The Summer Bash No One Has Told You About

If you are a fan of jazz music then you should definitely check out the annual Jazz Record Collectors’ Bash in Edison, New Jersey. While this event is clearly perfect for buyers and vendors of 78s, LPs, CDs, and memorabilia, it is also a wonderful opportunity to meet and speak with jazz music lovers.

If you don’t know anything about this event, here is a brief history: The first bash was held in the summer of 1974, sponsored by Rutgers University’s Institute of Jazz Studies. They were initially one-day affairs with collectors gathering at the Holiday Inn in North Brunswick to sell, trade, play, and discuss records. By 1992, the bash had outgrown the venue, and moved to Somerset. Though it had success to that point, the founder and organizer was aging, and there came a few tumultuous years when the event was passed between multiple hosts and venues. Finally, in 2008, Art Zimmerman of Zim Records took over as host, and the two-day bash moved to the Hilton Woodbrige in New Jersey. The attendees loved the new venue so much that the hotel has housed the bash ever since.

You might not be a huge fan of records, but there is more to this event than the vendors. The community of collectors who attend the bash are passionate about jazz and their craft. In addition to the selling, trading, and playing of records, there are also a variety of featured events. This year, rare film and TV clips by jazz collector and film historian David Weiner will be shared on Friday evening. On Saturday, there will be Clip Joint presentations featuring vintage Nat Cole.

Another long-time program of note is the Vitaphone Project, a special program which presents a largely previously unseen collection of early sound jazz and vaudeville short subjects. Sadly, the co-founder and longtime bash presenter, Ron Hutchinson, passed away this year. If you are interested in learning more about this project, visit

The 45th Annual Jazz Record Collectors’ Bash will take place Friday-Saturday, June 21-22, 2019. General admission is only $20 total for the two days, with a special deal of $10 after 5:00pm on Friday that includes re-entry on Saturday. They even offer a special hotel room rate a the Hilton.

Whether you have a passion for vinyl or simply love jazz music, this event might just be a hidden gem that you should check out this summer. Grab a few friends and make it a weekend getaway!

If you would like more information about the Jazz Record Collectors’ Bash, visit their website at

Successful professional musicians have many things in common

1. They are confident and adventurous enough to dive into their music careers headfirst.

This applies to musicians playing in an orchestra or playing gigs on weekends. There are countless stories of musicians not having any alternate plans for success. You don’t have to sleep in a car for weeks to be successful, but the fact that you’d be willing to says it all

2. They don’t mind doing things in addition to performing to make their living.

Most musicians don’t sign record labels, ever. There are some that do and become very wealthy, but most do not. Many musicians become teachers of private students or even group workshops because they have bills to pay between performances. It’s always okay to dream big, but if the only reason you want to be a musician is because you think it will make you rich, you’ll quickly get weeded out of this business.

3. They have a patient, persistent can-do attitude.

This might be the most important out of the entire list. A music career does not appear overnight, and especially not one in any of the arts. Instead of becoming preoccupied with trying to get a “big break,” the most successful musicians focus on growing their careers gradually.

4. They’re willing to work very hard on their craft every day.

No matter which type of musician you want to be, it’s essential to practice your craft every day. By doing this, you will continue to improve while others stagnate, eventually being better than most others at what you do. It is a very competitive musical world, so it’s important to be on top of your game always and be consistently raising the bar for yourself.  You will have to learn to really enjoy the process of improving and practicing as well.  If you don’t want to put in time to practice, then you will never become a professional musician.

Whether you are a fan of Ralph Moore, Willie Jones III or Terell Stafford, professional musicians all share these traits. If you are interested in learning more about these successful musicians, feel free to contact Kathy Salem!

Great Bands Require Great Teamwork

At Night is Alive, we recognize that one of the biggest elements of success in any band is to show respect for your band-mates. Great bands require great teamwork, which means that everyone can’t be the leader, but all have vital roles to play in the band’s success. Being willing to show up to rehearsals on time and in tune is one of the first steps to achieving band greatness.

You need to truly listen to the input of your other bandmates and then have one person in the band who is the executive decision maker. On a basketball team you wouldn’t have 3-point guards all calling out different plays; same goes for a band, pick a leader and they ultimately make game time plays. One person will be responsible for making the ultimate decision after listening to others’ input. These can be simple decisions like how long a song intro should go or more complex ones regarding the tempo or key that a song should be played in.

Everyone should have a chance to contribute ideas to improve the sound of the band and the quality of the performance. Everyone should be able to try ideas, especially during practice, that might result in a better sound.

All band members have critical support roles to the overall team success. It isn’t just the playing of the music that will determine the band’s ultimate destiny. Someone in the band also must be the booking agent and the collections/money distribution person. These aren’t always the same person in a band, but the band does have to agree on who will do these functions, since without a gig being booked none of the magical performances can ever happen.

A fantastic example of teamwork and band performance can be seen with Ralph Moore‘s West Coast Band and Willie Jones III‘s WJ3 All-Star Band. Both groups travel the world together, selling out venues and attracting their loyal fan bases. They never could have got to this level of jazz stardom if it wasn’t for their exceptional teamwork and communicating skills.

The Mind Behind Music

We all know based on our own anecdotal observations that musicians’ brains seem to function a little differently than everyone else’s. Well, it seems that research, in fact, does confirm that to be true. According to multiple studies, playing music has been found to increase the volume and activity in the brain’s corpus callosum — the bridge between the two hemispheres — allowing messages to get across the brain faster and through more diverse routes.

It is suspected that this is what allows musicians to solve problems more effectively and creatively than most other people. Playing music, it seems, is extremely beneficial to higher brain function. Playing an instrument involves almost every area of the brain at once — specifically the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. And, as with any other workout, we get stronger as we repeat the same workout exercising the same muscle or our brains.

Playing music also involves creating and understanding its emotional content and message.  Therefore, musicians also have higher levels of executive function — a category of interlinked tasks that include planningstrategizing, and attention to detail, and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects. According to the Journal of American Medicine, most non-musicians do not generally have this combination of brain function.

Playing an instrument also has an impact on how our memory systems work. And, indeed, musicians exhibit enhanced memory functions — creating, storing, and retrieving memories more quickly and efficiently. Studies have found that musicians appear to use their highly connected brains to give each memory multiple tags, such as a conceptual tag, an emotional tag, an audio tag, and a contextual tag — like a good internet search engine. This allows them to do things like being able to recall entire pieces of music that they may not have played for many years. Doesn’t it seem like they have an entire library in their minds when you make a special request and they know it perfectly without looking at sheet music? Part of this is because of those emotional tags that they seem to effortlessly access “that library” at will.

When it comes to playing music and instruments, Night is Alive represents several of the jazz industries greatest. Learn more here and feel free to contact Kathy Salem with any questions you have!