AMANI HOLIDAY CONCERT AT THE WATCHUNG ARTS CENTER

On a snowy Saturday evening, December 9, the Watchung Arts Center presented its 14th annual holiday concert, featuring Marty Eigen’s new band called “Amani” (Sawhili for “peace”), which they have dedicated to “sharing the concept of peace through music, performing for people of all ages, races and religious affiliations.” The band featured Marty on tenor sax and flute; Fred Fischer on piano, Stephen Fuller on vocals, Flip Peters on guitar, Nick Scheuble at the drums and Ben Rubens on bass.

The program opened with a jazz version of the March from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” and then proceeded to a varied selection of popular holiday favorites, including “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Winter Wonderland,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Hava Nagila” and “Feliz Navidad.” Singer (and NJJS Board member), Stephen Fuller, a regular with the band, contributed “Merry Christmas Baby” utilizing his smooth baritone, and, in a slight deviation from the holiday theme, guest artist Hollis Donaldson performed “Route 66″ and guest Michelle Zangara sang “I Remember You.”

The concert in the Arts Center’s intimate performance space was much enjoyed by a small but most appreciative audience, many of whose members got up and in the holiday spirit danced to the strains of “Feliz Navidad” at the close of the program. We look forward to future performances here and elsewhere by this fine group.

Mike Katz

President – New Jersey Jazz Society

BENEFIT CONCERT FOR MONARCH HOUSING

Amani is a powerful musical force of outstanding jazz, with a brilliant assembly of talented musicians backing a vocalist with deep, golden tones. These guys can really cook. At a recent show at the Salem Roadhouse Café, they mesmerized the audience with their renditions of classic jazz and pop tunes, weaving in and out of solos and reaching new heights of musical perfection. Individually, aside from being masters of their instruments and vocals, they are individually funny, warm and congenial. Stage presence is so important for any performing artist or group, these guys have it ten-fold. They simply engage the audience!

On the production side, I found them to be professionally easy going and open to suggestions and ideas about their sound. Their sound check was quick and easy, and went smoothly, with them trusting me with knowing how our venue sounds best. The after show breakdown was also easy and much fun. Every one of them would stop and chat, told stories, bantered with us and shared themselves easily. They broke down their setup quickly, but were not hurried. Working with them was a pure joy, and I look forward to their return, often.

Bruce Tangowski
Director
Salem Roadhouse Cafe

AMANI AT SHANGHAI JAZZ

Shanghai Jazz has had the honor of hosting the Amani Quartet and our guests are always enthralled with the performances!  Marty Eigen’s saxophone and Stephen Fuller’s vocals lead the way with grace and verve and the accompanying piano of Fred Fischer and guitar of Flip Peters round out the sound. Amani’s is an engaging, gentleman’s take on the American Songbook.

Also, wondering if you are available to play on January 11?

Thomas Donohoe
Proprietor Shanghai Jazz 
Downbeat Magazine Top 100 Jazz Clubs
Madison, NJ
(973)822-2899

90th BIRTHDAY PARTY

On my 90th birthday, six years ago, my son-in-law Marty Eigen, and his wife (my daughter. Anita) decided it was time to celebrate a very special date, September 10th 2011.  It was my birthday and they wanted me to celebrate the occasion with A PARTY!!

Needless to say I was both delighted and horrified knowing the New Jersey community in which we lived would learn one of my deepest secrets.  Ageing, and its troubling consequences.

I needn’t have worried because I soon realized that my dearest friends, relatives, almost forgotten acquaintances, and my precious grand and great grand kids were already discussing how they could help to make this effort a precious “labor of love.”

Dear Marty to the rescue.  In a flash he gathered all the above to find the best DJs, Quartets,
Vocalists and professional musicians , near and far.  As the night wore on, I especially noticed the look of joy and love on his face.  He was so happy to be amongst his musical family and of course all of us gathered together that evening knew this was a very special time for all of us.

This note of appreciation to this delightful man Is written with a prayer that joy and happiness will follow Marty Eigen wherever he may travel.  May he continue on this road and find the joy of a long and loving life with these people he holds so dear.