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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)July 30, 2003

(Mahwah) – New Jersey’s king of jazz guitar, Bucky Pizzarelli, will team up with the Bergen County chamber group, The Sutton Ensemble, for The Jazz is Classic!, Sunday, September 21 at 3 p.m. in the Sharp Theater at Ramapo College of New Jersey. The concert will feature jazz arrangements with a classical accent for guitar and strings. Program highlights include Ellington, movie themes and the work of famous violinists.

Familiar quartet pieces will include Molly on the Shore by Percy Grainger, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart, Andante Cantabile from one of Tchaikowsky’s string quartets and Borodin’s famous music from Kiss Me Kate. Pizzarelli and the Ensemble will perform arrangements of movie themes from Laura and The Bad and the Beautiful as well as jazz versions of Kreisler’s Fair Rosemarin and Stephane Grepelli’s Nuages. Pizzareli will introduce a modern Spanish concerto by Moreno Torrado that he played recently with the Syracuse Symphony Pops” as well as a work by Paterson composer Richard Lane, For Bucky and Friends. The concert will end with a combination of jazz favorites including a medley of Duke Ellington’s most popular tunes and Fats” Waller’s Honeysuckle Rose.

Growing up in Paterson, John Bucky” Pizzarelli followed the family tradition of playing the guitar. The day of his return from Army service in World War II, barely out of his teens, he was invited to join the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra on a cross-country tour. This launched his notable career, which has included recordings and live performances with such artists as Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Stephane Grapelli, Joe Venuti, Charlie Byrd, Zoot Sims and Benny Carter. As a staff musician at ABC and NBC, he worked with Skitch Henderson, Mitch Miller and Doc Severinson. Pizzarelli has participated in international jazz festivals from Newport to Tokyo, and performs frequently in jazz clubs worldwide. He has appeared at the White House in both the Reagan and Clinton years, appeared at the Library of Congress with Bob Hope, is a frequent guest artist with the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and is regularly on stage at Michael Feinstein’s at the Regency with sons John, Jr. and Martin. Bucky is featured on the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s film Sweet and Lowdown, released in 2000. He was awarded honorary doctorates from Southern Illinois State University (Edwardsville, IL) and Hamilton College (Clinton, NY), both in May 2003.

Director and founder of The Sutton Ensemble, violinist Elaine Sutin has been active performing with the group since the 1960s, and in northern New Jersey since the mid-’70s. She appeared as soloist at the opening concert of the John Harms Center for the Arts, and has appeared with The Sutton Ensemble, not only at the Harms Center, but at Bergen Community College, local public libraries and schools and in a series of Home Concerts which have become a staple of the ensemble’s image.

Bass player Jerry Bruno has had a career in both the recording field and in jazz clubs. Bruno and Pizzarelli frequently appear together in jazz clubs and will play some exciting duo improvisations during the concert. In addition to Sutin, the quartet will feature string players Rachel Golub (violin), Lev Zhurbin (viola), and Peter Lewy (cello). Zhurbin is a prize-winning composer of theater, film, jazz and ensemble music and is a l999 graduate of The Juilliard School. Golub and Lewy are active freelance musicians in New York City and are recent additions to the ensemble’s roster.

The Sutton Ensemble was founded by three Juillard graduates, whose goal was to perform the finest chamber music for diverse audiences. Becoming a non-profit organization in the late ’70s, the Ensemble became active as artists-in-residence at Fort Lee Historic Park Auditorium in 1981. More than 140 different works of chamber music were played during the first 10 years there, as well as annual Completely Mozart” festivals and a celebration of Bach’s 300th anniversary in 1985. The group is known for its diversity of repertoire, ranging from the Baroque to contemporary.

Tickets for The Jazz Is Classic! are $21 for adults, $18 for seniors and $12 for students. The Sharp Theater is located in the Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts.

Funding for this program is provided in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts through its block grant program administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.


Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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