The Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation, (JSJBF) held their 26th Annual Harpin’ Help Fundraiser on Sunday April 21st at Salty’s Beach Bar in Lake Cuomo. Over two hundred jazz and blues fans, musicians and volunteers gathered around two different sound stages to hear their favorite musicians. The line-up included notables such Sandy Mack, Sharon Lasher & The Flashers, Chuck Lambert and Stringbean. 

Tom Baldino, President of JSJBF, thanks the crowd for coming out to support the fundraiser Credit: Brenda Hamlet

Each year, JSJBF gifts a total of $4,000 in scholarships to successful music students, (many who are heading to Berklee College of Music), to help make their dreams a reality. Those scholarships are funded with the ticket sales. The foundation also offers additional youth programming through monthly open mic/jam sessions for musicians under the age of 21.

Tom Baldino, President of JSJBF believes the music festivals and scholarships are “the most important work we do to keep this music form alive.” 

JSJBF volunteers also collected food donations and cash towards seven hundred pounds worth of food headed for The Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry and The Reformation Community Food Pantry. 

The JSJBF was established in 1985 by a grassroots group of writers, musicians and fans of jazz and blues looking to produce a music festival. The success of that first event in Sandy Hook, and subsequent festivals, encouraged the group to establish a foundation dedicated to promoting and sharing jazz and blues music. Today the JSJBF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization open to anyone interested in supporting jazz and blues. The foundation’s mission is to preserve, promote, and perpetuate jazz, blues, and other Indigenous music forms in New Jersey. 

The music festivals and scholarships are the most important work we do to keep this music form alive.

Tom Baldino

The JSJBF maintains an active calendar of live events each year. The concerts are made possible with funds from donations and sponsors. JSJBF produces a number of free live music events and provides entertainment to all who wish to enjoy jazz and blues performances.

Stringbean Blues with Whitney Kelly and Mike Jaskewiez Credit: Brenda Hamlet
(L-R) Dave Moore, Sandy Mack, Mike Flynn Credit: Brenda Hamlet

Upcoming events include the ‘Sunday Night at the Beach’ series at West End Park and Ocean Blvd in Long Branch. Performances take place from 7pm-8:30pm every Sunday in June, July, and August. The Long Branch Jazz & Blues by the Sea event is JSJBH’s largest, free concert.  This festival will be held on Saturday, August 24 from 1pm-9:30pm on the Great Lawn on Ocean Boulevard in Long Branch. 

Out on the dance floor, moving to the beat Credit: Brenda Hamlet
Fans gather around two stages to hear their favorite musicians Credit: Brenda Hamlet
Another couple enjoys dancing to the music Credit: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a journalist covering trends in the media and arts. Brenda lives in Asbury Park and teaches writing at Kean University. Her contributions will focus on the state of the Arts in Asbury Park.

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