New Jersey Blues & Jazz Festival at the Backstage Jazz Club

Rod Piazza - photo by Franky Bruneel- for the Grateful Web

The State Theatre presents the New Jersey Blues & Jazz Festival at the Backstage Jazz Club, September 25-27. It's an all-star musical lineup in an intimate setting for serious and casual jazz and blues fans alike. Featured performances during the festival include Legend of Blues: Pinetop Perkins featuring Hubert Sumlin and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (9/25/08 at 8pm & 10:30pm); Ron Carter Quartet and vocalist Lisa Sokolov (9/26/08 at 8pm & 10:30pm); and Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers and John Hammond (9/27/08 at 8pm & 10:30pm).

All three sets take place in the exclusive 238-seat club-style venue on stage. Tickets range from $30-45 and are on sale now. The festival has been made possible by the generous support of The Karma Foundation and New Millennium Bank.

"We received so much great feedback from last year's Backstage Jazz Festival, we just had to bring it back… this time adding a little blues to the lineup," commented State Theatre President & CEO Wes Brustad.

The schedule for New Jersey Blues & Jazz Festival at the Backstage Jazz Club is as follows:

Set #1 "Legend of Blues"
Thu, September 25, 2008 at 8pm & 10:30pm at the Backstage Jazz Club
Pinetop Perkins featuring Hubert Sumlin and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith
The show boasts legendary pianist and Grammy® Award nominee Pinetop Perkins, who is best known for his piano playing in the Muddy Waters Band for 12 years; guitarist Hubert Sumlin, who has played with such names as Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon, and The Rolling Stones; and seven-time W.C. Handy Award winner/multiple Grammy® Award nominee harmonica player, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Smith played with Muddy Waters for many years, appearing on all of Muddy's Grammy®-winning albums.
Tickets: $45 Table Seat, $30 Chairs.

Set #2 "Ron Carter Quartet"
Fri, September 26 at 8pm & 10:30pm at the Backstage Jazz Club
Ron Carter Quartet with vocalist Lisa Sokolov
Two-time Grammy Award-winner Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz. With more than 2,000 albums to his credit, he has recorded with many of music's greats including: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, and B.B. King. From 1963 to 1968, he was a member of the acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet. He was Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies while it was located in Boston and, after 18 years on the faculty of the Music Department of The City College of New York, he is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

Lisa Sokolov is a frontline New York jazz vocalist, improviser, and composer. Accompanying Lisa Sokolov will be Jazz bassist Cameron Brown. Brown anchored some of the most important groups of the '70s, '80s and '90s. The Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet, featuring Dannie Richmond, developed into a rewarding partnership which lasted nearly 10 years.
Tickets: $45 Table Seat, $30 Chairs.

Set #3 "Rod Piazza and Friends"
Sat, September 27 at 8pm & 10:30pm at the Backstage Jazz Club
Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers and John Hammond
From his first recordings as a leader in 1967 fronting The Dirty Blues Band, through his multiple W.C. Handy award-winning releases with his current band The Mighty Flyers, to his countless appearances both live and on record with the most revered names in the blues, Rod Piazza has established himself as one of the most influential living blues harp players.  

With a career that now spans in excess of three decades, John Hammond is one of handful of White blues musicians who was on the scene at the beginning of the first blues renaissance of the mid-'60s. He does justice to classic blues by combining powerful guitar and harmonica playing with expressive vocals and a dignified stage presence.
Tickets: $45 Table Seat, $30 Chairs.

On Stage Venue— Backstage Jazz Club
This 238-seat on stage venue is custom designed to give patrons an exclusive club-style experience just inches away from the artists. The Backstage Jazz Club provides a unique environment for patrons to relax on stage, face the beautiful interior of the magnificently renovated 1921 hall, and experience music from living jazz and blues greats up close and personal. The venue's entrance and all accommodations are backstage. There will be assigned table seating and general admission non-table seating, as well as light fare, and a fully-stocked bar.

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