Maybe I was cranky, jaded or just plain tired. Whatever the reason, my enthusiasm for the holidays was definitely missing. How does a person who delights in life’s simple pleasures lose her way when it comes to Christmas? Fortunately, what was lost was found at Holiday Cheer and all that JAZZ, a concert by The Rum Runners Quintet presented by 12 Twelve Miles West Theatre Company in Rutherford, New Jersey.
Although I live in the borough, I knew nothing about the concert’s 50-seat performance space, which is located on Park Avenue behind the restaurant Pizzamore/Blimpie, before my good friend Terry told me about the event. But I was quick to say I would go. There are two things that I know for sure—my friend is a discriminating woman of good taste and talented jazz musicians are sometimes found in the most unlikely places.
I was not to be disappointed. The four instrumentalists Robert Edwards (trombone), John Lenis (bass), Adam Lomeo (guitar and mandolin) and Billy Test (piano), along with vocalist Vanessa Perea demonstrated that when the right musicians are involved, terrific music can happen anywhere. They also provided a close-up look at how jazz artists are engaged not only in their music, but also with their fellow performers and the audience.
I thank them for their wonderful holiday tunes, well arranged and performed favorites that evoked more than applause but sighs and laughter too. I guess I’ll have to have a Merry Christmas after all.