Video preview: Grover Kemble and Jerry Vezza, headliners at first Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival

Grover Kemble and Jerry Vezza will headline at Morristown's first annual Jazz & Blues Festival on Aug. 20, at the Morristown Green. Admission is free. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Grover Kemble and Jerry Vezza will headline at Morristown's first annual Jazz & Blues Festival on Aug. 20, at the Morristown Green. Admission is free. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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There is something special about watching pros do their thing. For Grover Kemble and Jerry Vezza, that thing is jazz. And when they get “in the pocket”–in the groove–few acts can touch them.

We caught up with these two at Jerry’s place, rehearsing for Morristown’s first annual Jazz and Blues Festival, coming on Saturday, Aug. 20, on the Morristown Green.

Grover, a founding member of swing band Za Zu Zaz, will take the stage at 8 pm with the Jerry Vezza Quartet as headliners of the free, daylong, rain-or-shine event.

Saturday’s program also features the Rusty Paul Band, featuring the son of the late, great Les Paul, at noon; the Duke Ellington Legacy Band, led by the Duke’s grandson, at 2 pm; the Winard Harper Sextet, headed by one of the world’s top jazz drummers; and the street jazz quintet, Baby Soda, at 6 pm.

“It’s a great lineup of jazz and blues,” said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, who spearheaded the project. “It’s a great event for Morristown, and it’s free.”

The Mayor said he raised about $50,000 from sponsors to make the jazz fest a reality. Sponsors include PSE&G, JCP&L, Riker Danzig, Brown and Brown Metro, The Metropolitan, 40 Park, Weichert Realtors, Roots, Trenk Depasquale, TSS Facility Services, Integra Management Corporation, Realty Management Associates, Belle Associates, Inglesino Pearlman and the Grasshopper Restaurant. Jazz station WBGO, the Star-Ledger and the New Jersey Jazz Society round out the list.

Grover and Jerry, both Morris County residents, have played together many times at Madison’s storied Shanghai Jazz club. Jerry commanded the keyboard for Grover at a recent Za Zu Zaz reunion at The Minstrel; on Saturday Grover is repaying the favor in Morristown.

In this video, the old pals pull one of Grover’s tunes, I Been Around a Long Time, out of Grover’s fedora

How do they feel about headlining Morristown’s inaugural jazz/blues festival?

See for yourself at the end of the video.

MORE VIDEOS, STORIES ABOUT GROVER KEMBLE

Grover Kemble and Jerry Vezza will headline at Morristown's first annual Jazz & Blues Festival on Aug. 20, at the Morristown Green. Admission is free. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Grover Kemble and Jerry Vezza will headline at Morristown's first annual Jazz & Blues Festival on Aug. 20, at the Morristown Green. Admission is free. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Caught Grover and Jerry at Za Zu Zazz reunion at their sold out Folk Project show at The Minstrel in May, and these guys are not to be missed. Sounds like a great event. PS – Great tune Grover!

  2. Big shoutout to the Mayor for making this happen, and also the sponsors for their support. A great day of music in store, let’s get out and enjoy it! Closing with Grover and Jerry is a well-deserved tip of the hat to the local music scene…

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