October 5, 2022

A Legacy in Jazz At Morristown Concert

JAZZY TRIBUTE: Princeton pianist Larry Fuller is among those performing October 9 in Morristown with the New Jersey Jazz Society, paying tribute to bassist Bill Crow and tenor saxophonist Houston Person. (Photo by Rob Davidson)

On Sunday, October 9, the New Jersey Jazz Society will be celebrating its 50th anniversary by paying tribute to two living legends — bassist Bill Crow and tenor saxophonist Houston Person. The concert is in Morristown, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Saint Elizabeth University’s Dolan Hall.

One of the co-directors is Princeton pianist Larry Fuller, who has served as vocalist Ernestine Anderson’s musical director and played with bassist Ray Brown, drummer Jeff Hamilton, and guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli. Fuller’s co-director is saxophonist/flutist Don Braden, who has been leading his own band for more than three decades and has worked as a sideman for vocalist Betty Carter, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and drummer Roy Haynes.

During the early 1970s, New Jersey jazz fans would gather at the Chester Inn to hear Chuck Slate’s Traditional Jazz Band or at the Hillside Lounge (also in Chester) to see cornetist Wild Bill Davison or alto saxophonist Rudy Powell, or guitarist Al Casey. In October 1972, under the leadership of the late Jack Stine, a liquor store owner in Pluckemin, these informal gatherings were transformed into regular concerts, as the New Jersey Jazz Society was formed.

Throughout his career, which began in the late 1950s, Crow played and recorded with a long list of jazz legends including Bob Brookmeyer, Benny Goodman, Marian McPartland, Gerry Mulligan, and Clark Terry. He celebrated his 94th birthday last December at Shanghai Jazz in Madison. In 1968, Person teamed up with vocalist Etta Jones for a partnership that lasted more than 30 years until Jones’ death in 2001.

“We will be sticking to a program of Great American Songbook tunes, and one of the tunes I play will be an arrangement of Ray Brown’s on (George Gershwin’s) ‘But Not for Me,’” said Fuller. In addition to “But Not for Me,” the program will include such other American Songbook favorites as Burton Lane’s “Old Devil Moon” and Richard Whiting’s “Too Marvelous for Words.”

The MC for the afternoon’s festivities will be producer, author, and music historian Chuck Granata. Joining Crow, Person, Braden, Fuller, and Parrish onstage will be a combination of musical veterans and rising stars including cornetist Warren Vache, drummer Jason Tieman, vocalist Lucy Yijnands, keyboardist Leonieke Scheuble, trumpeter Liam Sutcliffe, vocalist/composer Jimmy Waltman, bassist Sam AuBuchon, and guitarist/composer Derick Campos. Sutcliffe, Waltman, AuBuchon, and Campos are winners of the 2022 NJJS Juried Scholarships.

Tickets, which are $35 for adults ($40 at the door) and $15 for students ($20 at the door), can be ordered at www.njjs.org.