It was Saturday, September 15, at 5 p.m., and the neighbors on Embury Avenue, near the beach, were about to enjoy their annual block party. But this year they planned something very different; in fact, so different that it undoubtedly was a first in the history of the town. They arranged to have seven live bands perform while the neighbors ate, danced and enjoyed the show until late in the evening.
The prime mover for the event was Embury resident Cheryl Parker, a vocalist who performs with many of the groups that she recruited for the block party. There were three “big bands” and four jazz combos. The big bands specialized in “swing” music, mostly from the 1940’s, and they set up in a driveway. The small combos performed on a porch, while the audience sat at tables in the street and on front lawns, which are common on the beach blocks.
We got to talk to some of the members of “Summer Swing,” a band from the Redington, New Jersey area, near Flemington. They’ve been together for 17 years, and their instrumentation consists of five saxes, four bones, four trumpets, piano, bass, guitar and drums. John Nobile is the leader. He has some contemporary arrangements, but the sound of the big bands is their main concern. — Paul Goldfinger
The song being played by “Summer Swing” below is “The American Patrol.”