METUCHEN, NJ - The Metuchen Arts Council will present "Metuchen Jazz -- Education Series 2020" its first-ever educational series dedicated to educating the public about jazz. 

The series this year will include six sessions, beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, with a presentation called "Louis Armstrong 101: The Wonderful World of Satchmo", presented by Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and author of What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years (Vintage: 2012).

On Sunday, April 19, the presentation will be "Jeru's Journey: The Life and Music of Gerry Mulligan" by Sanford Josephson, author of a book by the same name, published in 2015 by Hal Leonard Books. Josephson is also Editor of Jersey Jazz and Vice President of Publicity for the New Jersey Jazz Society.

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Riccardi has written a second book called Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong, to be released this year by Oxford University Press. He also has an online blog called "The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong (dippermouth.blogspot.com) and has given lectures on Armstrong at venues around the world. Riccardi has taught a graduate course, "Music of Louis Armstrong" at Queens College and a course on Armstrong at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Swing University. He has co-produced several Armstrong reissues, is a working jazz pianist and co-hosts the Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon series at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts in Toms River. He also resides in Toms River. Thomas Cunliffe of Jazz History Online has called Riccardi "the 21st century's foremost expert on Louis Armstrong."

Josephson has written another book, Jazz Notes: Interviews Across the Generations (Praeger/ABC-Clio: 2009) and has written several articles about jazz in publications ranging from the New York Daily News to American Way Magazine. A resident of Manchester, NJ, he is also a co-host of the Grunin Center's Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon series. His presentation will trace Gerry Mulligan's life and career from his early days arranging for big bands to the end of his life when he was revered and recognized as one of the true giants of American music. The New York City Jazz Record's Ken Dryden called Jeru's Journey "remarkable, creating a detailed portrait of the perennial poll-winning baritone saxophonist, noteworthy bandleader, composer and arranger . . ."

Other presentations in the series will be:

"Ellington and Strayhorn: Alone and Together" by David Hajdu, Sunday, May 17

"Nat King Cole @100 (NKC100)" by Will Friedwald, Sunday, September 20

"An Informal Survey of the Great Baritone Saxophonists" by Frank Basile, Sunday, October 18.

The November 15th presentation will be announced at a later date.

The series is being held at the Metuchen Senior Center, 15 Center St., Metuchen. Admission is $10. For more information, please email Lynne Mueller at lmueller22@earthlink.net or Noal Cohen at bopmeisernc@gmail.com.