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  • Gloria Krolak

In Our Little Town

Guitarists Cesar Garabini and Olli Soikkeli

Judd Roth, Ruth Cooper and Jeff Hersch started something. To the small town of Flemington, New Jersey, (officially a borough, population about 4600) they brought a jazz series. With the help of local grants from Flemington Community Partnership and Hunterdon County, they've presented an increasingly popular run of jazz events. The Borough donates the use of a former bank building at 90 Main Street - complete with impressive steel-door vault. Roth invited some jazz legends and up-and-comers to perform on Saturday evenings. For five seasons (2016 – 2018) Roth has opened the doors of the now DIY Community Art Space that he shares with other local groups, to great names and superb jazz. Most recently, in the 2018 once-a-month series he welcomed the Mike Yamanaka Trio to open. Young new vibraphonist Sasha Berliner followed, and then Pedro Giraudo Tango Quartet with bandoneòn player Rodolfo Zanetti. The bandoneòn, BTW, is an instrument resembling a small accordion, originating in Germany but now identified with Argentina, and totally captivating. The last performance of the season, guitarists Olli Soikkeli from Finland and Brazilian Cesare Garabini, sold out. For those in the audience – the smallish room holds about 60 - it was well worth the $15 price of admission. The duo played Brazilian jazz with its deserved intensity, explaining the “choro” form beforehand, Gypsy jazz a la Django, and Henry Mancini’s theme from the movie Two for the Road. Truly versatile guitarists. You can check out the series' truly international array of musical talent on YouTube. Then sign up for the 2019 series which begins Saturday, January 26, 2019 and features pianist Tomoko Ohno, leading a trio including Marcus McLaurine (bass) and Samuel Martinelli (drums). They will be playing music from the album, “Crossing Paths.”

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