PEE WEE RUSSELL STOMP
WHEN: Sunday, March 18, from noon-5:00pm
WHERE: Birchwood Manor, 111 N Jefferson Rd, Whippany,
ADMISSION: $30 in advance for members, $35 for non-members; $40 at the door for members, $45 for non-members. Student tickets (with current ID) are $15 either in advance or at the door.
To order tickets, log onto www.njjs.org, call 1-800-838-3006, or send a check payable to NJJS, including a $3 per order handling fee, together with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, to: NJJS, c/o Mike Katz, 382 Springfield Avenue, Suite 217, Summit, NJ 07901.
- Noon-1 p.m. Daryl Sherman Sextet
- 1:15-2:15 p.m. Professor Cunningham and His Old School
- 2:30-3:30 p.m. Warren Vache Quintet
- 3:30-4:00 p.m. Awards Presentations
- 4:00-5:00 p.m. George Gee Orchestra
In the 1970s and ‘80s, cornetist/trumpeter Warren Vache (right) played in the house band at Eddie Condon’s on West 54th Street in New York City. Condon’s was down the street from Jimmy Ryan’s where legendary trumpeter Roy Eldridge performed. During their breaks, Eldridge and the young Vache would listen to each other. That, says Vache, was, “the best teaching experience I ever had.”
A longtime resident of Rahway, NJ, Vache will be leading one of four bands playing at the New Jersey Jazz Society’s 49th annual Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp. Described by allmusic.com’s Ken Dryden as “one in a long line of important cornetists following Bix Beiderbecke, Jimmy McPartland, and Ruby Braff,” Vache will head a quintet featuring the soulful tenor saxophonist Houston Person, along with pianist Steve Ash, bassist Earl Sauls, and drummer Steve Williams.
The other bands include: The George Gee Swing Orchestra, which includes trombonist/music director David Gibson; trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, who grew up in Teaneck, NJ; and alto saxophonist Julius Tolentino, who directs the jazz band at Newark Academy in Livingston, NJ. Professor Cunningham and His Old School, a septet led by clarinetist/saxophonist Adrian Cunningham, which also features West Orange, NJ, pianist Oscar Perez, trombonist Jim Fryer, and trumpeter Jon Challoner. The Daryl Sherman Sextet, led by pianist/vocalist Daryl Sherman (left) and including trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso, reedman Jay Rattman, guitarist James Chirillo, bassist Jay Leonhart, and drummer Kevin Dorn.
This year’s Stomp will be dedicated to the memory of drummer Chuck Slate, Sr., who died last November. Slate’s Traditional Jazz Band performed at the first Stomp in 1970 at the Martinsville Inn in Martinsville, NJ. Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, leading a band or trio, Slate appeared at several New Jersey venues, mostly in Morris County or the Somerset Hills. They included the Ride‘n Hunt Club and the Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, NJ, The Store in Basking Ridge, NJ, and Rod’s in Convent Station, NJ. He also performed at the Chester Inn and Hillside Lounge in Chester, NJ, prompting The New York Times’ John S. Wilson, in 1972, to refer to Chester as the “jazz center” of New Jersey. Clarinetist Joe Licari, who played with Slate in the 1980s, will receive the NJJS Distinguished Musician award, and jazz writer and critic Will Friedwald will be honored as this year’s Jazz Advocate.
The George Gee Swing Orchestra is a regular attraction at Swing 46, the jazz supper club on West 46th Street in New York City. In a review of Swing Makes You Happy!, Gee’s 2014 album on the Rondette Jazz label, londonjazznews.com praised trombonist Gibson’s arrangements, which “give the nonet the feel of a small big band. With a pair of trumpets, a single trombone, three saxes, and three rhythms to work on, his [Gibson’s] writing has the kind of tight, punchy call and response patterns that the late-era Basie band deployed.”