(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- One of the little miracles of 2020 was the Back Deck Concert Series, which gave musicians and audiences one of the few chances to experience each other LIVE. Jazz on the Back Deck kicked off that experience last year when the Morris Museum’s Back Deck Parking Lot into an outdoor performance space. 119 individual blocks, 8’ X 8’ each were created, big enough for two people, so that music lovers could safely experience the joys of live music. Below is the lineup, beginning May 6 and continuing through September.
Bring your own chairs and refreshments and enjoy live entertainment atop the Morris Museum’s elevated parking deck. 8’x8′ blocks are available for up to two patrons for just $50 for all concerts. Stunning sunsets, social distance, and glorious live music combine for a series of unforgettable evenings. All patrons are required to wear face masks except when eating or drinking in their own block. For the complete Jazz on the Back Deck lineup and to purchase tickets, click here.
May 6, 7:00PM, Mike Davis’s Belated Bix Beiderbecke Back Deck Birthday Bash - Mike Davis has become a staple of the Bickford Theatre every March with his Bix Beiderbecke’s Birthday Bash concert. Although We are a couple of months late, it is never too late to delve into the rich musical legacy of this jazz giant that achieved so much with such a short life. Explore a moment in American music when tradition collided with change, when daring creativity set a new standard for popular music. In a time of constant change not unlike our own, America in the 1920s witnessed a parade of new inventions and modernizations, and artists like Bix Beiderbecke heralded a new creative streak in music for a mass audience that would remain a permanent presence long after he was gone.
May 20, 7:00PM, Dan Levinson: Singin’ and Swingin’ the Clouds Away - A beloved staple of the Morris Museum’s Jazz series, Dan Levinson will perform three concerts in the Jazz on the Back Deck 2021 series. Each unique program will feature excellent ensembles and an excellent and informative musical journey.
Look no further for that silver lining - James Langton, Molly Ryan and Dan Levinson breakthrough with a "cheerful earful" of sunny songs made famous by such iconic performers as Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Fats Waller, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, and Shirley Temple. So grab your coat, get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep, and let the good times roll!
May 27, 7:00PM, The Antoinette Montague Experience - Join Newark Native, Antoinette Montague in a jazz experience that will include stirring music, lush vocals, and even an exciting tap dancer! Ms. Montague explores The Great American Songbook using Jazz, Blues, and so much more. Antoinette, Danny MIXON, piano, Melissa Slocum, bass, McClenty Hunter, drums, AC Lincoln, tap dance, will bring great singing, music, dance and more. Swing dancers are welcome to dance within their own blocks. Antoinette Montague hosts a Saturday morning Jazz radio talk show on WHCR 90.3fm celebrating multi-generational Jazz artists and legends Antoinette has been mentored by many greats including Etta Jones, Carrie Smith, Inez McClendon, and others.
June 3, 8:00PM, Empire Wild: Americans in Paris - Americans in Paris features treasures from the American Songbook tradition juxtaposed with music by French composers from the early 20th century. Empire Wild brings both to life with original arrangements and a passion for finding common threads between disparate genres. From singing along to Cole Porter to Debussy’s charming Suite Bergamasque, join the trio on a trip to this magical artistic moment.
June 10, 8:00 PM Sounds of the Jazz Age, with Colin Hancock's Red Hot Eight - The young early jazz specialist, Colin Hancock made his debut at the Morris Museum last Summer at the 10th Annual Bickford Benefit. Now he returns to lead an all-star ensemble of jazz legends including Vince Giordano, Dan Levinson, Mike Davis, Albanie Falletta, Arnt Arntzen and others. The Jazz age was full of all sorts of different musical styles and scenes. Across the country, distinctive sounds emerged which gave us a wonderful mix of music from the roaring 20s. On June 10th, Grammy Nominated cornetist and Jazz historian Colin Hancock brings this to the Back Deck with “Sounds of the Jazz Age.” Hancock, a specialist in regional styles of jazz, brings a 90-minute show covering songs and sounds from across the United States, including a recreation of a “field” recording session using period acoustic equipment. He is joined by seven of New York’s finest specialists of music of the Jazz age, who will make it a listening experience you surely won’t forget!
Colin Hancock is a cornetist and Jazz historian from Buda, TX and now based in New York, who specializes in the music of the Jazz Age. In college, he founded the Original Cornell Syncopators, the nation’s only Jazz age dance orchestra specializing in music from the 1920s, and now leads several groups around New York. When he isn’t performing, he likes to do research on the history and roots of Jazz, and recently received his first Grammy Nomination for his CD “The Missing Link” with Archeophone Records. Colin also specializes in vintage recording equipment, having founded the Semper Phonograph Company in 2012 which preserves acoustic recording technology and practices. Colin Hancock’s Red Hot Eight:Colin Hancock cornet; Mike Davis, trombone, vocals; Dan Levinson, reeds; Troy Anderson, reeds; Arnt Arntzen, banjo, vocals; Albanie Falletta, guitar, vocals; Julian Johnson, drums; Vince Giordano, Bass, tuba, bass sax, vocals.
June 17, 8:00PM Evan Arntzen and Jon-Erik Kellso - Reed man Evan Arntzen and trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso have performed together for years in the EarRegulars as well as Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. Their first recording together, Jazz Crush (released in Summer 2019), features the unique, spontaneous interplay between these two on a collection of newly-arranged songs from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Coleman Hawkins, as well as a handful of original compositions in that vein. Backed by a rhythm section of NYC's finest, don't miss the sparks flying when Evan and Jon-Erik go to town! Jon-Erik Kellso - trumpet; Dalton Ridenhour - piano; Tal Ronen - bass; Mark McLean - drums
June 24, 8:00PM Bria Skonberg - Multi-talented Bria Skonberg returns to the Morris Museum. A trailblazing trumpeter, vocalist and songwriter, Bria Skonberg has been described as "one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation" by The Wall Street Journal.
July 1, 8:00PM Dan Levinson
July 8, 8:00PM Martin Pizzarelli Quartet Tribute to Bucky
July 22, 8:00PM Mariel Bildsten
August 5, 8:00PM Don Braden Earth Wind and Wonder New Adventures
August 12, 8:00PM Jazz at Lincoln Center: Sherman Irby
August 19, 8:00PM Jazz at Lincoln Center: Marcus Printup
August 26, 8:00PM Adrienne Haan, Cabaret Français – A tribute to the French Chanson
September 9, 7:00PM Dan Levinson
Morris Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, New Jersey.