To call David Ostwald an admirer of Louis Armstrong would be an understatement. “Some people have a St. Christopher medal. I have a St. Louis medal,” he says. Ostwald is an attorney who plays tuba. Every Wednesday, he leads his Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland in New York City, playing from 5:30-7:15 p.m. with an outstanding group of alternating personnel. On Sunday, March 2, at the Birchwood Manor here, his band will kick off the New Jersey Jazz Society’s Pee Wee Russell Stomp featuring Adrian Cunningham on clarinet and alto sax, Jim Fryer on trombone and James Chirillo on guitar. Allaboutjazz.com has called Cunningham “one of Australia’s finest jazz musicians, establishing himself as a fixture in New York’s vibrant jazz scene since his relocation in 2008.” Fryer plays regularly with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks and can be heard on the soundtrack of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Chirillo’s resume includes some time with Benny Goodman. “If you dig jazz guitar that’s particularly smooth and cool,” says JazzTimes Magazine, “then, you’ll want to check out James Chirillo.”
Trumpeter Warren Vache was influenced by Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge, has played with Benny Goodman and Rosemary Clooney and today is considered one the leading horn players of traditional jazz. His band will bat cleanup, appearing as the final act at the Stomp with an all-star band that includes tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and bassist/vocalist Nicki Parrott. Allen is considered by many as a direct descendant of Ben Webster, and Robert Shore of London’s Observer said he “plays classic swing with the fluency and feel of the great masters of the mid-century generation.” Parrott, writes Cabaret Scenes’ Eric Stevens, “could make anyone love jazz. She is a female bassist who sings up a storm, has a million-dollar personality and should have been kidnapped by Hollywood on her way to New York (from Australia).”
In between Ostwald and Vache will be bands led by pianists Dick Voigt and Keith Ingham. Voigt’s band will include such NJ Jazz Society favorites as trombonist Tom Artin and clarinetist Joe Licari. Among the musicians playing with Ingham will be trumpeter John Eckert, a Leonia High School graduate who has played with a who’s of who of jazz that includes Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Kenton. Writer-editor Devra Hall Levy has described Eckert as “one of the busiest freelance trumpet players on the East Coast. He can play it all: jazz, latin, pop, classical, even opera.”
This will be the Stomp’s 45th year, and it is an event that encourages members of the audience to not only listen, but to dance. The Grand Ballroom of the Birchwood Manor features a large hardwood dance floor with seating at roomy banquet tables surrounding the dancing area. There will also be a hot and cold cash buffet and bar. The music starts at noon and lasts until 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 for NJJS members; $30 for non-members; and $10 for students. To order, log onto: http://www.njjs.org/p/peewee.php.