Jazz comes to Bloomfield Church for June 11 concert – Essex News Daily

Photo courtesy of Brian Nalepka
Miss Maybell & Her Ragged Jazz Band, including, left to right, Charlie Judkins; Lauren Sansaricq, aka Miss Maybell; and Brian Nalepka, will perform music from the early 20th century at Brookdale Reformed Church on June 11.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Traditional jazz, ragtime and blues come to Bloomfield on Saturday, June 11, when Miss Maybell & Her Ragged Jazz Band will play a fundraiser at Brookdale Reformed Church, 16 Bellevue Ave. Usually a trio, the band added a reed player for show, with regular and resident Bloomfield player Brian Nalepka on bass and tuba.

“The band plays music that nobody covers,” Nalepka said in a June 6 phone interview. “This is the era of ragtime, from 1900 to 1929, and popular songs and instrumentals will be performed.”

The musicians on Saturday are Lauren Sansaricq, alias Miss Maybell, on banjo, guitar and washboard; Charlie Judkins on piano; Dan Levinson on clarinet and saxophone; and Nalepka. Familiar names from this bygone era are Bing Crosby, Sophia Tucker, Al Jolson, Irving Berlin and Scott Joplin.

“Things go in a cycle,” Nalepka said. “We are not in a cover of these songs. In the 70s, with the movie “The Sting”, songs from that era became popular. Now that we’re in the 2020s, maybe we’ll hear 20s music again.”

During the first decades of the last century, Nalepka said there was significant nightclub life; radio was just beginning and television did not exist.

“Back then, music was played for singing and dancing,” he said, “until you got to bebop music in the 1940s. It was more for listening and more popular with musicians and the general public.

Miss Maybell & Her Ragged Jazz Band, as a trio, have been playing together for about three years, said Nalepka, who grew up in Clifton and attended Clifton High School. Nalepka’s first instrument was the accordion, which he started playing when he was 7 years old. He started the tuba at the age of 12 and played in his high school marching band. He has been a professional musician since 1974 and has resided in Bloomfield since 1993. He is married to Mary Shaughnessy, the former chair of the Bloomfield Board of Education. The next concert will last, according to Nalepka, about 90 minutes.

“We talk about the songs we play, not to bore us, but from the bottom,” he said. “It’s good to educate people about the origin of music.”

Nalepka said the band are always discovering “new” songs. Some are film scores from the silent era, when films were accompanied by live orchestras, and others are from sheet music found in flea markets and antique shops. Online research is another source.

Miss Maybell & Her Ragged Jazz Band will play at 4 p.m. Fees will be charged.

Comments are closed.