By, Tom Baldino
As the remnants of Hurricane Nicole sped up the Eastern seaboard, the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation held its quarterly Membership meeting at the member venue, the Chubby Pickle. This night was an important milestone in the transformation of our technology platform, as the previous day an email was sent to all members with a link to the newly installed Membership Pro application. This new system allows our members to set up a personalized profile with information and a picture as well as allowing them to download a membership card which, on this night, was good for a half-price appetizer at the venue. Future specials will be available at participating member venues as we continue the roll out. The system also allows members to renew online using PayPal, and other features will soon be available, such as member bands having the capability to post their gigs.
The host band for the evening, Jump Back, led off with a high energy version of Paul Butterfield Band’s “Born In Chicago,” featuring solos by Wayne Kessler on harp and Jack Pic on guitar. Their set, however, was focused on cuts from their untitled soon to be released CD. If original songs like “Can I Play the Blues,” “The Sting,” and “Evil Might Win” are any indication, this sophomore effort is going to be a winner. Drummer Emilio Ramil sang the title track from their first CD, “Blues in the Red,” and along, with John Dammacco on bass, they are a rock-solid rhythm section. They finished their set with a powerhouse version of the Louis Jordan song by way of Jimi Hendrix, “Let the Good Times Roll,” which those in attendance really enjoyed, judging by their response.
Next, our feature new member band, The New Watchdog Blues Band, took the stage and with seven members, including three female vocalists. Jim Flynn on drums and vocals along with Kevin Kelley on guitar and vocals, from the late great Kelley, Ellis & Flynn Band have teamed up with members of the original Watchdog Blues Band to put together a terrific new unit that has a unique and winning sound. With Erin O’Brien-Kenna, Shelia Wikiel and Anne Rogers trading vocals and adding harmony on songs like “Trouble In Mind,” “The Walkin’ Blues,” and “Lillie Mae,” it was a sound unlike any other we are used to hearing. Sam Furci added some tasty harp and strong vocals on “Make Me feel So Bad,” and Lou Rotile’s bass really kept things moving. They played some seldom heard covers like Gary U.S. Bonds’ “New Orleans” and Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home to Me. A version of “Hoochie Coochie Man,” like I’ve never heard before, was a joy to behold.
To cap off the night, a jam ensued, which sent the crowd home happy after a great night music. Mark your calendars for March 26th 2-7pm for the next membership meeting at Salty’s Beach Bar in Lake Como.