From concert halls to in-store performances, area venues are providing sound choices for area residents.
At Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus Jazz at Princeton University’s Creative Large Ensemble performs on Saturday, May 12, at 8 p.m.
Led by Darcy James Argue, the group is set to perform classic and contemporary compositions, including those by and arrangements by recognized current jazz artists Slide Hampton, Renee Rosnes, and Sherisse Rogers.
Originally from Vancouver, the now Brooklyn-based Argue is a Grammy-nominated composer and bandleader who has conducted his own works with the Danish and Frankfurt (Germany) radio big bands, Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Big Band Palacio das Artes in Mexico, and the West Point Jazz Knights. A composer of chamber duos and string quartets, and art songs, he is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition.
Creative Large Ensemble, Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton University. Saturday, May 12, 8 p.m. $5 to $15. music.princeton.edu/events/creative-large-ensemble-0
The State Theater New Jersey in New Brunswick is where Kool & the Gang will heat up a concert and the theater’s 2018 benefit gala on Saturday, May 12.
The Grammy Award-winning group — with New Jersey roots —began hitting the charts in 1964 and has since sold more than 70 million albums featuring their critically acclaimed funk and jazz arrangements and earning them 31 gold and platinum albums.
The gala benefitting the State Theater begins at 5 p.m. and includes a pre-performance cocktail reception, post-performance dinner dance with an open bar, auctions, and live entertainment from the Jersey Joint. Tickets are $700.
Kool & the Gang, State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. Saturday, May 12, 6 p.m. $35 to $75. 732-246-7469 or STNJ.org
Bordentown is the destination for several prominent regional musicians this weekend.
At the Man Cave — the record and memorabilia shop run by veteran City Garden promoter Randy Now (aka Randy Ellis) — two highly accomplished performers are on the schedule.
First up is former Princeton resident and Spin Doctors guitarist Chris Barron’s appearance on Friday, May 11, at 8 p.m.
Barron, aka Chris Barron Gross, is a 1986 Princeton High School graduate. He studied with noted area musician and conductor Portia Sonnenfeld and was a classmate of Blues Traveler’s John Popper, who introduced Barron to other musicians who would in turn form the Grammy-nominated Spin Doctors.
After recovering from paralysis of the vocal chords, Barron mixes solo concerts with performances with the Spin Doctors and his own band, Time Bandits. His songs “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” were on Billboard’s top five. Tickets are $25
Then Chris Harford, another Princeton native, takes the Man Cave stage on Saturday, May 12, at 8 p.m.
Singer-songwriter, musician, recording artist, painter, and photographer Harford has more than 35 years in the music and recording scene. He has worked with singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson and was noted in the New Yorker as a musician who “operates in the free zone outside rock’s usual categories. He has a foot in country, a hand in ’70s rock, a toe in folk, a finger in post-punk.”
Harford is a 1980 Princeton High graduate and the cofounder of the indie band Three Colors, leading to a British record contract and move to London. He now participates in the regional bands Band of Changes and Rogue Oliphant, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. Harford also participated in the area premiere of Muldoon’s “Olagon: A Cantata in Doublespeak.” Tickets are $10.
The Man Cave, 134 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown. 609-424-3766 or www.mancavenj.com
At John and Sue Chrambanis’ Record Collector at 358 Farnsworth Avenue in Bordentown, Joe Zook and Frank Pinto return with their classic Trenton sound on Saturday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m.
Blues and blues-rock guitarist and singer-songwriter Joe “Zook” Zuccarello grew up in North Trenton and Ewing. Encouraged to play music by his piano playing optometrist father and housewife mother, Zook says he got interested in Muddy Waters and B. B. King and taught himself to play the blues. He also studied with area guitarist Frank Hipp and Lou Mercuiri and Trenton State College jazz drummer Tony DiNicola. In 1979 he established the well known Blues Deluxe at Billy D’s Rumrunner on Mulberry Street in Trenton.
Pinto is Zook’s guitarist-keyboardist songwriter cousin, who, as Zook says, “is a cross between Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and a little bit of Tom Waits thrown in there.” Tickets are $15.
The Record Collector, 358 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown. 609-324-0880 or www.the-record-collector.com
At Ewing’s 1867 Sanctuary, the church turned nonprofit performance venue, pianist Eric Mintel celebrates a milestone with “25 Years of the Eric Mintel Quartet and Still Going!” on Saturday, May 12, at 8 p.m.
Raised in Bucks County, Mintel says he found jazz in 1982 when he was 14 and “going through my parents’ record collection one day. I was listening to Ray Charles and all kinds of R&B at the time. Then I found an old 45 of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and I put on ‘Take 5’ and the flip side ‘Blue Rondo.’ At that point I knew that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”
After graduating from high school he dedicated himself to the music business and in past interviews notes two golden moments: playing at the White House for President Bill Clinton and having Dave Brubeck tell jazz great Marian McPartland to have Mintel be a guest on her NPR syndicated program, “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz,” in 2005.
Eric Mintel Quartet, 1867 Sanctuary, 101 Scotch Road, Ewing. Saturday, May 12, 8 p.m. $20. 609-392-6409 or 1867sanctuary.org
And for something completely different, there’s the Thursday, May 10, “Poetry, Pose & Potions Evening,” part of “The Art of Sound Unplugged” series at the Art of Sound, 201 South Main Street, Lambertville.
The Art of Sound is a business specializing in audio visual design and, according to its materials, creating “premium entertainment installations throughout the Northeast.”
The business, operated by John E. Nirmaier and Patricia Giro, has also launched what it calls “a thoughtful variety of artistic experiences for clientele and the public.”
Its Thursday event features a poetry readings by poet, actress, and author Hayden Saunier along with poet, editor, and author Grant Clauser.
Saunier, the Doylestown-based author of four published collections of poetry, is the recipient of the 2013 Gell Poetry Prize, 2011 Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize, 2011 Rattle Poetry Prize, and the Robert Fraser Award, and served as a Bucks County Poet Laureate.
Clauser’s poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Poetry Review, Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Heartland Review, Wisconsin Review, Southern Poetry Review, Seattle Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Tar River Poetry, and others. His most recent books are “The Magician’s Handbook” by PS Books, and “Reckless Constellations,” winner of the Cider Press Review Editor’s Award.” He lives in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.
Poetry, Pose & Potions, Art of Sound, 201 South Main Street, Lambertville. Thursday, May 10, 7 p.m. Reservations only. 609-483-5000 or www.theartofsoundllc.com