LONG HILL, NJ - Wharton Music Center presents its Library Concert Series on Sunday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m. at Long Hill Public Library located at 917 Valley Road in Gillette. Joe Devico leads his Big Band Evolution in an afternoon of popular hits with a modern jazz twist. The concert, free and open to the public, is sponsored in part by the Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation.
Drummer Joe Devico always loved the sound of the classic big band: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. A seasoned performer, Mr. Devico played with a variety of ensembles from original contemporary jazz bands to traditional big bands covering the standards of Glen Miller and Thad Jones before embracing the idea of starting a fusion big band, bringing together the explosive energy of popular hits with sophisticated arrangements and original compositions for a sixteen-piece band.
“I've also enjoyed playing with popular music groups ranging from acoustic Americana and wedding bands to a long-time relationship with Asbury Fever, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band,” says Mr. Devico. “There's a different type of energy and feel that these bands and music have that stems mainly from the strong backbeat at the heart of most of the tunes. However, almost every time I played a "pop" arrangement with a big band, I found the arrangement to be a watered down version of the groove from the original tune. One day, while listening to some fusion from the early 80's, I began to envision the music as played by a big band, and in my ear it worked! I could hear the melodies being harmonized by saxophones and the synthesizer stabs covered by the trumpets. I could feel the energy of the big band pushing these songs to a different level.”
Big Band Evolution, delighting audiences for nearly twenty years, performs new arrangements alongside favorites of the past, and is sure to get your toes tapping and ears open to their perfect blending of music from then and now.
Wharton Music Center, located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights, provides music, theatre, and dance instruction, educational programs, and performances for children, teens, and adults. In addition to instruction in all instruments and voice, WMC offers classes in musical theatre, dance, drama, vocal music, music theory, audio recording, early childhood music, and music for children with special needs. Offering a range of musical genres including classical, rock, jazz, and blues, WMC is one of New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving students in Union, Morris, Essex, Somerset, and other surrounding counties.
WMC offers orchestral and ensemble music education for grades 3 through 12 through New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) located at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. NJYS, one of the foremost youth orchestras in the state, has eleven orchestras and ensembles for which auditions are held annually. NJYS’s premiere orchestra, Youth Symphony, has performed in internationally renowned concert halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna.
The mission of Wharton Music Center, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is to advance excellence and education in the performing arts. For more information, visit www.WhartonMusicCenter.org or www.NJYS.org.