(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Great music and great food always seem perfect together so for Bickford Summer Jazzfest the theatre will serve up great swing and hot jazz with some of the region’s best Food Trucks on-site before each concert. Different food trucks will be at each show so that both ticket holders and the general public can picnic on the beautiful Morris Museum grounds or tailgate in the spacious parking area from 5:00 to 7:30 on festival nights.
Bickford Summer Jazzfest begins on Monday, July 10, with the third annual Dan Levinson’s Midsummer Night’s Jazz Party, an evening of hot, swinging jazz played by some of the best young jazz stars in the country. Reedman Dan Levinson will be joined by the popular singer Molly Ryan who also plays guitar in the group. The rest of the band includes Mike Davis on trumpet, Mark Shane on piano, Harvey Tibbs on trombone, Rob Adkins on bass, and Kevin Dorn on drums.
On Thursday, July 20, the Full Count Big Band rolls in with “A Night in Las Vegas,” celebrating singers who headlined on the Strip. The talented vocalist Joe Ferrara will front the big band as they swing their way through songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Louis Prima, Buddy Greco and Dean Martin. With an approach that incorporates many different influences, Joe Ferrara is not only a great big band singer, but also a talented performer who has worked with the likes of Manhattan Swing, Lou Pallo, and the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra. The 17-piece Full Count Big Band has been entertaining metropolitan New York/New Jersey audiences for more than a decade.
On Monday, July 24, singer, composer and trumpet player Bria Skonberg comes in with her band. She has been called “the shining hope of hot jazz” for good reason. She is one of the most exciting young stars on the jazz scene today and is scooping up awards, critical acclaim and fan accolades for both recordings and performances. She is the 2017 JUNO winner for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year and was recognized last year by DownBeat Magazine as one of “25 for the Future.” Some of her other recent awards include Best Vocal and Best Trumpet Awards from Hot House Jazz Magazine, Outstanding Jazz Artist at the New York Bistro Awards and a DownBeat Rising Star Award. She and her group will feature tunes from her just released “With a Twist” CD as well as popular favorites from her vast repertoire.
Bickford Summer Jazzfest will conclude on Thursday, August 3, with Danny Bacher & Friends featuring a new young talent on the swing jazz scene, sax player and vocalist Danny Bacher. His extensive theater experience has made him an engaging stage presence where he mixes his silky smooth singing with hot jazz saxophone and comedic storytelling. Danny brings with him an equally talented group of musicians including drummer Mark McLean, pianist Alan Farnham, bassist Dean Johnson, and saxophonist Charlie Caranicas who also plays with the great Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.
For each concert, the Bickford Theatre will bring in top food trucks from 5:00 to 7:30 so concert patrons can enjoy a tailgating picnic prior to the music. Some of the trucks who will participate are the Fired Up Flat Bread Company, The Guac Spot, Maddalena’s Cheesecake, Aunt Dee Dee’s Baked Goods, and Dark Side of the Moo. The food trucks will also be open to the general public so everyone is invited to the picnic.
Tickets for Bickford Summer Jazzfest range from $17 to $25. Tickets may be purchased online at morrismuseum.org, by phone at (973) 971-3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
PHOTOS (from top to bottom): Dan Levison photo by Seth Cashman; Full Count Big Band; Bria Skonberg photo by Seth Cashman; Danny Bacher photo by John Abbott