Home Moorestown News Abe Speller Jazz Trio to set tone at arts center

Abe Speller Jazz Trio to set tone at arts center

Group's lineup will include jazz mixed with improvisation

The Abe Speller Jazz Trio Plus One will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at Croft Farm Arts Center in Cherry Hill.

Moorestown resident Speller will be on the drums and percussion, Gerald Benson will be on upright bass and vocals, Neil Podgurski will perform on the piano and Erik Lawrence will play sax and flute.

“We’re going to be playing our jazz standards and then a little bit of improvisation,” Speller said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, especially for me adding the saxophone … I thought for this gig to add another player would be just a little bit nice and special.”

Speller spent 40-plus years as a sideman/drummer in New York with several groups and offices – such as Bud Maltin Music, Metropolitan Music, the Hal Prince Orchestra and Ananda Music – before forming his trio in 2005. The group specializes in light jazz and swing with a focus on music written by great American songwriters such as Cole Porter and Jerome Kern and modern jazz innovators like Duke Ellington and Stevie Wonder, among others.

“It’ll be nice to play a concert, when people are really sitting and listening,” Speller noted of the Croft Farm show. “I’m looking forward to this, where people are actually sitting down and watching the band and listening to our music.”

Speller grew up in New York and was accustomed to playing at small venues like the Knitting Factory and the Village Gate. He moved to South Jersey in 1985, but continued playing music with people in Philadelphia and New York. Speller has had the opportunity to headline and open for acts such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Bryan Adams and Dire Straits, among others. He’s also performed with jazz artists, singer-songwriters and avant-garde jazz musicians.

“I was lucky to be able to play a lot of different kinds of music,” Speller recalled. “ … The technology wasn’t like it was today, so you had to be present. You had to be out there. Now, you can make a record on your phone, (but) then you had to be at the clubs, you had to be networking.”

Speller, Benson, Podgurski and Lawrence will all bring something different to the show, what Speller sees it as a nice mix.

“Musically, it’ll be very organic,” he explained. “I want them (the audience) to look onstage and see a certain professionalism, whether they like this piece or maybe they like another piece. But I think (the) professionalism is what we go for.

“Music is music and it’s beautiful, but I want them to look onstage and go, ‘Wow, these guys are pros,’” Speller added. “ … If you’ve been looking for a night of jazz and not having to drive into Philly, this is the place to be.”

Speller is also expected to perform at Perkins Center for the Arts in the coming months, a show that, like many, holds meaning for him.

“We as artists, we want to bring our music and our art to people and we want to encourage people to come and visit these places (arts centers) that (they) aren’t aware of,” he said.

For updates on the Abe Speller Jazz Trio, visit its Facebook page or go to www.abespellerjazztrio.com.

For more information on the trio’s March 1 show, visit www.chnj.gov/jazznight.

Exit mobile version