart success, reaching #3 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart.


Williams raised his musical game even further with the release of his second album, Moving Forward (2009).  Featuring guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secuda, and Dave Koz, Moving Forward debuted as Billboard’s #2 Contemporary Jazz album and held that chart position for five straight weeks, issuing two consecutive Billboard #1 singles, “Go for It” and “Ritmo de Otono.”  The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Album” in 2009.


In addition to concert performances, Williams has authored his first book, Rhythms of the Game: The Link between Music and Athletic Performance (Hal Leonard Books, July 2011).  The book examines the symbiotic relationship between musical artistry and athletic performance through the eyes of a man who has mastered both.



For tickets, visit or call the Grunin Center Box Office at 732-255-0500.








The New Jersey Hall of Fame announces the 7th Annual Induction Ceremony and Red Carpet will be held at the Asbury Park Convention Hall on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 7:00 PM.  The event will honor 12 of New Jersey’s most distinguished citizens as new inductees into the New Jersey Hall of Fame family, including: Brian Williams, Governor James Florio, Alice Waters, and The Shirelles.


As of 3:30PM November 6th:  Press Release:

The New Jersey Hall of Fame is proud to announce that Dionne Warwick, the legendary five-time GRAMMY Award winning songstress, will be in attendance as a presenter and performer at this year’s 7th Annual “Red Carpet” Induction Ceremony.






A New Jersey native, Warwick was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2013, and will make her return to the stage this year to honor the new class of inductees. The famous “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” singer perfectly complements the musical lineups planned for this unique award ceremony. “We’re thrilled that Dionne Warwick will be performing at this year’s event. It’s going to be a very memorable tribute in honor of the new class of 2014,” said Gail Gordon, Vice Chair of the Hall of Fame Commission and the event’s co chair. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams will also be in attendance as a new inductee at this year’s ceremony. John Graham, Gordon’s co-chair added, “We’re more than pleased to welcome Brian Williams into the New Jersey Hall of Fame family, and we’re very excited that he will be able to share in this special night with us.”




There will be a special tribute to new inductee James Gandolfini from David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, and several cast members from the celebrated show, including Vincent Curatola, who will also serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.  Additionally, #1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben, a New Jerseyan himself, will have the honor of inducting legendary writer Dorothy Parker.

“This year’s NJHOF Induction Ceremony will be the best one yet, featuring live musical performances, moving tributes, and plenty of special surprises,” stated Bart Oates, Chair of the Board of Commissioners and former New York Giant.

“We wanted an upbeat awards show with an emphasis on music, which is why we brought the show to Asbury Park this year,” said Gail Gordon, Vice Chair of the Hall of Fame Commission and the event’s co- chair.  John Graham, Gordon’s co-chair added, “We expect a great turnout of over 1,000 people, including special guests, sponsors, and members of the media.  The event is anticipated to raise over $200,000 for the educational mission of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.”


Established in 2006 by the NJ Legislature, the New Jersey Hall of Fame honors New Jerseyans who have made invaluable contributions to society and the world, helping to inspire state pride in the young people of New Jersey through powerful local role models.   The organization selects inductees based on five categories: Arts & Letters, Enterprise, Performance Arts, Public Service and Sports.

Since 2008, some 70 notable New Jerseyans from 15 fields of human endeavor have been inducted including: Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Woodrow Wilson, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Meryl Streep, Tony Bennett, Martha Stewart, Whitney Houston, and Yogi Berra.


The ceremony will keep with the “taste of the shore” theme, offering food stations reflecting the best of Jersey Shore food and beverages to be sampled by sponsors and guests.  There will also be an opportunity for attendees to meet this year’s inductees and celebrity guests.

Induction Ceremony tickets and premium sponsorship packages are available through Performance Only tickets are $50 plus fees and are on sale via Ticketmaster or the Stone Pony box office in Asbury Park.


This year’s inductees are: Dorothy Parker, Brian Williams, Howard Katz, Alice Waters,
Dizzy Gillespie, James Gandolfini, The Shirelles, Governor James Florio, Peter McGuire,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Patrick Ewing and Maud Dahme.

For more information on the 2014 Red Carpet Induction Ceremony, please contact Karen Geisel at or 518.421.3435.



About the New Jersey Hall of Fame

New Jersey Hall of Fame (NJHOF) honors citizens who have made invaluable contributions to society and the world beyond. Since 2008, some 80 notable people from 15 fields of human endeavor have been inducted including: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Toni Morrison, Buzz Aldrin, Frankie Valli, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Tony Bennett, Queen Latifah, Carl Lewis and Yogi Berra.

The Hall of Fame reinforces the message to children that they can and should strive for excellence in any endeavor of their choosing. By presenting significant and powerful role models and teaching young people about the voting process, the Hall of Fame is a source of learning, inspiration and hope for children. The New Jersey Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization with two collaborating boards working jointly: the New Jersey Hall of Fame Board of Commissioners, administered by the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame Foundation Board of Trustees. For more information on the NJHOF and a full list of the inductees, go to












A VERY SPECIAL NIGHT: ‘ALEX and The Pavement’ to appear at Wonder Bar Thursday November 13th A VERY SPECIAL NIGHT: ‘ALEX and The Pavement’ to appear at Wonder Bar Thursday November 13th(0)

A VERY SPECIAL NIGHT: ‘ALEX and The Pavement” to appear at Wonder Bar Thursday November 13th By Calvin Schwartz




NJ Discover has been featuring special nights and special talent for the last few years. It becomes even more meaningful and relevant for us when we can feature a young exciting band that is enveloped in destiny and future success. If we were betting folks, remindful of an early scene in ‘Casablanca,’ a favorite movie obviously, we’d be letting it  ride on Alex and The Pavement in the next spin of the wheel. What does this mean? Get thee off the sedentary sofa next Thursday and come on down to the Wonder Bar for poignant, innervating music and a great bunch of kids.

Calvin Schwartz


Thu 11/13: ALEX & The Pavement   in Asbury Park.  They roll in to the Wonder Bar on Thurs., Nov. 13.  Music at 8 pm and admission is $5.



NOTES from ALEX and The Pavement

ALEX & The Pavement is a new cover band that came on the scene in the summer of 2014. Comprised of talented local musicians, ranging in age from 18 to 24, who share a passion for bringing great music to a variety of venues including but not limited to, restaurants, festivals, and bars. Mainly a Jazz/Pop cover band, they also perform a few rock and R&B covers as well as songs in different languages. With their love for music and a clean professional sound, they have quickly climbed the ranks in the local band circuit. Come along for the ride!



Asbury Park N.J.- The Art Ninjas ! (Artist Nation TV)  By: Noelle Ciumei Asbury Park N.J.- The Art Ninjas ! (Artist Nation TV) By: Noelle Ciumei(0)

(Artist Nation TV)

Asbury park, NJ- the Stone Pony

Last night at the Matisyahu concert, I saw in the corner of my eye, a young man painting while Matisyahu was performing. I immediately introduced myself and was greeted by Tim- the co-owner of Haven Art Studio. He had a tiny stand by the side of the stage selling his paintings which turned out to be incredible. It was obvious that this type of work took a lot of time and patience and I just had to find out more about him.
It turns out he works along side his brother Jon, their strategy is to work (literally) side by side on the SAME canvas in order to feed off of each other’s ideas. It was amazing!

The best part of the night was seeing them paint together during the concert; feeling the music while making their choices in color then taking their brushes and going with the flow of the sound. I’ve never seen anything like it, I instantly fell in love.

After only speaking to them for an hour I was hooked on their work and their story. I wanted to buy this painting they made, that happened to glow in the dark, but I told Tim that if I didn’t spend all my money on alcohol I’ll come back and buy something. Unfortunately after several beers and needing the rest of my cash for the cab home I didn’t buy the painting. But I know for certain that this won’t be the last time I see this dynamic duo in action.

If you’re interested in seeing their work- check out their Facebook page

Haven Art Studio is based in California
By: Noelle Ciumei

Drummers…What’s Your MO? By Tara-Jean Vitale Drummers…What’s Your MO? By Tara-Jean Vitale(3)

Drummers…What’s Your MO?

Modus operandi (plural modi operandi) is a Latin phrase, which can be translated as “method of operation”. The term is used to describe someone’s habits. We Americans like to shorten it to “MO”, and Thino Cacciolo, owner and founder of MO DRUMSTICKS LLC.,  has chosen to build his own unique business around it. When first meeting Thino it is apparent his passion for music was the foundation for the creation of the Mo Drumstick. Thino believes “each and every drummer should be given the ability to create the perfect drumstick based on their own unique style of play, grip, age, physical abilities and experience”…a drummer’s MO. According to Thino, the music industry has taken tremendous strides in the development of better instruments both electronically and structurally, but stick design still had a ways to go. That is until MO DRUMSTICKS TM. was introduced just about 6 months ago.

Drummers across the country have re-discovered their ‘DRUMMIN’ MOJO” and are not shy about letting everyone know how special these sticks are. Here are just a few…





Tom Motts has appeared in Modern Drummer, Metal Edge and Billboard magazines. Tom and Serial Obsession has performed on many legendary stages like CBGB, ,B.B.Kings, Lamours,Terminal 5 and Kenny’s Castawys to name a few.

Tom writes… “I was fortunate enough to be among the first drummers to road test this innovative stick, which I found added much control to my playing.

By adding a numbered weight system that allows you to customize the balance of the stick which changes the “sweet spot, fulcrum) it allowed me great comfort especially for my old fashioned stick twirls, thus creating the “MOTTS ROCKS #147”. Drummers, we no longer have to settle… Thino and MO DRUMSTICKS just made it personal!!! Having my Signature Stick makes me feel like a King and I’m loving mine!

Staff Sergeant Robert Hooks of The United States Army is stationed in Afghanistan. Every soldier carries a dream with him from back home to the forefront; Sgt Hooks dream was to play the drums. He found MO Drumsticks on Facebook. He sent a message through the internet asking about ordering custom drumsticks for when he comes back home.  Thino thought “why wait?’ He made Sgt Hook’s personal and unique drumsticks as quickly as possible and shipped them out to where the soldier was stationed in Afghanistan. MO Drumsticks can be found all over the United States, from California to Texas to NJ to Ohio. But the package he shipped to Afghanistan for one of America’s soldiers was one of Thino’s favorite.


Thino with John Castellano and Good & Plenty posing in front of Brown’s in Bay Ridge in the late 70’s. Good & Plenty played many local hot spots in NJ: Robins Reef Yacht Club and Venice Restaurant in Bayonne.  Left to right… Thino Cacciolo, John Castellano, Doreen Rose, Ray Naccari, Phil Castellan0

MO’s Patent Pending one of a kind, Grooved/Weighted Drumsticks combine machined ergonomic groove(s) filed into the stick at the fulcrum, (the sweet spot of the stick) with a weight distribution system that allows a drummer to customize the mass weight of each stick to match their play. Not just add weight to the stick, but distribute that weight across the stick! Thino believes that this custom design will give drummers of all levels of play the opportunity to reach their full potential just by using their own personally designed custom MO DRUMSTICK.










Facebook Page:

Writer TaraJean Vitale
With Thino at American Hotel, Freehold NJ

SPECIAL MUSICAL COMING ATTRACTION: Vini Lopez, Acoustic Lounge,  Freehold, Thurs. May 29th 7 PM   By Calvin Schwartz SPECIAL MUSICAL COMING ATTRACTION: Vini Lopez, Acoustic Lounge, Freehold, Thurs. May 29th 7 PM By Calvin Schwartz(0)

 SPECIAL MUSICAL COMING ATTRACTION: Vini Lopez, Acoustic Lounge,  Freehold, Thurs. May 29th 7 PM   By Calvin Schwartz   





The Acoustic Lounge has become a musical magnet in downtown Freehold with all its history and obvious links to rock and roll and now they are bringing, most appropriately, Vini Lopez, recent inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, original drummer in E-Street Band to host a very special night. For me, the consummate music groupie, when  Vini Lopez shows up with his band ‘License to Chill’ it usually foretells amazing music, friends, that certain special central Jersey palpable electricity conducting musical guests,  surprises and a priceless night.






Tara-Jean Vitale (NJ Discover producer) and me and Vini Lopez. more hanging out




Admission is simply bringing a can or box of food for St.Peter’s  Food Bank. And with the pulse of what’s happening and purist energy and creativity, the night is aptly co- sponsored by ‘Big Rooney Productions” and Freehold Recreation.  Not to be missed!!    Calvin Schwartz








“Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Party!!! Vini (from Bruce & the E Street Band) w/his band “Licence to Chill” and many, many special guests will be on hand to celebrate his award and his willingness to give back to the community. Admission is a can or box of food for our St. Peters (Freehold) Food Bank. Event co- sponsored in part by BigRooney Rooney & our Freehold Recreation (Olde Freehold Day staff) volunteers.”





A MAJOR COMING ATTRACTION: ‘New Jersey-The State of Invention’ Symposium at Rutgers University June 28th (free) featuring appearance by inventor (radio) Guglielmo Marconi’s daughter Elletra Marconi  by Calvin Schwartz A MAJOR COMING ATTRACTION: ‘New Jersey-The State of Invention’ Symposium at Rutgers University June 28th (free) featuring appearance by inventor (radio) Guglielmo Marconi’s daughter Elletra Marconi by Calvin Schwartz(0)

 A MAJOR COMING ATTRACTION: ‘New Jersey-The State of Invention’ Symposium at Rutgers University June 28th (free) featuring appearance by inventor (radio) Guglielmo Marconi’s daughter Elletra Marconi  by Calvin Schwartz




Those of you who have been following my writings about musings, journeys and adventures over the past two years for NJ Discover, should know I take great pride in discovering New Jersey and for the most part never sit still. My thinking is there’s ample time down the yellow brick road to sit in front of a television on a sofa with plastic slip covers or on a front porch with a glass of prune juice on the rocks. Point being; there is so much life to be lived. I do report here at NJ Discover’s website often on events which I believe makes life (here in Jersey) fascinating and unique. When I do report on an upcoming event, it’s tantamount to hugely endorsing and urging readers to attend; something of value and extraordinarily worthwhile so get off the sedentary sofa.  HERE IS THE LINK FOR MORE INFO AND TO REGISTER (FREE) FOR THE SYMPOSIUM:






A few weeks ago I found out about this most amazing event being held at Rutgers University called ‘New Jersey-The State of Invention’ to be held on the afternoon of June 28th (Saturday). Those of you that know me also recognize I’m a consummate groupie; introduce a ‘celebrity’ to an event and I’m in line at 4 AM for tickets. So when I heard that world famous inventor Guglielmo Marconi’s daughter Elletra Marconi was coming to America and New Jersey and Rutgers to participate in this symposium in June, I was thrilled beyond words. So here are my words urging folks to attend this free event. By the way Guglielmo Marconi won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 and is known for his work on long distance radio transmission (the radio pioneer) And his daughter Elletra will be part of this wondrous symposium.





Paul Israel, one of the symposium organizers and speakers emailed me some comments on the historical talks that are part of the symposium. “These include a talk by myself on the evolution of invention and innovation from the machine shops of Speedwell Village, that spawned the Morse telegraph, to the industrial laboratories innovated by Thomas Edison.  The other two talks are by staff of the IEEE History Center, which joined us in developing the proposal.  Alex Magoun, former director of the Sarnoff Library (the successor to RCA Labs) will talk about research and innovation at RCA Labs and Sheldon Hochheiser, formerly corporate historian of AT&T will discuss the rich history of innovation at Bell Labs.

The goal of the symposium is to explore New Jersey’s rich history of creating and commercializing telecommunication and electrical technologies as part of a larger effort to develop the industrial history of New Jersey and to make this largely neglected but vital aspect of the state’s history more widely available.”

Please register early. I did. And to think we all get a chance to get back on campus and hangout in a college library and spend a perfect afternoon. Once again, HERE IS THE LINK FOR MORE INFO AND TO REGISTER (FREE) FOR THE SYMPOSIUM:

Calvin Schwartz, May 9th 2014   11:11 am



Now here is some quick information on the symposium and an agenda. 




Saturday, June 28, 2014
Scholarly Communication Center, 4th Floor, Alexander Library
Exhibit and Reception: 4:30-6:00




Moderator: T. Corey Brennan, Associate Professor of Classics, Rutgers University

1:00-1:15 The Library role in documenting and fostering Invention
Marianne Gaunt, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Rutgers University Libraries
1:15-1:25 Marconi Park and Introduction for Ellectra Marconi
Brian D. Levine, Mayor, Franklin Park
1:25-1:45 “My father, Guglielmo Marconi, his legacy, and his floating laboratory-the yacht Elettra”
Princess Elettra Marconi Giovannelli
1:45-2:00 Break
2:00-2:30 From Machine Shops to Industrial Laboratories: New Jersey and the Reinvention of Invention
Paul Israel, Director of Edison Papers Project
2:30-3:00 More than a Room of One’s Own: Inventive Spaces at RCA’s Labs: 1930-1987
Alex Magoun, Outreach Historian, IEEE History Center
3:00- 3:30 The View from Murray Hill: Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey, 1941-1983
Sheldon Hochheiser Archivist and Institutional Historian, IEEE
3:30-3:40 Introduction: Rutgers invents the Future, the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium
Francesca Giannetti, Digital Humanities Librarian, Rutgers-New Brunswick Libraries
3:40-4:10 Project NEMO: Nautical Explorer for Marine Operations
Ian Abraham, Gabriel Blanco, Kostyantyn Budzan, Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium Participants
4:10-4:30 New Jersey Inventions on the Digital Highway
Mary Chute, New Jersey State Librarian and Linda Langschied, New Jersey Digital Highway Manager
4:30-6:00 Reception, featuring foods invented in New Jersey and exhibits, artifacts from the Edison Papers, the NEMO project,

Progetto Marconi (Boston, MA), the InfoAge Science History Center (Belmar, NJ) and The New Jersey

Digital Highway digital collection, New Jersey: State of Invention. Princess Elletra Marconi Giovannelli

will also sign her book, a memoir of her father, during the reception

 Program Organizers: Grace Agnew, John Brennan, Paul Israel, T. Corey Brennan, Linda Langschied, and Francesca Giannetti.

Contact Grace Agnew, Conference organizer, for more information:


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