Jazz Café 5/22/21

On a hot and sultry Saturday in May, The Chubby Pickle hosted Joseph Vincent Riggio’s Jv Archer Entertainment production of the bimonthly Jazz Café. This month’s headliner was Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation member band Damian and the DCQ.

The opening act, Green Grove Joint, is an experimental free -form Jazz trio fronted by none other than Joseph himself. An accomplished horn man, his instrument of choice is the cornet, and a miniature version of the instrument called the pocket cornet. He was accompanied by one of the top jazz drummers on the scene, Jim Mizell and on upright bass, and high school senior Paul Reinhold, who will be attending the Berklee College of Music this Fall with a scholarship from the JSJBF. The forty-five minute set was highlighted by Joseph’s original compositions “Oh Dorothy”, an ode to the author’s first kiss, and “Prison” which began with a spoken word story over a jungle beat. The songs were notable for their excellent musicianship, as there was no blueprint for where they were going to go. It was an entertaining set for which the audience applauded their approval.

After a short break which allowed band leader Joseph return to his other duty as soundman, Damian Cremiso and his quartet took the stage. Damian is an accomplished horn man who can play a variety of instruments but is best known for the soprano saxophone. He was joined by long-time band member, electric bassist Gene Torres, and drummer Jim Mizell who pulled double duty on this day. Making his first appearance with the band was veteran guitarist Mike Hogan. Mike has replaced long time guitarist Vicki Warne who chose to retire from the band after their last gig at the Long Branch Distillery, which I reported on in a previously column. Having that gig as a reference, I can say that the band hasn’t skipped a beat. Mike brought his own signature solos to both cover songs like Pat Metheny’s ”Song For Bilbao” and Damian’s  original compositions such as “Turning Point”. Backed by a crack rhythm section, the band tore through two sets of inspired interpretations of classic tunes like Leon Russell’s “Masquerade” to Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk,” interspersed with Damian’s original tunes including the beautiful “Believe”. Damian’s playing ranged from spirited to subtle and was greeted with much applause throughout the two sets.

All in all, it was a fun-filled afternoon of quality jazz performed by rising musicians to veteran players who meshed wonderfully to produce the best the Jersey Shore has to offer. Can’t wait for the next performance!