(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- The great Groundhog Jam has a long history of prying jazz fans out of their warm burrows and into the chill of February weather in order to welcome the advent of spring. The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum continues a tradition of hosting this event on Monday, February 4 at 7:30pm. Herb Gardner, who plays both trombone and piano, is assembling a stellar group of musicians from the New York, New Jersey, and New England areas including: Fred Vigorito on cornet, Joe Licari on clarinet, James Chirilloon guitar, Mike Weatherly on bass and Robbie Scott on drums. Daughters Abbie and Sarah Gardner will be handling the vocals and guitar.
Gardner, with his bouncing Swing and Dixieland style, has performed with a renowned roster of jazz luminaries, including Wynton Marsalis, Doc Cheatham, Max Kaminsky, Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge and more. He has toured with popular jazz performers Wild Bill Davison, Kenny Davern and Dick Wellstood. While serving as co-leader of Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, Gardner played at George Bush's inauguration, Bill Clinton's victory party, and countless other non-political affairs. In June, 1997 he conducted the “Big Broadcasters” in the opening concert of the New York City JVC Jazz festival. His CD, “Groundhog’s Day”, features 14 original songs and several Jazz Age classics. “Irving Berlin got all the good holidays,” states Gardner!
The February 4th program will include many old favorites for fans and plenty of new material. It will be a great night to come out and warm up with a dose of some hot jazz!
Fred Vigorito, cornet - The leader of Connecticut’s “Galvanized Jazz Band”, Fred Vigorito is one of the foremost practitioners of the New Orleans style of hot cornet playing. He is featured on more than 35 recordings, his most memorable being at Preservation Hall with jazz veterans Jim Robinson, Albert Burbank, Creole George Guesnon and Don Ewell.
Joe Licari, clarinet - The hottest clarinet player anywhere, Joe Licario is a veteran of New York’s era of classic jazz, working with Roy Eldridge, "Wild" Bill Davison, Conrad Janis, Big Chief Russell Moore, Connie Kay, Bob Haggart, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee Erwin and Doc Cheatham among many others.
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James Chirillo, guitar - A veteran of Benny Goodman's last band, Buck Clayton's Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis, James Chirillo is also a charter member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
Mike Weatherly, bass - Everybody’s favorite bass player, Mike Weatherly plays every kind of music from Big Band, Cajun, Western Swing and Gospel to Jazz. A regular with the Stan Rubin Big Band, he has also performed with The Ed Polcer Allstars, jazz banjoist Cynthia Sayer, folk singer Pete Seeger, the composer Philip Johnston, the R&B singer, Fontella Bass, Western legend, Patsy Montana, Banu Gibson and many others.
Robbie Scott, drums - The leader of his “New Deal Orchestra”, Robbie Scott was for years the drummer with Bobby Short’s Society Act and Woody Allen’s Dixieland Band. He has performed for U.S. Presidents, Governors and other VIPs including Tony Bennett, Carrie Underwood, Benny Goodman and many more.
Abbie Gardner, vocals and guitar - Best known as the singer/songwriter and dobro player with her Americana touring supergroup, “Red Molly”, Abbie Gardner’s first jazz CD earned her a profile in Scott Yanow’s book, “The Jazz Singers, the Ultimate Guide” right between Fitzgerald and Holliday! (alphabetical). This will be her 16th Groundhog’s Day concert.
Sarah Gardner, vocals and guitar - Running her own children’s music business, “Music with Sarah” in the Boston area, Sarah Gardner also sings with The Wolverine Jazz Band, Dan Gabel’s Abletones Orchestra and her own “Sass and Bones Jazz Band.”
About the Morris Museum
Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum is an award-winning, community-based arts and cultural institution serving the public through its exhibitions in the arts, sciences and humanities. The Museum is home to the historic and internationally-significant Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata. Changing exhibits of contemporary content also explore the Guinness themes of art, sound, and motion. The adjacent Bickford Theatre is the museum's 312-seat performing-arts facility, offering unique programming, often related to the museum's exhibition themes. Continuously serving the public since 1913, the Morris Museum has a proud tradition of innovative educational programs and family events. The first museum in New Jersey to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, it has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts’ Citation of Excellence, among other awards.
Tickets for the Herb Gardner Ground Hog Jam are $18 for Museum Members, $20 for Non-Members and $18 for Seniors. All seats are reserved. Tickets may be purchased online at morrismuseum.org/jazz, by phone at 973.971.3706, or in person at the Morris Museum. 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 for ticket purchases are during normal Museum operating hours.
The Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, NJ, and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday, 12:00 to 5:00pm. In addition, the Museum is open evenings from 5:00 to 8:00pm on the second and third Thursday of the month. Admission to the Museum is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and senior citizens. Admission is always free for Museum members. For more information, call (973) 971-3700, or visit www.morrismuseum.org.