Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County Partners with West Hudson Arts & Theater Company for a Jazz Benefit in Kearny

Kearny, NJ – Mark Griffith, a jazz drummer with twenty successful years on the New York and New Jersey music scene, will join bassist Calvin Hill and saxophonist Bob Ackerman in a tribute to jazz  great Joe Henderson to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County (HFHHC) and the West Hudson Arts and Theater Company (W.H.A.T).  The tribute will be held at the W.H.A.T. theater, 131 Midland Avenue, Kearny, on Friday, March 8, 2013. The show will also feature local jazz saxophonist Jake Thibault, who will perform with Joel M. Condon, Kurt Moreton and Matt Olsson. The show will be emceed by local jazz aficionado Jack Silbert, a local jazz aficionado, will emcee the show. Doors will open at 7pm, with the first performance starting at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 and are available through W.H.A.T.’s website www.whatco.org, by phone: 201-467-8624, and at the door on the night of the show. Proceeds from ticket sales will be divided between HFHHC and W.H.A.T. Light refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

 “This is Habitat’s third jazz benefit in just over a year – but it’s the first one for us in Kearny, and it’s the first time we’ve partnered with a local theater company. We’ll put the funds raised in this event to use in our upcoming Kearny project,” said Bridget Hamill, President of HFHHC’s Board of Trustees.  “We really feel good about his event because it also supports the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company, which adds so much to the cultural life in the Kearny area.”

“Working with Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County is a perfect synergistic partnership for us,” said W.H.A.T. president Gerald Ficeto.  “Our groups each have mutual goal of bringing people together to help enrich and improve our West Hudson community.”

 Born in 1927, Joe Henderson is recognized as a jazz tenor saxophone great. As a student at Wayne State University in Detroit, Henderson counted future jazz legends Yusef Lateef and Donald Byrd as his classmates. In the early 1960s, jazz trumpeter Kenny Dorham was so impressed by his skill that he arranged for Henderson’s first recording session as a leader with Blue Note Records. This resulted in the record Page One (1963) which to this day remains one of his most critically acclaimed albums. During the 1990s Henderson recorded 3 tribute sessions for Verve that were both critically acclaimed and highly successful commercially. The second of these albums, So Near So Far: Musings for Miles, won him a Grammy for best jazz performance.  Henderson also won multiple Down Beat music awards in 1992.

 It is only fitting that a musician with Mark Griffith’s talent and love for jazz pay tribute to Joe Henderson.  Mark started out playing with The Spirit Of Life Ensemble at Sweet Basil in New York. He has also performed with contemporary leaders such as Don Braden, Erci Johnson and Ted Curson. Bob Ackerman, joining Mark in this tribute to Joe Henderson, has worked with Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, Joe Morello, Mike Mellillo, John Coates and Chet Baker. Rounding out the trio is bassist Calvin Hill, who has performed with McCoy Tyner, Pharaoh Sanders, Max Roach, and George Coleman,. Jake Thibault has managed to find time to perform and improve his skills as a jazz saxophonist, even while pursuing Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.  Jake will perform with Joel Condon, who has performed with jazz vocalist Holli Ross and Irish tenor Ciarán Sheehan, and Matt Olsson, a versatile percussionist who can handle anything from jazz to microtonal music.

 Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County completed two beautiful single-family homes in the Greenville section of Jersey City in 2011, an achievement made possible through the donation of land from Jersey City, private donations, volunteer labor, and 400 hours of sweat equity from each of HFHHC’s partner families. Now, the HFHHC team is getting ready to develop a three-family building in the town of Kearny, with land donated from Hudson County and funding assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Habitat still needs funding and volunteers to complete this project – we’ll keep you posted, because we need your help to build these homes. In addition, HFHHC is launching “Habitat Helping Hands”, a repair program designed to help low-income homeowners recover from the devastating effects of Super Storm Sandy.  HFHHC is happy to provide unique live performances in connection with its fund-raising efforts, and to support local performers and arts organizations.  For more information about this event or HFHHC, please send an email to:habitatofhudsoncounty@gmail.com.)