Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jazz Concert to Warm a Winter Afternoon

Pianist Jerry Vezza will perform with Hal Slapin on bass and vocalist Nancy Nelson DiSisto in Come Fly With Me -- Jazz to Warm a Winter Afternoon, a free concert at Bernardsville Public Library on Sunday, January 23 at 3:00 pm. [Doors open at 2:45 pm.] The program will highlight songs from the American Popular Songbook of the 20th century such as works by Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, and Cole Porter. Funded by the Friends of the Bernardsville Public Library, the program is part of the Sundays at Three concert series. There is no charge to attend and no advance registration is necessary.

The musicians all grew up in New Jersey. Jerry Vezza and Hal Slapin are long-time friends and collaborators, who have played together since they were teenagers growing up in Springfield. Ms. DiSisto grew up in Summit and has been singing since childhood. She met Hal Slapin at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church over 20 years ago, where she sings in the choir. Over the years, the three have performed together many times at various venues, including The Store in Basking Ridge and Shanghai Jazz in Madison. They will lead their 19th annual jazz worship service at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church this year on March 6.

A classically trained singer, Ms. DiSisto began singing jazz professionally at age 17 and studied music at Ithaca and Kean Colleges. Her jazz engagements have included The Rainbow Room in New York City, as well as many clubs in the New York area. She has performed many times for the New Jersey Jazz Society, at several Newport Jazz Festival picnics at Waterloo Village, NJ, and she has given concerts annually for the jazz series at the Watchung Arts Center and the Bickford Theatre in Morristown. She has two recordings available: Sweet and Low Down, with the Keith Ingham trio, which features songs by Berlin, Porter and Gershwin, and Songs for the Journey, a collection of sacred jazz and spirituals with Jerry Vezza and Hal Slapin. In addition to her singing activities, Nancy also teaches piano in Bernardsville, where she lives with her husband Dom DiSisto.

Mr. Slapin graduated from the Juilliard School in 1973. His mentor was the late composer/arranger/educator Edwin Finckel, with whom he maintained a close relationship for over 30 years. At Juilliard, he was a member of the jazz ensemble under the direction of the late Hall Overton. He has performed with many jazz recording artists, including Lee Konitz, Pepper Adams and Al Cohn. Mr. Slapin freelanced extensively in New York during the mid-1970s, playing in chamber music ensembles and Broadway shows, in addition to New York and New Jersey jazz clubs. He lives in Basking Ridge with his wife, Jann.

Mr. Vezza was a philosophy major at the University of Maine. The son of a tenor saxophone player, he studied piano with Adolph Sandoli (whose jazz students included Miles Davis and John Coltrane), and Olga Von Till, who also taught the jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. He has worked in the Catskills, as a pianist for Broadway shows, and as a studio musician. In addition to the NY metro area, he has performed in Los Angeles and in Europe. A busy freelance musician who arranges and composes, he leads his own jazz group, plays for countless corporate events, and has a very successful business tuning and repairing pianos. He has released three CDs, With a Song in My Heart, Two for the Road, and You Are There. He lives in Madison with his wife Diane.

For further information, call the library at 908-766-0118.

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