Monday, November 7, 2011

Cape May Jazz Fest Benefit Shows

Benefit concerts for Friends of Cape May Jazz

They may have announced the cancellation of the fall edition of the Cape May Jazz Festival, but that won’t stop the musicians from playing anyway, as some of the past performers have gotten together to put to put on a series of shows to benefit the financially ailing festival.

It wasn’t long after festival founders Carol Stone and Woody Woodland were ousted by the board that they cancelled the fall festival, so some administrative problems must still be solved, but for some of the musicians, the show must go on.

Led by Cape May locals Geno White and Jay Bethel, they recruited fellow guitarist Tom Larson, singer Frank Bey and trumpeter Eddie Morgan, and Martini Beach and Cabanas agreed to provide the venues at Decatur and Beach Drive, so the makeshift and abbreviated Cape May Jazz Fest will take place this coming weekend, Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12th.

Geno White [] will open the proceedings on Friday at 6 pm at Martini Beach, the upstairs fine dining establishment with the glass porch that overlooks Beach Drive, with the Tom Larrson Blues Band picking up the beat downstairs at Cabanas at 9:30 pm.

Pat Martino calls his protégé Geno White “a complete original,” and indeed he is, as reflected on his recordings and live performances, which usually include TC Kissinger on electric upright bass and Seth Johnson on drums.

Downstairs at Cabanas (9:30), the electric Tom Larson Blues Band [] will feature Larson on slide guitar. Larson picked up the Delta Blues style of the legendary Robert “Crossroads” Johnson, Blind Willie McTell and Son House.

Cabanas is where the blues acts are usually found at Cape May Fests, and Frank Bey
[ ] will feel quite at home when he sings the blues at the Saturday afternoon matinee (1pm). Originally from Georgia, Frank began singing gospel in church before tagging along on tour with the late great Otis Redding. After starting his own band, and experiencing a bad record deal, Bey stopped singing and the music industry for twenty years before returning in 1996. Carol and Woody brought him to Cape May and after his stunning performance he got some steady work at local clubs, including the Boiler Room at Congress Hall.

While Bethel, Larson and Bey emphasize the blues, horn man Eddie Morgan will jazz things up at Martini Beach (6 pm). Morgan [] is known from playing in church with the Jazz Vespers with a quartet that includes Darryl Robinson on keys, Keith Hollis, on drums, Derek Cason on bass and guitarist
Tony Marshall.

Jay Bethel and Blue Bone [ ] brings the blues back to the table at Cabanas (9:30 pm). Bethel has made Cape May his home, and also plays locally as a solo act, but really cooks with his band.

Martini Beach used to be Maureen’s, once rated the best restaurant in the state, a standard now maintained by Chef & General Manager, John Siuta, so you have the opportunity of not only seeing a great blues and jazz show, but enjoy a fine meal at the same time.

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