The Raffle Guitar, a Jazz Café and a Distillery

You might ask, what do these three things have in common?

Well for the President of the JSJBF, it was a breakout night on the last Saturday in January!

American Fender Stratocaster guitar raffle
American Fender Stratocaster guitar raffle

Earlier in the week, board member Joe Hughes donated a very lightly used American Fender Stratocaster in a hard shell case. (photo above)

Custom Crate G. 40C Amp with a Bugera Cabinet

Our 2020’s Volunteer of the Year, “Hot Rod” Jon Kalfus, built us a custom Crate G. 40C amp with a Bugera cabinet. (photo to the right)

The donated guitar, amp, and cabinet are part of our 2021 Guitar Raffle.

Fortunately for me, Joseph Vincent Riggio and Jv Archer Entertainment were promoting the latest Jazz Café at our member venue, The Chubby Pickle. This was a great opportunity to bring along the guitar (the amp and cabinet will be shown in pictures only as my ”roadie” days are over), and hear some terrific music.

This late afternoon show featured Audra Mariel and A Real Human Jazz Band. Fronted by her lush and melodic vocals with Tom Monda on guitar and Cody McCorry on standup bass, they performed Jazz standards along with selections from the Great American Songbook. Tom’s creative solos, along with Cody’s solid bass complementing them, made these familiar songs sound fresh. The crowd which followed COVID protocol, showed much appreciation for their efforts and were pleased to have them back after a memorable show there last August.

Audra Mariel and A Real Human Jazz Band at the Chubby Pickle

At the conclusion, I packed up the guitar and traveled from the Highlands down Ocean Avenue to another of our new member venues, the Long Branch Distillery. There, another one of our member bands, Damien & The DCQ were performing. Owner Mark Elia had seen them at the 2019 Long Branch Festival and has been using them in his Saturday night rotation. Damian is an accomplished singer as well as playing both saxophone and clarinet. He is joined by long time band mate and musical director Gene Torres, on six string bass, Vickie Warne on guitar, and drummer Jim Mizell. Their two sets were mixed with some great covers, including one of my favorites “ Song For My Father”, originally performed by the Horace Silver Quintet which then segwayed into Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”. They also played many of the band’s original compositions as well, and judging from the audience response, they were equally appreciated. This venue is set up for social distancing as the furniture is arranged in clusters that seat two, four, or six people, and while they don’t serve food, I saw multiple deliveries arrive to go with the many delicious signature drinks.

Damien & The DCQ at the Long Branch Distillery

Both venues are committed to live music and cater to different tastes, so check out their websites for more information.

Long Branch Distillery

The Chubby Pickle