Imagine yourself in an intimate place, absorbing the glorious sound of
music or laughing to the
comedian’s antics while surrounded by the inspiring colors and forms of works of art!
The Upper Gallery has 12-foot ceilings, superb acoustics, and a seating capacity of 100.
Paul Salomone Trio
Saturday, April 26, 8 p.m.
The Paul Salomone Trio, consisting of Paul Salomone on piano, Ron Glick on drums, and bassist Roy Cumming, brings a mix of jazz standards and originals to the WAC including selections from Salomone’s soon-to-be-released second CD, “The Loving Eye.” Following a recent concert they were described as “(delivering) in a big way with a level of musicianship, professionalism and improvisational skills normally reserved for the swankiest jazz clubs in New York City.
A native of Scotch Plains, NJ, Paul Salomone began his piano studies at the age of eight. Paul later studied under Keith MacDonald, continuing work in classical music and beginning his studies in jazz. Paul attended Kean College and Jersey City State College majoring in music, but left school and served in the United States Army band system for six years. In 1983, Paul began teaching piano lessons and performing in numerous venues all over New Jersey, but also in New York City and Philadelphia. Throughout most of his career, Paul has led his own groups, and his efforts culminated in the 1997 release of his CD, “Quickstep”, featuring the renowned tenor saxophonist Tommy Grice, noted bassist and composer Derwin Holder, and the vastly experienced and well-traveled drummer Ron Glick, with whom Paul has been associated for over thirty years.
Roy Cumming was born in Orange, NJ and grew up in Clifton. Starting on the violin, Roy switched to the bass after high school and began studying jazz. He studied with such noted bassists as Norman Edge and Ron Carter. Roy's work with drummer John Dentz led to his association with jazz piano giants Teddy Wilson, Chick Corea and the great be-bop pianist Al Haig. He had an extensive and productive association with guitarist Harry Leahy and drummer Glenn Davis. Later joined by pianist Mike Melillo, they formed the group “In Free Association”, and performed and recorded together for many years. Roy’s freelance work includes performing with such jazz notables as Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Johnny Hartman, Joe Morello, and Tony Williams. A wonderful composer, he released the CD “Edgeless” on which all of the selections are his own compositions.
Drummer Ron Glick has an extensive background in performing and teaching music. Ron has worked with such jazz notables as Tal Farlow, Al Cohn, Eric Kloss, Harry Leahy, Lou Donaldson, Vic Juris, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Ira Sullivan.. After recording the CD “Quickstep” as a member of Paul Salomone’s quartet, Ron accompanied Paul to London, Ontario, Canada to perform in the Forest City Jazz Festival. Ron attended the Berklee College of Music where he studied with the world renowned drummer Alan Dawson.His private studies also included numerous sessions with jazz masters Richie Moore, Sonnie Igo, and Doug Allen. Ron has performed in jazz clubs and festivals both nationally and internationally, and currently performs with a variety of musicians in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including pianist Frank Giasullo.
Uta Proschka — “Meilensteine” (Milestones)
Friday, May 16, 8 p.m.
Uta Proschka, singer and songwriter from Germany, will present her one-woman show “Meilensteine” (Milestones) — a stroll through 70 years of international female music history.
Uta Proschka has come a long way since she started singing and playing the piano in a children’s choir in Hamburg, Germany. After years of composing her own songs and performing rock music, Uta stepped into the world of gala performances. With her band, she sang pop, rock and ballroom music at events of well-known companies, such as Coca Cola and Mercedes Benz, and entertained the guests of vacation resorts in Austria, Switzerland, Turkey and Spain.
In the year 2000, Uta and her family moved to White Plains, NY — and Uta considers this year as one of the happiest in her whole life: Having the best of both worlds of living near New York City with all its musical inspirations and flying back to Germany every now and then to perform with her band! That’s when she took singing lessons with the vocal coach of John Bon Jovi (she even met him in the hallway!) and learned to play the saxophone.
Now she lives in Bensheim (between Frankfurt and Heidelberg, Germany) and besides singing and entertaining audiences with her cover songs at wedding ceremonies, birthday parties and public events, she has found different platforms to present special selections of French chansons and — most importantly — her own songs. Uta wants her audience to not just listen to the music but to understand and to sometimes even laugh about the lyrics. That’s why she sings songs about funny stories she hears from her friends in German.
On May 16, she will take you on a journey through 70 years of female hits: Get ready for international ballads, musicals and movie melodies, chansons and pop songs. English, French and German lyrics will show Uta’s extensive repertoire and her gorgeous voice.
Saturday, May 31, 8 p.m.
Pianist Sophia Agranovich, a master interpreter of music of the Romantic Era, will perform a program featuring some of the most challenging pieces in the piano repertoire — the lyrical, colossal and orchestral-in-nature ‘Wanderer’ Fantasie by Franz Schubert, and the epic, profoundly nostalgic Ballades by Frederic Chopin. ‘Wanderer’ revolutionized sonata form in structure, virtuosity, thematic transformation, and conception of the piano as a surrogate orchestra. Its long melodic lines, texture and dynamics convey depth of conflicting emotions. A lively reception to meet the artist follows the concert.
Sophia Agranovich is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso pianist, recording artist and educator. Her passionate and mesmerizing concerts and recordings have received many outstanding reviews, and have captivated audiences worldwide. “Sophia Agranovich’s alchemy of mind-bending technical prowess and heart-melting emotional expressivity add up to one of the most glorious piano recitals this side of Elysium. Urgently recommended.” (Fanfare). “Magnificent shading and superior musicianship…” (American Record Guide).
A Steinway Artist, a First Prize winner of All-Ukrainian Young Artists and Bergen Philharmonic competitions, Ms. Agranovich earned Bachelor and Master Degrees at the Juilliard School where she held a full scholarship and teaching Fellowship, and did post-graduate studies at Columbia University. Her major professors were legendary Sascha Gorodnitzki and Nadia Reisenberg. Sophia has collaborated with world-renowned musicians and members of major orchestras. Among her venues are Avery Fisher Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium and Paul Hall at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Steinway Hall, and Bargemusic, all in New York City. She has also performed internationally at Salle Cortot in Paris, Ehrbar Hall in Vienna, Rubin Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv, Kiev Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music and Lvov State Conservatory in Ukraine.
Sophia Agranovich is an esteemed educator, lecturer, clinician, adjudicator, and is a recipient of numerous awards for teaching excellence. Her students are consistently winning top awards in national and international competitions. She is a Program Chair of MEA, Artistic Director of the “Classicals at the Circle” series at the Watchung Arts Center, and is listed in Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World.
Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Laub
Saturday, May 10, 8 p.m.
The Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Laub Duo have been performing for the past 12 years after a lifetime association as teacher and student. As a duo they perform for audiences all over the US and Canada in clubs, concert halls and jazz festivals.
Bucky Pizzarelli was born in Paterson, NJ in 1926. Piz is a world-renowned jazz guitarist. His career spans over 70 years from the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra, to the Johnny Carson Tonight Show. Hundreds of jazz concerts worldwide, including White House performances with Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, and Claude “Fiddler” Williams, with Presidents Reagan and Clinton add to the list.
His numerous worldwide tours also included performances with practically every jazz legend, such as Stephane Grapelli, Slam Stewart, Tal Farlow, Rosemary Clooney, Zoot Sims, Benny Carter, Michael Feinstein and Charlie Byrd, to name a few. He has hundreds of jazz recordings with every major jazz great, including his own solo albums and work with his two sons, John and Martin Pizzarelli. He is on the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown and appeared on PBS with Les Paul and Tal Farlow, The New Jersey Jazz Guitars [Filmed at Rutgers University]. Last year, Bucky became one of the very first musicians in New Jersey to have two of his guitars, along with a recorded history of his lifetime in music, inducted into the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. In 2011 Bucky was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and in 2012 recorded with Paul McCartney on his latest Grammy Winning Album, “Kisses On The Bottom.”
Ed Laub is a locally renowned guitarist and vocalist whose style has been compared to a blend of Kenny Rankin, Chet Baker and James Taylor all being accompanied by Bucky Pizzarelli. Ed says, “That’s not bad company to be associated with. They were amongst the artists to whom I listened to and was most influenced by. I guess I would say I am honored with that comparison.” Because of Ed’s talent as an accompanist and the fact that he is one of the more accomplished 7 String guitarists, he is sought after by many of the top guitarists in the NYC metropolitan area to back them up and adds a pianistic style that makes a duo sound more like a trio. Focusing mostly on the American Songbook genre Ed also loves to perform the great Brazilian classics using a nylon 7-string guitar.
Twelve years ago Ed became the steady partner to his teacher, hero and close friend, Bucky Pizzarelli. They now travel all over the metropolitan area and major cities in the US, playing in clubs, concert venues and jazz festivals. All About Jazz Magazine said, “Pizzarelli is the complete jazz musician and Laub complements him perfectly!” Besides being the consummate rhythm guitarist and accompanist Ed is in demand as a vocalist and performs with such great artists as Gene Bertoncini, John Pizzarelli, Paul Meyers, Martin Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Frank Vignola, Jay Leonhart, Russ Kassoff, Russell Malone, Jack Wilkins and special guest appearances with the late Kenny Rankin.
All seats for this performance are priced at $25. They are expected to sell out quickly so be sure to purchase your ticket in advance at Eventbrite. For more information, please call 908-753-0190 or e-mail us.
Saturday, May 17, 8 p.m.
Noted for his soulful and witty material accompanied by dazzling keyboards and guitar, Kenny White comes to the world of the touring singer-songwriter following a long and successful musical path.
Born in New York City and raised across the river in Fort Lee, New Jersey, White began his career in the 1970s, touring extensively as the keyboard player for Jonathan Edwards and Livingston Taylor. He then became a fixture in the NY studio scene throughout the 1990s, producing and arranging literally hundreds of commercials for TV and radio beginning with “The Unsinkable Taste of Cheerios,” and including nearly seven years of Chevrolet’s “Heartbeat of America,” campaign. Through commercials, White was able to work with artists as renowned and varied as Gladys Knight, Linda Ronstadt, Ricky Skaggs, Aaron Neville and the London Symphony Orchestra. He also worked on many film soundtracks as a contributing writer/musician, including Message in a Bottle, A Walk on the Moon, Where the Heart Is, and four films by John Sayles. He produced Shawn Colvin’s Grammy-nominated song, “I Don’t Know Why,” and performed on Marc Cohn’s platinum debut record.
After being hailed by reviewers from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle for his “thrilling” and “unique” piano playing, White chose, in 2001, to devote himself to making his own album, one that not only showcased his talent as a musician, but also as a lyricist. His work in the studio enabled him to assemble an A-list team of players for Uninvited Guest. He began traveling with and opening shows for many of his friends and colleagues including Cheryl Wheeler, Jonathan Edwards, and Richard Shindell. An early copy of his follow-up record, Symphony In 16 Bars, landed in the hands of Judy Collins, who then signed him to her own Wildflower Records label, releasing the CD in 2005, followed by the EP, Never Like This. His latest recording, Comfort In The Static, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim, landing on many Favorite Album of the Year lists.
His record producing credits include the last three solo CDs for Peter Wolf, formerly with the J. Geils Band: Fool’s Parade, Sleepless (named one of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” by Rolling Stone) and Midnight Souvenirs, debuting at #45. White recently traveled to Livomo, Italy, to accept the International Songwriting Award at the 18th Annual Premio Ciampi music festival. He has toured extensively with Judy Collins throughout Europe and North America and performs the duet “Veteran’s Day” on her new Bohemian CD. He continues to tour with Cheryl Wheeler, appearing on her new live recording, Greetings, which he also produced.
Family Improv: Saturday, June 7, 8 p.m.
The Improvables have been providing the Center’s audiences with zany, raucous one-of-a-kind and never-to-be-repeated humor since 2002. Each show features a series of games in which the performers act out various scenes, based on audience suggestions, without advanced knowledge of the topics. Come ready to laugh at the antics of this wonderful improvisational troupe of actors including Randy Schweriner, David Kritz, Michele Kerekes, and Brandon Lericos of Bridgewater, Phil Hochman of Plainfield, Roberta Maher of Mt. Arlington and Mike Griffin of Hillsborough.
Family-friendly shows are suitable for children 10 and older, while adult shows are “R” rated.
Tickets to all performances (adult and family-friendly) are $8.