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GOINGS ON AT THE JAZZ GROOVE

June 15, 2009

The Sunday Jam session was a real treat!  Being as Dan, our regular drummer was down with the flu, I was able to get Vinnie Kucinski in as his sub on short notice.
But wait; it gets better.  Sunday proved to be a real convention of drummers.  We had Bob Polito, Sean Smither, Etan Heller, Jimmy Sica all sitting in on some numbers.  Even Greg Boscia showed up later on for a listen.  (Sorry Greg, we'll get you in next time.)
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There were several other pleasant surprises.  Luke Miller came by and added to the ambience with his piano.  Luke's solos are well thought-out... mini-arrangements as it were.
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Also, not only did our junior member pianist John Melendez come by, he brought his father, treumpeter Bob Melendez, and John's grandfather, drummer Bob Polito, was already there.  We had a family band when the three of them got up and sat in on a couple of numbers together.  Hope to see more of you guys in the future.  Also, good news for John.  He's been accepted into the summer program at Mason Gross and is excited to be learning from someone like Stanley Cowell, who had played and recorded with John's idol, Horace Silver.  Congrats to you John!  A note about John's grandfather.  Bob Polito has an interesting musical history.  He was at one time drummer for Red Rodney.
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But wait it gets better.  While the Melendez/Polito combo was playing, in walked two young musicians, one of whom I knew by sight.  We were being paid a visit by the Somerset County contingent!  A few weeks ago we had Hank Rosenthal come in from Somerville to play piano in my stead while I did a gig in Philadelphia.  One of his friends, a drummer by the name of Sean Smither, came by that day and sat in.  Today, he returned with yet another friend, tenor sax player Irvin Comanda.  It made for an interesting contrast having Irving trade '4's with our regular Sunday tenor sax player, Vinnie Troyani.  Irvin was Lester Young to Vinnie's Hershal Evans.  Throughout, Sean provided tasteful comping.
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We also had a substitute bass player for much of the afternoon, our local star player, Max Jacob, filling in for Evan Levine who had other commitments.
Then, Max had to leave.  As I was sitting down, and setting the piano to a split function keyboard so I could play bass with my left hand, another fellow who I had never seen walked up.  Seems he and his brother, on a visit here from England, were walking down the main street, and well the rest is history.  We were visited by British jazz pianist Wayne McConnell, who sat in a number of tunes and sounded absolutely fantastic!
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You never know what's going to happen at PJ's in Highland Park!
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Those of you who want to be part of the audience for the Tuesday evening 7 PM jam session need to contact me for information.  We are currently having the jam session at a private location in Edison.  Again, a reminder to all of you that some of us play at Home Town Buffet at 561 Rte 1 Edison, NJ from 6 - 8 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays, and of course, we hold forth on Sundays from 1 - 5 PM at PJ's Coffee - 315 Raritan Avenue in Highland Park, NJ.
Next Sunday, Luke Miller will be bringing his keyboard and we will have piano duets along with our regular offerings.  It should be a real treat.
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See ya soon!
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Jim Jasion - Founder / Moderator
Somerset Jazz Consortium - Jazz Groove Jam Session
Tel:  732-325-7464